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The hospitality industry is fundamentally a business driven by customer service, and while it’s long been accepted that having a front-facing human element is critical to prosperity in this market, more hotels are starting to understand the role technology can play in facilitating the customer service experience. That’s a trend that will only grow stronger looking forward, so let’s look back at 2018 in expectation of the future.

Virtual Assistance

Maintaining a 24/7 customer service experience is difficult for many hoteliers, but the rise of the virtual assistant has created a system where hospitality businesses can keep labor costs down while also providing a higher level of engagement. While many hotels have begun creating their own VA platforms, Amazon has also moved aggressively into the market with their Alexa For Hospitality app. By taking one of the most well-regarded consumer based VAs and pairing it with inexpensive Echo Dot devices, hotels can create a virtual concierge in all of their rooms without a prohibitively high level of investment. Most of the adopters were big-name companies like Westing and Marriott, but this third-party approach should keep costs down as smaller chains and standalone hotels get on the bandwagon.

Improving Wi-Fi

Maintaining a wi-fi connection in vast hotels can be a difficult task, and it’s something that even large chains have struggled with. But it’s a necessity, especially as wi-fi serves as the backbone for virtual assistants and other quality of life improvements. More hotels have been addressing these problems and looking for more comprehensive solutions.

More Convenient Booking

While sites like Trivago and have long provided comparison pricing for hotels, more social media platforms are recognizing that integrating hotel shopping in their interfaces is a great way to create engagement with both businesses and customers. Even photo-based app Instagram has gotten in on the movement. Their inclusion of “action buttons” allows customers to go through the whole reservation booking process directly through their app, and that provides hotels with a new channel to advertise, putting the aesthetic appeal of their rooms and facilities front and center.

Comprehensive Management Platforms

Point of sale systems have become the backbone for most modern restaurants, and hotels are increasingly adopting similar tacts. Cloud-based SaaS solutions allow hoteliers to fold in a variety of different functions into a single platform, and that can be seen most prominently in Radisson’s “Emma” system. This platform combines property management, revenue management, business analytics, and a host of other features into a single package.