4 key trends that are shaping the future of technology in the hospitality industry
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry lags behind in terms of technology. However, with hoteliers across the globe now investing in everything from smart technologies in hotel rooms to self-service guest apps, it’s clear that there’s now widespread demand for bigger and better things.
But with new trends and changes in legislation constantly shaping the industry, and expectations around user experience at an all-time high, how can technology providers ensure they’re doing everything they can to stay one step ahead?
Here are just a few areas that we’re tackling head-on in our ongoing product development strategy.
Expectations around user experience
Nowadays, the majority of us manage almost everything from our mobiles, and we’re pretty unforgiving when it comes to poor user experience. We expect to be able to access everything we need as quickly and as easily as possible, and if our expectations aren’t met, we won’t think twice about heading elsewhere.
We regularly gather and action feedback from our clients, but they aren’t the only ones using our platforms. That’s why we use heat-mapping tools such as Full Story to track user journeys and see how guests interact with our products. The data we collect informs new decisions around layout, features, and functionality, and we’ll conduct A/B testing to gain further insight into user behaviour and requirements.
Changes in payment legislation
In 2018 alone, online payment fraud cost businesses more than €17bn. And by 2022, the number is expected to rise to €100bn, which is why we’re seeing new legislation come into play this September in the form of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).
As you’ll probably already be aware, any online card payments made by your European customers will soon require a different user experience, namely 3D Secure (a two-factor authentication), in order to meet SCA requirements. This will involve your guests supplying something they know (e.g. a PIN number), something they have (e.g. a card or text/phone call authorisation), or something they are (e.g. a fingerprint) to complete the transaction.
We’ve already rolled out support for this functionality across all our products. And while the update will vary depending on who your customers bank with, we were well ahead in terms of ensuring we’re compliant with these new processes.
The ever-changing Google algorithm
For some time now, Google has favoured mobile-optimisation in rankings, and this became more apparent than ever when the search engine rolled out some big changes to its mobile layout.
Up to 60% of traffic we see on our platforms comes from mobile devices. But it’s not just about making sure our products are mobile-optimised, it’s about understanding that user journeys aren’t always linear. More often than not, users will initially engage with your brand on a mobile, but they will also encounter several touchpoints, usually across multiple devices, before making a purchase.
This is why we’re always monitoring user behaviour, from tracking the proportion of purchases made on specific devices, right through to exit rates. Our products are an extension of your website, so we want to ensure we’re doing everything we can to support your online presence and ensure the user experience is the best it can be.
The latest trends in shopping behaviour
Today’s shoppers are savvier than ever. Whether it’s browsing prices on comparison sites or scouring the web for the latest deals, shoppers are determined to find the best bargain. So when big sales events like Black Friday hit, or you email your 250k-strong database with details of your latest offer, the last thing you need is for your gift voucher or spa booking site to go down.
That’s why we made the move to enterprise quality hosting with Amazon. When you experience high volumes of traffic to your site, the hosting environment automatically scales by adding new servers to handle the high volume of traffic and ensure you never experience downtime or problems with performance. And this is all managed by our very own in-house DevOps Engineer who monitors updates and alerts while ensuring the servers are backed-up and secure at all times.
While we’re constantly looking to provide future-proof solutions that stand up to the latest trends, we’re also trying to educate the industry to understand the benefits that technology can bring in terms of enhancing the guest experience. We like to think of ourselves as industry disruptors, and it’s only our imagination that limits us.