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Hospitality Companies Using Technology as a Marketing Tool (By Hayley Ho)

It has become a norm to hear about pieces of innovation take root to things we have never expected it to do. We always want something bigger and better and recent trends have made sounding impacts on things like virtual reality, financial decisions, and now has made its way into the Hospitality Industry. Hotels and restaurants are advertising the different pieces of technology as a marketing tool to draw guests in.

Moving Faster

I distinctly remember walking into the SJC airport two years ago and feeling excited to check my bag in. This was simply because I knew that I did not have to wait in a long line to give the airline clerk my photo ID, confirmation number, and wait for them to find me in their system. Rather, I was able to walk up to a touch-screen kiosk, enter a few letters and numbers, and get everything I needed for my flight in less than two minutes. Most hotels companies and food and beverage operations have adapted to this same type of demand in technology as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible.

Beginning a few years ago, hotels have implemented mobile check-in systems and installed Relay robots to deliver room service or any amenity your heart may desire. Relay the robot was exclusively used in Starwood hotels in 2016. In the Fall 2016 quarter at Cal Poly Pomona, Starwood utilized this fact and marketed their company to students using this unique technological advantage. I distinctly remember the Starwood recruiter mentioning that us students have a chance to work with a Relay robot if we externed or interned at one of their properties. Though the robot does not necessarily make the property better, it is still a factor that makes the property more attractive. 

Making it Easy

Our generation is transitioning to the use of “smart” hotels where kiosks and robots are placed throughout the hotel to give guests the service they demand without human contact. If the hotel or restaurant is smarter, humans in return do not have to do as much and will have it easier. Restaurants are increasing the use of Yelp tablets and reward systems that guests may utilize on their mobile devices. This virtually eliminates the necessity of hosts with the labeling of tables at some restaurants.

Recently, the use of robotic bartenders has been taking over the industry and has been pulling tourists into bars and cruise lines to experience it. Rather than fighting for the attention of a bartender, guests can now put their order through on mobile smartphones. Robotic arms can now pour wine, tap beer, brew coffee and mix cocktails for guests who pay by scanning a QR code on their phone. Now, a bar can be completely functional with only one human employee: a bodyguard at the entrance checking IDs and a robot bartender.

Guest Experiences

I believe that hotels, restaurants, and airlines are using these tools to market themselves because there is a high demand for speed, new concepts, and accessibility. I enjoy the face to face interactions I can experience with guests at the hotel I work at. 

Would you prefer interactions with a robot over a human being? Do you think the hospitality world should continue to integrate technology into service aspects?

About the Author

Hayley Ho is a third-year student at Cal Poly Pomona studying Hospitality Management with a minor in Marketing. She is serving her second year as the Marriott Campus Ambassador and is also the President of the club: Hotel, Resort, & Destination Professionals while being affiliated with Eta Sigma Delta, The Kellogg Honors College, and Cru. While pursuing her degree, also works in Food & Beverage at the Marriott Irvine Spectrum which recently won Hotel Opening of the Year. Hayley enjoys going on property tours, playing her ukulele, and playing board games with her friends and family. After graduation, Hayley plans to become a Voyager in Marriott’s manager training program in Room Operations and would like to work abroad in Singapore one day.

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