Front office technology has seen significant development in recent years. Driven in part by the rise of COVID-19 but also by changes in technology, these changes mean that today’s front desk is different from the traditional reception office of the past. In this article, you’ll learn about exciting developments in front office technology and what they mean for your business.

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What Is the Hotel Industry?

The hotel industry is a major part of the wider service industry sector. It’s an industry that looks after the needs of customers who have to be accommodated overnight or longer. Although the hotel industry is closely linked to the wider hospitality and service industries, there are significant differences in scope between them in terms of what they set out to provide.

In “Hotel Industry: Everything You Need to Know About Hotels!”, you’ll learn about the similarities and differences between the hospitality, service and hotel industries, the different types of accommodation offered by the hotel industry, and different hotel positions. You’ll also learn about hotel management, and gain important information about careers and business opportunities in this important sector.

What is Front Office Technology?

Front Office Technology has seen significant development in recent years. The front office is a major department in any hotel, forming the main point of contact between the business and its customers. The front office has been termed the “face” of the hotel, and for good reason: it’s usually the first department that any guest will come into contact with and the point at which they will form their first impressions. Front office technology, therefore, is hugely important. Any technological advance or development that can improve a customer’s experience and make life easier for busy staff will make a major difference to a hotel. In this article, you’ll learn about the latest developments in front office technology and how they can benefit your hotel.

You’ll learn how front desk technology can save money, save time, make your guests happier and let your staff focus on the most important tasks. You’ll learn about the benefits of new technology and how you can implement it. You’ll find out about everything from mobile phone apps to smart assistants, digital keys to virtual concierges. As front desk technology changes, it’s important to stay up to date. If you don’t adopt the latest tech to improve your front desk, you can be sure that your competitors will. Read on to find out everything you need to know about front-office technology.

Why Is It Important to Follow Front Office Technology Trends?

Following front office technology trends is vital to providing a quality customer experience and remaining competitive in today’s marketplace. While fears are sometimes expressed that new technologies will eclipse humans in the industry, this is a misconception. In fact, new front office technologies can free up human staff, handling time-consuming tasks so that hotel personnel have more time to spend taking care of customers’ needs.

For example, staff may find themselves needing to be away from the front desk from time to time. Having a smartphone app allows them to be present as soon as a customer needs their assistance. There’s far more to the front office than simply checking in guests. Automating basic processes means that staff have more freedom to attend to guests and make their stay more pleasant, instead of having to devote time to rote tasks that are better handled by automated systems.

7 Front Office Technology Trends You Should Know About

Here are some of the key front office technology trends that hotel owners and managers should be aware of.

1. Cloud-Based Technology

Cloud-based technology has been a normal feature of our lives for decades now. If you’ve ever used web-based email or file hosting services, you’ve already used cloud technology. Cloud-based systems are especially relevant to the hotel industry, where it’s important that staff are not tied to a specific terminal and where rapid sharing of information is important. Cloud-based property management services (PMS) are likely to be increasingly widely adopted. Cloud solutions for the front office help hotel operations by allowing systems to be moved from a physical location and onto the internet.

As well as making operations more convenient, cloud-based solutions also make it much easier to keep up with the latest technology trends. Because cloud services require less investment than, say, purchasing extra computers, moving hotel operations to the cloud is highly cost-effective. Cloud-based services are scalable, meaning that hotels can adapt to fluctuations in the need for computer systems (for example, during high and low seasons). Software updates are handled by the service provider, reducing the workload for hotel staff.

Video: Cloud-based Hotel Management System

2. Self-Check-In Desk Technology

Self-check-in technology was already becoming more popular in recent years. The advent of the pandemic turned it from a desirable upgrade into an essential one. Guests now expect self-check-in facilities as a matter of course. Many hotels now use a check-in kiosk: a convenient one-stop facility that can read debit and credit cards, take payments by card and sometimes cash, print receipts, provide key-cards, and handle other aspects of the check-in process.

Kiosks can also offer additional services or upsells, and inform guests of any add-ons they might want to purchase. A good kiosk offers an easy-to-read menu, an intuitive user interface, and simple commands. In some cases, kiosk instruments can be configured with multiple language options, making life easier for guests from overseas. Kiosks can be sanitised between users, making them a convenient and safety-conscious option for hotels.

Video: How to Use Self Check-in Kiosk

3. Specialised Mobile Apps

Nowadays, we rely on our smartphones for almost every process or activity. This has come to be included as a hotel trend, as well. As well as booking and paying for a hotel, guests can now use specialised apps to make their hotel stays more convenient and comfortable. While many customers enjoy the human touch of in-person interactions, others are more introverted and prefer their privacy. A specialised phone app can allow guests to check-in or out, open the hotel doors, pay for items in the minibar, order room service, access their hotel safe or use guest-only facilities.

A hotel app also allows guests to contact the front office and communicate with staff in real-time, without having to call down or leave the room. Payments can also be handled via the app, making life easier for the guest and also providing additional opportunities to increase revenue for the hotel.

Video: A Hotel Mobile App for Your Hotel Guests

4. Smart Mobile Keys

Mobile key technology has become hugely popular with hotels, as well as luxury residential accommodation and casinos. This kind of technology is convenient for hotels and guests alike, as well as boosting security for both the public and staff members. A mobile key, also called a digital key, can be used to unlock doors using a smartphone. It’s safe, and convenient and removes the need for face-to-face interaction — something that’s become more important during the pandemic.

Mobile keys greatly streamline the check-in process and remove the need to provide physical keys (which can easily become lost or damaged). As well as offering a cost-saving, the reduction in plastic waste from physical keys also improves sustainability. Mobile keys free up staff, allowing front desk personnel to devote more of their attention to guests’ individual needs. This can help make your property more welcoming and improve the customer experience overall.

Video: CNET News – Your smartphone becomes key to skipping the hotel front desk

5. Digital Concierge Technology

A virtual concierge or digital concierge uses artificial intelligence to provide services to guests. Often combined with mobile technology, a digital concierge can provide all the information and assistance that would normally be provided by a human concierge. A digital concierge can do things like find and book restaurants, send flowers to a particular room, assist in organising events, and so on. It can also offer additional support, such as finding flight information, giving updates on the weather, and helping guests find their way around town.

Digital concierge services can be offered via a mobile phone app, through the hotel’s website, or via the in-room TV. One example of a virtual concierge is that offered by Mews, artificial intelligence that helps guests take charge of their entire stay. This software allows guests to check-in and out, send direct messages to hotel staff, and provide other concierge services.

Video: Hotel Tech: Digital Concierge

6. Robotic Staff

Robots in the hotel industry are nothing new. In 2014, the sector was abuzz with the arrival of a robot butler — an AI-powered device that would not only process orders from guests but deliver items to their rooms. The robot butler can bring food, beverages, toiletries and towels to guests within about 15 minutes of receiving an order. While this innovation was generally seen as a novelty, physical automation is a real and increasingly important feature in many modern hotels.

Perhaps the most dramatic example is the Henn-na Hotel, a Japanese hotel boasting a staff that’s almost entirely robotic. Animatronic dinosaurs staff the reception desk, food is served by robots, and rooms come with an adorable egg-shaped robotic assistant that responds to guests’ voice commands. Of course, human staff are still on hand to tackle jobs that the robots can’t quite manage yet.

Video: Japanese hotel boasts robotic staff

7. AI and Hotel Chatbots

Chatbots are a common feature of daily life now, from virtual assistants to AI language teachers. Many websites offer chatbots as a way to help visitors find what they need. Modern AI has come a long way since the days of Eliza and similar relatively simple programs, with chatbots offering an increasingly sophisticated and human-like experience. Integrating AI chatbots into your hotel’s customer service can streamline communications, helping you to provide quality service regardless of the availability of staff.

Chatbots can handle inquiries from guests, provide information, solve problems, and generally make a guest’s stay more pleasant. Because voice recognition is now so advanced, it’s possible for guests to talk to an AI in a very natural way. As many people nowadays are used to using Alexa, Siri and similar technologies, chatbots are no longer daunting or confusing. Even customers who would normally prefer to interact with human staff can be perfectly comfortable using an AI chatbot to deal with their requests.

Video: Chatbot for hotels

Uncovering Hotel Housekeeping Technology

From software that keeps track of cleaning and caretaking schedules to physical automation of cleaning tasks, hotel housekeeping technology is constantly changing and improving. Through automation, housekeeping tasks can be streamlined and made more efficient. In a time of increased sensitivity around hygiene and cleanliness, it’s never been more important to be at the top of your housekeeping game.

In “Housekeeping Technology; The Latest Tech used in Hotel Housekeeping”, you’ll learn about the latest innovations in housekeeping. You’ll learn how technology can help keep your hotel germ-free and protect against COVID. Find out how automated systems such as robot vacuum cleaners can cut costs, free up staff for more important jobs, and improve your guests’ experience when they visit your hotel.

Smart Hotel Technology Innovations

As more and more devices and systems can be provided with microprocessors and networked to create smart systems, the hotel industry has been quick to adopt this kind of technology. Smart hotel rooms are increasingly popular with guests, thanks to the ease and convenience that they offer.

In “Smart Hotel Technology: 7 Technologies to Smart Up Your Hotel”, you’ll learn what smart technology is and what it can do for you. Find out how adding smart technology to your existing properties can be a quick and easy way to update your facilities, improve your guest experience, and increase your revenue.

Mobile Check-in Apps As Part of Front Office Technology

If you want to know more about mobile check-in apps, don’t miss this article. Mobile check-in apps are increasingly popular with hoteliers and guests alike, offering a quick, easy and contactless check-in experience. Learn how mobile check-in apps can free up staff, make after-hours check-ins much less tricky, and help minimise the possibility of COVID spread at your hotel.

In “Mobile Check-In App for Hotels: What Are The Benefits?”, you’ll learn how mobile check-in apps work and what they can do for your hotel.

Front office technology is continuously advancing and providing new ways for hotels to innovate and offer their guests the ultimate service.  From robotics and artificial intelligence being adapted to the front desk operations, to new ways of communicating to the guests via apps, there are multiple ways technology can improve hotel experiences.

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