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Contactless self-services are here to stay after COVID-19

The new COVID-19 cases finally showed signs of declines across the U.S., but definitely, we should still take cautionary measures to avoid another wave of infections. Now, some people have already claimed that this pandemic would forever change the travel industry. 

Because the coronavirus is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect close contact with infected people via mouth or nose secretions, social distancing and frequent sanitation are highly recommended. It is not surprising to see consumers demand services with minimum human contact, which in turn promotes contactless self-services.

Restaurants

Mobile ordering, for example, has been introduced to the market way before COVID-19 hit, but all of a sudden, it became the safest method of payment during the pandemic as it requires little or no human contact. A recent analysis of 100,000 reviews in Apple’s App Store revealed that there was a 36% year-to-year increase in the number of reviewers saying that it was their first time using restaurants’ mobile apps.

Another report that compared the 2020 quarter-one (Q1) and quarter-two data (Q2) also showed some significant differences among consumers’ dining experiences. For instance:  

·      74% diners in Q1 vs. 41% in Q2 ordered food inside a restaurant with an employee.

·      12% in Q1 vs. 21% in Q2 used drive-through services.

·      3% in Q1 vs. 13% in Q2 ordered takeout by phone.

·      3% in Q1 vs. 11% in Q2 ordered online with a desktop or mobile device for carryout.

·      2% in Q1 vs. 6% in Q2 ordered delivery online.

·      1% in Q1 vs. 3% in Q2 ordered delivery by phone.

·      Consumers using a kiosk or tablet for orders inside a restaurant remained the same, at 4%.

 

As more consumers want mobile ordering, drive-thru, curbside pickup, as well as delivery services, restaurants are investing more in drive-thru lanes. In the case of Taco Bell, a new store design called “Go Mobile” was unveiled on Thursday, aiming to promote contactless curbside pickup and drive-thru services. The new Taco Bell has

 

·      Two drive-thru lanes, one of which is for pickup orders made through its mobile app.

·      Designated parking spots for contactless curbside pickup.

·      Indoor shelves for picking up digital orders.

·      Revamped kitchens with technology that speeds up the process.

 

Loyal customers can earn extra points if they choose the suggested method for pickup at the location. The size of the dining rooms, however, is not a big focus of the new plan.


Hotels


People are not traveling for business yet. Many hotels still rely on leisure travelers and even local residents to fill their empty rooms. Although some new hotels can deliver all customer services with machines, most hotels still count on their will-trained staff to serve their guests. Hotels are encouraging travelers to use touchless self-services to avoid human contact, such as  

 

·      Contactless check-in and check-out process.

·      Enhanced cleaning standards and procedures, with or without the aids of technology.

·      Contactless experiences with a hotel’s mobile app, through which travelers can access in-room TV, room service, concierge, and guest service.

·      Digital menus in food outlets, some including retrieving a digital menu on a traveler’s mobile device.

·      Offering pre-plated breakfast to minimize human contact.

·      Eliminating mid-day service to avoid human contact.

 

Airlines

 

Airlines have been using self-service kiosks for years, but it is until recently that big carriers, including United, American, Delta, and Southwest, put touchless kiosks into use at airports, an effort to eliminate human contact.

 

Facial recognition is another technology that helps airlines eliminate human contact. Delta Airlines, for example, opened the nation’s first biometric terminal at Atlanta’s Hartsfield Jackson International Airport (ATL) in 2018. Travelers can pass almost every checkpoint at ATL by looking at a screen.

 

Let’s hope the pandemic will come to an end in no time, and things will get back to normal soon. By then, people might have become accustomed to contactless self-services around them.

 

What do you think? Are contactless self-services here to stay even after the pandemic? Will you encourage businesses to invest in the technology that supports such services?


Note: This post is also available on MultiBriefs.com; The picture was downloaded from PYMNTS.com.  

Comments

  1. BBC (August 21): Japanese airline ANA trials germ-busting 'elbow doorknob' https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-53859948

    ReplyDelete
  2. Take a look at Burger King’s new ‘touchless’ restaurant designs with solar panels and outdoor seating https://cnb.cx/32SLIYB CNBC, Sep 3, 2020

    ReplyDelete

  3. These restaurant chains are unveiling new designs inspired by the pandemic
    https://www.cnbc.com/2020/09/05/restaurant-chains-are-unveiling-new-designs-inspired-by-the-pandemic.html CNBC, Sep 5, 2020

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think the contactless service controls the spread of the virus to a certain extent and ensures the safety of customers. However, this approach is not available to all hospitality industries, and not all restaurants can provide such services. Some foods, such as hot pot, cannot be bought and eaten at home because they cannot provide services like restaurants. I think it is still very dangerous to stay in a hotel now. Although the hotel staff can be guaranteed to be healthy, there are also guests from all over the hotel. You cannot guarantee that other people do not carry the virus. The virus is likely to spread to the entire hotel through room service.
    Question: If you must go out to stay in a hotel because of a request that you cannot refuse, how do you ensure that you are safe? Will you continue to request housekeeping services?
    Sarah Zhao HRT 3500-1

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have stayed in a hotel during this pandemic and do not recommend requesting housekeeping. I personally did not want anyone going in and out of my room even to clean it because I am concerned for their health and mine. I do not know if they might have been exposed to the virus from someone else room in the hotel and is spreading it. Or vise versa I was exposed to is when I was outside my hotel room and brought it back to the room with me. So, I think it would be best for you not to request any housekeeping during your stay and if you really need anything just ask the front desk.
      Question: Should there be a set protocol that all hotels need to follow to ensure everyone's safety? Should all rooms that have been used recently be vacant for the next two weeks, to ensure their is no sign of the virus?
      Denise Ramirez HRT 3500-01

      Delete
  5. I think the contactless service controls the spread of the virus to a certain extent and ensures the safety of customers. However, this approach is not available to all hospitality industries, and not all restaurants can provide such services. Some foods, such as hot pot, cannot be bought and eaten at home because they cannot provide services like restaurants. I think it is still very dangerous to stay in a hotel now. Although the hotel staff can be guaranteed to be healthy, there are also guests from all over the hotel. You cannot guarantee that other people do not carry the virus. The virus is likely to spread to the entire hotel through room service.
    Question: If you must go out to stay in a hotel because of a request that you cannot refuse, how do you ensure that you are safe? Will you continue to request housekeeping services?
    Sarah Zhao HRT 3500-1

    ReplyDelete
  6. Contactless service controls are essential in the pandemic as people are more cautious, and the restaurant, hotels, shopping malls, etc. should have protocols to prevent coronavirus from spreading. I have mixed feelings regarding the use of contactless self-service after the pandemic. Contactless self-services benefit the owners the most as it means that labor will be decreased, less expense. But for the employees, this is a bad idea because they will be replaced by machines and they will be unemployed. But as everyone knows, technology is the future. Individual in every generation are using phones to communicate, so I would encourage businesses to invest in technology that supports contactless service. But in the past years, there is a significant increase in individuals working in the technology industry as well, so I would say contactless self-service should stay even after the pandemic.

    HRT 3500 Section 02, Angeline Ricardo

    ReplyDelete
  7. I think these contactless services are here to stay even after the pandemic is under control or over. Ordering food online to pick up in store is very convenient, there is no waiting in line with other customers and it is usually quicker. There is a slight learning curve, but fast food dining changed dramatically when the drive-thru was introduced and now everyone has accepted it. We have to embrace the advancement of technology, especially during a pandemic where public safety is a huge concern. If contactless self service is quicker and safer than doing things the old way, I fully support and encourage businesses to invest in that technology. There will always be a need for human customer service, but it will probably be cut way back.

    HRT 3500.01, Eleanor Tan

    ReplyDelete
  8. Contactless services have proved to be of much need during this pandemic. It has allowed people to live semi-normal lives as people can still eat out if they choose and get essential and nonessential items delivered to their car from stores, without having to step foot into the business. I think technology has opened up doors and news ways of creating business for many operations, especially to the hospitality industry. For example, technology has allowed for trends such as "ghost kitchens" (where orders are taken remotely by a kitchen only facility that contains no in-door dining) to establish themselves and be profitable. I believe that contactless self-service will largely stay after the pandemic because they appeal to large markets such as on-the-go businessmen/woman, etc., but I do think that there needs to be limits. If hotels start to offer self-check-in and check-out exclusively, the amount of guest interaction will substantially decrease. When a hotel limits guest interaction, they are not providing customer service in so far as to differentiate them from their competitors. Quality customer service differentiates similar products, thus creating value. Without it, similar hotels would be viewed by buyers as a commodity, making PRICE the most important factor. Once a product is considered to be a commodity, it becomes a struggle to maintain profitability. Therefore, I would encourage businesses to utilize contactless services in order to maintain current and maintain competitive, however there must be a balance in order to ensure the business can still deliver the customer service desired in order to avoid commoditization.

    Robin Carapia HRT 3500 section 2

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think contactless self-services are a safe way for both customers and employees in the hospitality industry in order to lower the risk of infection because our industry focuses on service that requires more interaction between people. After the pandemic, contactless self-services will stay in the industry. For example, contactless menus in restaurants will help to cut the cost of paper menus and reduce paper usage. For me, I encourage businesses to invest in the technology because adapting and investing to the right technology will be a beneficial signal for restaurants to stay alive during this time of the pandemic and easy to meet young generation demand.
    Tam Nguyen HRT 3500-01

    ReplyDelete
  10. I believe contactless delivery is the most efficient method known for business as well as controlling the spread of the virus, for most businesses right now. I totally agree with it as for customers, they have limited contact with the employees as possible and therefore has little to no contact to the employees. The reason this is efficient for businesses is that since customers now want less contact and therefore want contactless delivery, it is possible to invest in the technology to do that and spend less money on employees tending to customers. That is why I highly encourage this trend of using technology to move towards contactless delivery. Indiana Korompis HRT 3500-02

    ReplyDelete
  11. Contactless service is an excellent addition that restaurants, hotels, and even airlines have recently added. It has helped our society take precautionary measures to avoid infection. These contactless services should be implemented everywhere and not just be limited to restaurants, hotels, and airlines. These services have helped our society tremendously throughout the pandemic. It has made things overall more convenient and more efficient, personally speaking, to do a lot of everyday normal activities such as shopping. For instance, more businesses are now getting involved with companies such Postmates, UberEats, and etc. Because of this, it has made online shopping more convenient and faster.

    Victoria Phuthong HRT 3500-01

    ReplyDelete

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