It’s been a busy month in the world of guest-facing Hospitality tech – from news of live restaurant wait times on Google Search and Maps, to ID verification via ‘selfie’ at the self-service kiosk, to artificial intelligence influencing digital menus and new intel on our favourite and most profitable demographic in Hospitality – the Millenial.

It’s official: consumers prefer talking to technology over people
A recent study brought to light by Hospitality Tech tells us that customers prefer a “do-it-yourself” approach to customer service, with 36% of customers saying that they prefer interacting with automated self-service technology over talking in person or over the phone.

This is a timely finding as the dawn of AI brings with it chatbots and machine-learning software for the hospitality sector that enable customers to use automated communication channels to book reservations, ask about the menu, check nutritional information and more.

Google to display restaurant wait times in real time
Ever missed out on your favourite meal after forgetting to make a restaurant reservation? Good news – Google is to roll out a wait time feature to Google Search, followed by Google Maps, meaning you’ll never be hit with the dreaded “come back in an hour” line again.

The addition is an expansion of Google’s existing feature which shows restaurant busy times based on users’ Google Location History. Google Search and Maps will display data in real time, helping diners better decide where they want to eat and when.

Digital identity app to speed up self checkout
Flagging down a member of staff at the self checkout when trying to buy a bottle of wine or sharps could soon be a thing of the past thanks to new biometric technology. Yoti has launched a digital identity app which pairs a ‘selfie’ with an official document such as a passport to create a verified digital identity – streamlining self-service in hospitality and protecting against ID fraud. See BBC for more.

Digital menus will use AI to present food according to consumer taste
“Our minds find protein in motion – oozing cheese and dribbling yolk, very attractive” says the BBC.

As a result, digital menus are beginning to offer more opportunities to utilize visual stimuli, such as videos and animations, to influence consumer buying behaviour.

And menus of the future are likely to know what you want to order before you even know it yourself – thanks to advancements in artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning.

An example of this is Pizza Hut – who recently began trialling eye-tracking technology to offer likely topping combinations to diners based on data collected as they scan the menu.

Millenials: a tough nut to crack, but fast technology, unique loyalty benefits and great brand values should do it
A recent survey by Hospitality Net reminds us that Millenials are soon to become Hospitality’s most profitable demographic and technology could hold the key to getting them through the door. See below for a rundown of the survey findings:

  • 60% of millennial business travellers are happy to pay for premium services that improve the seamlessness of their trip – especially if it supports their appetite for technology
  • Millenials are impatient and will quickly abandon you if the online process is not straight forward.
  • In loyalty programs, they want unique benefits, accessed fast using modern technology such as the latest apps linked to social media.