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The pace of technological change and more importantly, the take-up rates of the services enabled is transforming entire industry sectors.

The disruption provoked by Uber to the taxi industry across the planet as well as to a lesser extent the impact of AirBnB to hospitality is well documented. Whilst these two examples make technology appear as a threat to established business models the underlying technology is actually a source of many opportunities. The same can be said of services such as UberEATS and Deliveroo, the latter now in over 60 cities worldwide and delivering a healthy 25% month on month growth. Both underline the fact that consumers are seeking choice, an anonymous service style (just like for Uber there is no longer a requirement to speak or interact) and are fully accustomed to selecting and ordering food and drink digitally.

And whilst hoteliers pride themselves on providing quality human interactions to their guests, reality is once the annoying check in and check out process is finalised, human interaction remains limited. More often than not the entire service experience comes down to just those two interactions. However hard you train your staff the welcome and goodbye will often remain stereotyped, with predefined style and words. More importantly, staff have a unique 2 min check in a window at possibly the worst moment of a guest’s journey i.e at the end of a long day. Upselling in that limited window definitely takes skill and tact…and I am not sure the usual automated emails prior to arrival and the dated in-room clutter/collateral greatly increase that upsell rate.

In fact, it is likely that guests turn to proven and trusted services that are so convenient at home such as Deliveroo and totally disregard the offerings within a property- even more so in a business environment where stays are Short. The threat is real that your reception staff will increasingly end up being the last “100m” delivery man taking a Deliveroo order up to the guest’s room. And whilst that happens, your F&B investment is clearly not being leveraged and neither is all that staff customer care training.

The above demonstrates that if hoteliers are to increase the touch points with their guests- before, during and after the guest’s stay – a digital strategy needs to be implemented. Just like at home, Guests are seeking control, speed and in many cases self-service without the barriers of language or effort to communicate. This is at the core of iRiS’ business and product range. Guest Valet, one of our core products, is focused on extending that 2 minute upsell communication window to the entire guest stay by placing a tablet in every room.

With iRiS’s GXP software suite, entire food and beverage offers with simple digital ordering can be implemented- add to that the ability to integrate with Spa reservation systems and room controls it becomes the hub of the hotel room, and the key to the communication and upsell strategy of a property. The combination of attractive physical in-room devices and recent trends in online food ordering is leading to double-digit growth in F&B ordering as well as improved ROIs for hoteliers.

– Juan Aguirre

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