Hospitality

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The Trend

Digital payment is a form of electronic payment that allows businesses to carry out cashless money transactions. Digital payment technology involves using Point of Sales (POS), mobile phones, computers, or a digital channel such as wireless data and SWIFT for business transactions worldwide. In the hospitality industry, digital transactions contribute to the economy's growth by promoting tourism (Alhammoud et al., 2019). As a result, consumer management becomes effective since the technology allows them to avoid the traditional form of payment which might be a security risk to them. Also, digital payment provides a future reference for accounting purposes because wireless transactions keep real-time payment records; thus, the accounting department has an easier time during financial analysis. Additionally, digital payment enables the hospitality industry to be flexible in product and service delivery (Zaitseva et al., 2016); wireless provides consumers with different choices to pay for their services. Many consumers prefer delivery services such as foods, beverages, or a booking of lodging rooms in the digital age. Therefore, digital payment is a technological trend that facilitates efficiency in the hospitality industry through the fast delivery of quality goods and services. 

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry has adopted digital payment technology. It has enabled the industry to be flexible since many consumers pay via mobile payments, credit cards, and online payment methods to ensure the safety of their customers (Zaitseva et al., 2016). Consequently, foreign tourists use online fractionations, which allows them to send money using their currency, later converted into local currency (Alhammoud et al., 2019). Therefore, digital payment will continue to become a significant technological industry for the next 5-10 years due to its diversity capabilities. For instance, cashless transactions enable a tourist from Canada to book a hotel and airplane tickets via online business platforms; in turn, businesses keep records of customer expenditure paid when checking out in a hostel or restaurant.

                                                       Justification of the Trend

Technology has dramatically influenced the hospitality and tourism industry. The technology has enabled organizations to enhance performance, reduce cost, and improve customer experiences, hence, low labor costs. As one of the fast-growing trends in the hospitality sector, consumers appreciate the technology because it is less time-consuming and minimizes errors during transactions (Alhammoud et al., 2019). Digital transactions facilitate business operations by eliminating costs linked to purchasing and distributing paper checks. The technology is crucial for the hospitality industry since it is an eco-friendly payment method, especially in a business that does not require cash reserves (Alhammoud et al., 2019). Unlike papers that may result in untidy offices, wireless transactions keep digital accounting records, maintaining office cleanliness. Security is another reason for adopting digital technology within the hospitality industry (Zaitseva et al., 2016); consumers feel safer walking with wireless money because it reduces the probability of being robbed. Although a phone can get lost, a customer does not have to worry about their money as digital payment requires authorization from its owner.

In summary, digital payment is a cashless mode of money transfer that allows a business to be flexible in service delivery. The digital transaction is the most influential trend in boosting the hospitality industry (Zaitseva et al., 2016). The ability to convert a foreign currency to local currency via digital payment justifies its application in the hospitality industry. Therefore, international tourists can use local currency to pay for hotel and ticketing products or services; thus, in the next 5-10 years, digital payment technology will be the leading model of business transactions across the globe. 

                                                    Respond to a Trend 

It is impressive to see how many hospitality businesses positively respond to digital payment technology. Companies fail to implement such trends due to security concerns like any other technology. Many hospitality businesses have adopted digital transactions despite the challenge, especially during the pandemic (Alhammoud et al., 2019). The wireless money transfer ensures the health safety of both employees and consumers by limiting contact. For instance, home delivery provides customers with an online payment method to pay before or after delivery. Avoiding physical contact protects the parties from infections caused by paper money. Besides consumers, businesses have happily adopted digital technology because it contributes to brand growth by developing flexibility of products and services (Zaitseva et al., 2016). Consequently, the digital transaction being the most trending hospitality technology has significantly influenced the growth of local businesses such as

Hospitality

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Similarly, the positive response comes from the technology's ability to influence customer experience from the quality of products and services in their destinations (Alhammoud et al., 2019). In conclusion, it is expected that digital payment technology will significantly affect the future of the hospitality industry by changing the techniques of customer and business activity management. It is because digital payment can be automated to conduct payment for employee salaries and online services. 



The challenge 

The global hospitality industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many hotels closed for the first time in decades. Revenue from the sale of rooms, food and beverages, banquets, weddings and retail sales dropped sharply. Hotel companies have embarked on a difficult task of determining how to operate in the new reality created by the pandemic. Authorities in Canada and other areas of the world have started to restore their economy, and the hospitality industry is getting ready to reopen its gates. However, the environment in which the industry today operates has altered, and subsequent global quarantine has had a significant impact on consumer behavior. 

While there are some minor problems that occurred throughout the pandemic and which will be around for sometime, there is one challenge that appeared a while ago and is still imposing certain troubles for the hospitality sector.  Digitalization is what nowadays is considered one of the biggest trends and greatest challenges for the tourism industry. According to surveys in the United States, 20% of all reservations are now booked via the Internet, and this figure is growing every year (Wang, 2009). With such a significant percentage of reservations made online, a hospitality establishment cannot afford to be unconnected. If a potential guest is unable to book online, they will make a reservation through a competitor's web page. For example, some hotel chains like Hyatt or Hilton have implemented electronic check-in service. It works in a way that visitors who have registered as preferred/privileged clients will receive key cards with the most up-to-date radio frequency identification technology. On the day of a confirmed arrival, a text message is sent to the customer's phone with general details such as room number, arrival time, and so on. Clients are not required to confirm their stay at the front desk when they arrive, instead they just unlock their room and insert their key card. 

This technological advancement and others such as booking apps, AI, contactless payment systems are being actively integrated in hotel operations around the world. As it was mentioned before, this shift did not just start because of or during the pandemic. New generations, especially ones we call millennials and generation z, are well familiarized with technologies, and in order to save some time in this fast-paced world, they often prefer brands which have adapted these digital innovations. That is why it is highly important to be able to adapt to this challenge and learn how to benefit from it in the near future, even though it might be difficult and expensive. 

A justification for its importance

Digitalization has been the main trend and business challenge for several years now. Technology has transformed both business and how it approaches customers. Now it only takes a few minutes to plan your trip: instantly book a plane, read a review of any restaurant, find and rent accommodation anywhere in the world. Technology has made it all possible and taken it to the next level. In particular, there are a few reasons why addressing this challenge is crucial these days. Firstly, it is the competitive advantage that will facilitate the organization's expansion. Because some businesses may contribute to the continual improvement of their app services, this trend gives customers more opportunities to access the smart app's features, supporting the hotel industry's rapid expansion (Hossny, 2021). Secondly, digitalization plays a key role in increasing customer satisfaction, which at the end will result in building trustful relations with customers and future company’s recognition. Customer experience with hotel apps may be used to determine whether or not guest expectations were met, as well as to assess what is essential to customers, making customer experience with hotel apps a beneficial source of information for hotels (Hossny, 2021). Thus, guests will be able to generate certain perceptions about service quality of a company not just by viewing hotel rooms, lounges, and the outside design of buildings, but also by having access to a variety of hotel technologies. 

Response to the challenge

In order to stay afloat in the future hospitality sector, businesses should invest in various technological features. In the short term (while we still experiencing Covid-19 effects)  these include: non-invasive thermal scanning technology to monitor incoming customers for signs of fever and alert staff to intercept potentially ill individuals before they can enter the premises; health status app, which indicates an individual’s health risk on a color-coded scale, could help hospitality organizations screen customers prior to entry (Deloitte, n. d.). In addition, technological devices might assist companies in the cleaning matter. For example, Marriott Hotels is testing UV light to sanitize guests’ key and devices shared by staff and using electrostatic sprayers to spread hospital-grade sanitizers in guest rooms, lobbies, gyms, and other public areas (Immen, 2020). 

When it comes to long term investment, it involves: a well designed website, advertising on social media, electronic check in, online booking service, cashless payment systems, etc. However, the ultimate goal of all businesses for the future would be implementing artificial intelligence. First of all, it is chat bots on websites or in messengers. It allows customers to get a faster response to their concern and as a result increase their satisfaction. Second of all, it is in-person customer service. That means using AI directly in communication with customers. For example, in 2016, Connie, a robot concierge developed by IBM, made its first entrance at the Hilton McLean. Connie uses Watson and WayBlazer domain knowledge to assist guests in determining where to eat meals and telling them where everything is located in the premises, among other simple tasks (Grotte, n. d.). Thus, all these features help businesses to become more efficient, and at the same time attract new customers, while retaining existing ones. 

Conclusion 

To summarize the above-said, innovative technology has become one of the most important trends and issues in the operation of hospitality businesses. The world is evolving and many operations are becoming more complex, so organizations need to keep up with this ongoing process. The easiest way to upgrade their services is to integrate various technologies that will advance existing operations. 

As a trend and challenge, innovative technologies will have lasting impact no matter what. However, it is hard to say which one is more significant. On one hand, the 21st century is the century of technologies and their future implementation is just inevitable. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult for businesses, especially for non-network ones and especially in this time, to invest in such expensive inventory. 

In a world with drastically decreased revenues, high fixed expenses, lower-than-optimal asset returns, and the need to save capital, hospitality companies must prioritize and invest in the right areas. They'll have to strike the correct balance between investment and conservation to get the best return on investment in the short to long term. Some of these decisions will stand the test of time, while others will not. However, decisions made in the coming months will have a long-term impact on the hotel industry's operational patterns.




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