*This information is current as of March 2024 *

Dining and lodging are two of society’s oldest types of businesses and the industry can be hesitant to embrace new technology. However, the seemingly straightforward concepts of preparing a meal or offering a room could benefit immensely from technological advancements that can help operators increase their efficiency in the face of shrinking profit margins and workforce struggles.

This toolkit features resources for hospitality operators who want to learn more about the opportunities available to them in the tech world. Here you can find general articles about exciting new technology and helpful guides for navigating existing ones.

It may seem like incorporating new technology is an unnecessarily costly expense, but many hoteliers have begun to recognize the value of technology. It not only provides the opportunity to enhance operations and efficiency but also maximize guest experience. Hoteliers are finding that providing guests with an experiential stay is becoming increasingly important on top of the expected standard of high-quality service. Technology can help bridge this gap, by lifting the burden on current staff amidst a shrinking workforce and help provide this experience guests are looking for. Below are examples of how you can leverage technology for your hotel.

The use of robots is no longer confined to futuristic sci-fi movies. Take Henn na Hotel in Japan. The hotel is the world’s first hotel fully staffed by robots. Upon entering the hotel, guests are checked in by robots and with the use of facial recognition software, the need for hotel key cards or phone codes are removed. These robots are not only helpful but also provide a unique and engaging experience for guests. Robots in hotels are becoming increasingly popular and there are many benefits to show for it.

Utilize hotel-specific website builders. Wix offers a new hotel management system. This platform was created to help small independent properties attract guests and gain direct bookings online. Hotel management systems can be very useful for streamlining and automating administrative tasks to save time for hotel staff and minimize error by centralizing operations. This in turn can help free up staff to focus on creating an inviting and fun guest experience.

Integrate use of AI chatbots to help answer visitor questions. AI chatbots may seem like a daunting addition to your hotel but they can offer many benefits. These automated chats can be available 24/7 so your staff can get some much-needed shut-eye and also provide help in multiple languages. With travelers from many different places this can be essential to providing a welcoming experience both while booking and during their stay. The chatbots may also be able to suggest different helpful services from across your hotel to boost sales and offer promotions happening. From Hotel Tech Report, here are some useful chatbots.

Incorporate mobile keys which are becoming more popular. Using a smartphone to unlock a home or vehicle is becoming more common these days. Many hotels are adopting similar technology allowing guests to unlock their rooms using a mobile device. There are a number of advantages to mobile keys like being able to skip long check-in lines and increasing security by lowering the risk of lost keys. There are downsides though, including the hefty price tag for the initial investment. Check out this blog post about the pros and cons of using mobile keys at your property.

QR codes have become more common in restaurants after becoming popular during the pandemic. Implementing QR codes can have great benefits but keep in mind there are both pros and cons to using these. A business’s best option may be using a hybrid system with both QR codes and paper options.

Streamline your booking process using different tools.

o How Contactless Payments are Changing the Traveler Experience
o Google announces new travel products
o Snapchat offers dynamic ads for travel
o Why hotels have to move beyond traditional phone systems

Restaurateurs have been an unlikely leader in many areas of tech. Leading the way are concepts like scheduling kiosks, online ordering apps and even robotic waitstaff. Incorporating new tech can help your restaurant remain competitive and enhance operational efficiency by streamlining processes and reducing human error. Inventory management, data collection and improving customer experience are all possible benefits as well. The following are different resources regarding new technology for restaurants.

The National Restaurant Association completed October Tech month where they offered advice on how to utilize tech in various aspects of your business. From customer facing tech, tech that supports operations to trends- they offer many resources. Read more here

Do you already accept QR code contactless payments and Apple Pay? Why is it important to accept Apple pay and functions like touch-to-pay? This type of payment is more secure than other forms of payment and is also very quick- enabling more customers to move through a line. Additionally, accepting this type of payment is very convenient for customers, which increases customer satisfaction pushing return visitors. Read more about the benefits of accepting this type of payment.

Are robots really used that much in restaurants? There are actually many notable cases in which robots are being used and can be looked to as an example. Robots can help bridge the staffing gap and free up your staff members to focus on customer experience. By automating certain process, they have the potential to cut down on error and maximize efficiency, not to mention they can be a fun addition for customers. Jack In the Box, Chipotle and other restaurants have been testing Miso Robotics products. Try reserving a Miso robot or help them test new products that can automate your kitchen.

You can easily accept crypto with partners like Flexa. Crypto Refills can also allow you to sell gift cards to customers paying with a cryptocurrency wallet. Chipotle, Baskin Robbins and other places accept cryptocurrency payments. It’s important to understand the benefits and possible drawbacks to accepting cryptocurrency payments such as bitcoin before making a decision but some benefits include lower transaction fees, faster cash flow and no chargebacks.

Make use of inventory management software to boost efficiency and lower costs. A great system can allow for tracking and monitoring all supplies, help prevent waste, maximize profitability by reducing costs, provide helpful automations for renewing stock and inventory. Read more about how inventory management systems can have a positive impact on your restaurant.

How restaurants can maximize the digital landscape to drive sales | Nation’s Restaurant News
How the industry is changing what it means to be hospitable
Hospitality businesses investing in tech to increase customer engagement
Third party delivery: pros, cons, strategies.
How to streamline the customer digital experience
McDonald’s embrace of new tech keeps up with the changing times

The association’s Advisory Network is full of experts who can help you better understand and innovate in the tech space. Additionally, the Washington Hospitality Association employs some tech of their own by ensuring that we communicate to you using the latest methods like webinars and podcasts. Learn about the ways you can get your information virtually and see some of the great programs our partners offer to help businesses that want to innovate.

Learn more about the Washington Hospitality Association Advisory Network.
How your communications team allows you to access vital news and information.

Members only resources:
Cyber insurance and security risk management program

Members only articles:

Streamlining solutions with cost-free technology
Third party delivery pitfalls

Info from our partners:
How contactless payments are good for your bottom line
Wearable payments
Elavon and 3D secure
Securing your front end
Safeguarding sales in the event of a disconnect
What to do about Chargebacks