January 15, 2020

Tech Trends of 2020: Where Innovation Lies

Written by Briana Gilmore

Facial recognition. Robotics process automation (RPA). Voice assistance. As technology becomes the cornerstone for the way we do business and a key driver for the guest experience, we have all become relatively familiar with tech terms like these — but do we truly understand what they mean, and are we asking the right questions if we don't?

What are the ethical implications of facial recognition software? How do we ensure we still have that "personal touch" when we implement RPA? Do guests want to have a digital voice assistant in their rooms? And perhaps most importantly, what constitutes true innovation in the age of technology?

These questions and more will be explored in-depth during the fourth annual HITEC Europe, taking place for the second consecutive year at the Palau de Congressos in stunning Mallorca, Spain this April 21-23.

Facial recognition technology is used by hotels and hospitality companies to streamline the guest experience, automate the check-in process, enhance security and improve processes. This type of biometric tool can be an invaluable asset to the hospitality industry. But does it go too far by violating the privacy of the people it is there to assist?

During the HITEC session Smile and Look into the Camera! The Future of Facial Recognition, industry experts will discuss the role of facial recognition and identity management for both hotel guests and its employees. As this subject can be very contentious, it will be discussed from an ethical perspective. It will also explore what it means for future guest interaction and employee clock-in/clock-out/access control.

Absolutely everyone would agree that a speedy, high-tech check-in is a huge plus for any hotel stay. Technology now plays a major role in streamlining the check-in process. Many hotels now employ a self-service kiosk or mobile app as an alternative to the front desk.

There is a danger that while these processes save time and reduce long lines, they can simultaneously sacrifice customer service. One person's slick, fast kiosk experience can be a computer-shy person's tech nightmare. Some customers prefer the "personal touch" and "service with a smile," while others just want to bypass the front desk and go straight to their rooms....

Attend the HITEC session My Way, Your Way or Guests Pass by on the Highway: How Do We Satisfy All? to learn how to balance the disparate needs of your guests.

Voice assistants are becoming and will ultimately be ubiquitous. In fact, this is one of the fastest growing technological fields today. Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa are now household names as identifiable as Madonna and Prince. Consumers all over the world use these voice assistants to manage the comforts of their home — so it only makes sense that hotels are now using these devices to make their guests feel right at home.

In the HITEC session The Real Application of Voice Assisted Technologies, industry experts will explore examples of increased operational efficiency and accuracy. Traditional manual hotel processes can be automated through the employee's own language, enabling smooth operations as well as time and cost reductions.

What about technology to manage data integration? We are all drowning in data with duplicate guest profiles clogging the system. The HITEC Europe educational program includes the session From Loyalty Programs to Single User Profile to teach you how to integrate your customers' data across PMS, POS, RMS, CRS and CRM and make it available to all of your departments.

Do you offer room service or an in-house restaurant? What are some of the digital essentials for your food and beverage (F&B) operations? The session Digital Essentials for Your F&B Operations: Beyond POS will discuss front- and back-of-house digital essentials. For back-of-house, review the merits of...digital menus and food allergy documentation. Front-of-house digital tech includes systems for bookings and reservations, channel managers, distribution and promotion. Finally, the session will look at guest experience management systems including guest recognition and loyalty programs.

In the end, real innovation is about so much more than the terms that identify the technologies transforming the hospitality industry.

Jargon gets dangerous when it is used to run companies, and sadly that is exactly what most "digital transformations" are all about. After a career leading real innovation for major companies globally, HITEC Europe's Opening Keynote Presenter Lindsay Herbert is fed up with all the business buzzwords and tech hype.

Never Say "Digital Transformation" — How to Actually Innovate

In her presentation based on her internationally acclaimed book Digital Transformation, Herbert is determined to set the record straight about what real transformation is, and how every company in the hospitality sector can achieve it.

She will reveal the three critical rules for achieving real innovation success. In each, she will share her own hard-won lessons, as well as from company leaders worldwide. Attendees will leave with practical advice, inspiring examples and the cautionary tales needed to turn your company into one that knows how to dodge the hype and adapt to change itself.

Register to Attend HITEC Europe Today

Register your interest to attend HITEC Europe online and start planning your agenda to attend these sessions and learn more about the technology trends of 2020. When you are done registering your interest, be sure to book your hotel and travel.

2020 application Data education Europe facial recognition future HFTP HITEC hospitality Mallorca networking RPA Spain tech technology terms trends voice assistance