Image: Unsplash; Stella Jacob

Over the past twenty years, technological advancements have significantly shaken up the hospitality market. From cashless payment methods to Artificial Intelligence, the rapid rate at which new technology is produced and consumed, means the hospitality businesses need to stay ahead of the market to survive.

As consumers rely evermore on technology for a quick and convenience service, we take a look at the top 5 tech trends shaping the future of the industry.

Cashless payments and biometric authentication

As record numbers of digital transactions continue to overtake cash payments, it’s apparent we’re moving towards a cashless society. The hospitality industry is responding swiftly and smartly to this, particularly within live events sector.

Tottenham Hotspur’s new £1 billion stadium has become the UK’s first-ever fully cashless stadium. Others stadiums are following suit by deploying alternative FinTech services to enhance the fan experience. The Etihad Stadium, home to Man City F.C, has incorporated Fingopay at Joe’s Bar in the East Stand. Fingopay allows fans to pay for items using VeinID technology to read customers fingerprints.

This particular cashless payment method is regarded as the one of the quickest, safest and most secure ways to make transactions. Like many forward-thinking venues, The Etihad is one of many UK stadiums going cashless to ensure fans have the best experience possible.

Implementing technology like Fingopay at event venues means fans won’t miss a moment of the action. Factors that cause disruption and interference to the excitement of match days can be easily avoided. With the help of cashless payment systems, excessively long queues and waiting times and will soon become a thing of the past.

Virtual Reality

When we think of Virtual Reality, gaming usually springs to mind, however, the hospitality industry is utilising this piece of tech to improve and promote its services.

By fusing images, sounds and physical sensations, VR teleports users into a virtual world where they feel physically present. This opens up boundless opportunities for hospitality companies; VR can help hospitality businesses win customers by showcasing their services and products to encourage them to make a booking.

While this use of VR is currently being used and benefited by the hotel industry, it has potential to filter into other areas of the hospitality market. Venues, stadiums and fans of live events could benefit by using VR like travel experiences, allowing potential customers to view suites and lounges. This would enable venues and stadiums to promote hospitality packages and their facilities more effectively.

Artificial Intelligence

Through computer science, Artificial Intelligence (A.I) is used to carry out tasks that typically require human intelligence such as visual perception, speech recognition and the translation of languages.

From hotel websites to websites promoting hospitality packages, chatbots are a type of A.I used to conduct conversational chat with visitors, much like reception staff. Chatbots are readily available to answer any queries and help customers make bookings. This means any company within the hospitality industry really can be open for business 24/7.

NFC technology

If you’re unfamiliar with Near Field Communications (NFC), it’s technology that ‘enables seamless transmission of data from compatible devices over a short range with the help of radio waves.’ By enabling quicker check-ins and check-outs, NFC can minimise workload for front-of-house staff. NFC also creates faster payments and shields against theft or loss.

Twickenham Stadium has adopted NFC technology including smartphones which can be simply used tapping them over the terminal to pay for food, drink and merchandise. The stadium now has 450 contactless payment terminals, this means customers are kept happy on match days as they’re served quickly.

Social media and search engines

Long gone are the days of searching for and booking hospitality via brochures and the telephone. Nowadays, most people turn to search engines or social media to find the perfect hospitality packages. This has revolutionised the industry, meaning hospitality companies must employ digital-first strategies to promote their business and reach customers.

Online reviews on sites like TripAdvisor can have a huge impact on a company’s reputation-they can also help drive business with good reviews. Social media also allows customers and companies to interact directly with each other for a more personalised experience. Customers can also create User Generated Content which businesses can use to showcase their services,especially on visual social networks like Instagram.

What tech trends do you feel are having the biggest impact on the hospitality sector? Let us know by posting a comment on our Facebook of Instagram page, or tweet us @seatunique.