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The Biggest Threat Facing the Hospitality Sector

Thursday, January 10, 2019  
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The Biggest Threat Facing the Hospitality Sector 

IT ProPortal  - January 10, 2019 

In today’s competitive consumer-facing landscape, customers now have more power and options than ever before – and this is levelling the playing field. For every clothing brand, there’s hundreds of other labels; for every hotel, there’s another twenty that guests can stay in. Now, hospitality brands – ranging from hotels to food and beverage establishments – are under huge pressure to keep innovating in order to remain relevant in today’s market.

Challenger brands that previously couldn’t compete on size are now focusing on customer-centric experiences as their business differentiator – which is helping these firms increase sales in a challenging market. In revolutionising customer service and improving the user experience, they are improving their chances of taking market share from older, legacy brands that haven’t yet embraced a fully digital and immersive business model. As the market toughens, these legacy brands will ultimately risk being left behind.

To avoid becoming a victim of today’s technologically advanced times, established brands must enhance the user experience by embracing digital transformation innovations such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve their offering and increase profits and brand loyalty.

The customer experience is key

AR can deepen a customer’s experience, making it truly immersive. With AR, digital information is presented in forms within the environment. Rather than presenting an entirely new and often fictional context (as in VR), it enhances and deepens what the customer is already. An app allows a guest to view a hotel’s premises through a phone camera, and then overlay links and images to create an in-app tour of the area, keeping the customer informed of the facilities during every minute of their stay. 

This technology can also help retail brands transform a shopping experience and make it immersive for a customer. Using AR can enable clothing brands to project an outfit onto the image of a shopper standing in a shop, allowing them to visualise a potential purchase on the spot. It can also help shoppers preview products in context: a furniture buyer could see how a sofa would look in their living room.

AR is now making its presence in the restaurant trade known, with menus being brought to life. US fast food chain Bareburger is planning to replace all of its printed menus with 3D visualisations, so that a diner can get a true-to-life preview of their food before placing their order. It will not be too long before visitors are scrolling through holographic representations of the food on the menu in restaurants across the world. 

Sometimes, using tech that can enable a company to simply do the basics well can also help a business deliver on customer satisfaction. McDonald’s self-ordering kiosks help not only speed up queues at busy branches and enable at-table delivery, putting the customer at the heart of the dining experience, but diners can also customise their food options – which is especially crucial for those with dietary requirements or allergies.

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