As 2022 comes to a close, Hospitality Technology (HT) reflects on recent industry research to detail some of the trends that will be driving the hospitality industry in the year ahead.
Mad About Mobile
In HT’s just-released 2023 POS Software Trends Report, operators who responded rated mobile features high on their list of must-haves. Two business goals will drive most POS spending in 2023: using data to understand guest behaviors and adding new payment capabilities. When asked to evaluate a list of potential business goals, those related to mobility and payment rose to the top.
During one episode of The Point, HT’s 30-minute webinar series, Vadim Parizher, Vice President of Technology, Taco Bell, said, “Customers are clamoring for the mobile experience, the web experience, and ordering from wherever they are.”
In the year ahead, vendors are planning to streamline integrations and add functionality that helps restaurants boost their existing workforce’s efficiency.
Hoteliers have similar tech items on their to-do lists. HT’s 2023 Lodging Technology Study (to be published in January 2023), reveals mobility & self-service as top objectives in the year ahead. Hospitality customers expect a measure of empowerment, in the form of mobile and self-service technologies. As a result, hoteliers have accelerated their rates of adoption of customer-empowering tech such as mobile reservations, mobile check-in/out, mobile room key, and check-in/out via kiosk.
For a broad overlook of trends that will be impacting the hospitality business in 2023 and beyond, HT queried several suppliers to find out their thoughts on what developments are shaping up to affect change in the marketplace. Here are their responses:
Metaverse to Go Mainstream
The metaverse might one day grab the spotlight, but just one-fifth of shoppers have interacted with a retailer there. According to Deloitte, “although a handful of consumers are fully immersed in the metaverse and some companies choose to engage heavily, a truly new economy isn’t born.
“However, of those who have shopped in the metaverse, 75% of them would interact more with SMBs if they had a virtual presence in the metaverse. Consider, too, how other now table stakes tech was once a ‘someday’ – BOPIS, tap-to-pay and other forms of interaction with retailers didn’t truly take off until a couple of years ago.
“So, while the metaverse isn’t prevalent among Main Street quite yet, it someday likely will be. SMB owners would be wise to keeping their infrastructure, operations and online presence prepared for the challenge.”
Brands to Prioritize Data Transparency
“Consumer concern around data transparency will continue to be a priority for brands that can no longer afford to ignore the issue. Consequently, we’ll see an increase in smart device and IoT manufacturers turning to embedded edge processing to keep more interactions on the device – and private. Additionally, in voice technology we'll see brands and manufacturers moving towards fully-owned voice AI solutions that allow them to take control of consumer data so they can communicate transparently rather than leaving its handling to Big Tech players.”
– James Hom, Chief Product Officer, SoundHound
Loyalty Gets Personal
“The evolution of loyalty will continue to unfold as platforms like the metaverse gain popularity. Cultivating an authentic relationship demands an emotional connection that goes beyond transactional rewards. The objective for restaurants is to create more engagement and stay top of mind with customers, including when they’re not hungry. We’ll see companies move away from points and promotions, and toward more impactful moments for customers such as experiential dining and exclusive offerings. Gamification will play a larger role in driving brand loyalty. Loyalty will focus less on discounts and more on deepening the brand-customer relationship and creating positive brand associations, separate from deals and dollar figures.”
– Chris Adams, VP of Strategy, Oracle Food and Beverage
Consumer Demands For Personalization
“One big consumer trend will be this concept of ‘What experience do I want? And how do I plan for it?’ On the weekends, for example, consumers will have to adapt and plan ahead because the days of ad hoc full-service eating are going out the window unless you're going to a place that doesn't take reservations and you want to wait. I also think the eat-on-the-fly culture is here to stay, too. At other times, consumers are thinking, ‘What's the fastest way we can get food? And what's going to satisfy our appetite right now?’
“Restaurants are going to have an interesting set of choices, probably in the back half of 2023. One of those choices will be around pricing: ‘Do I maintain the high prices that I've increased? And keep them there if inflation starts to tail off?’ I think we're at the breaking point on raising prices. It will be a question of, ‘Can I hold it? Or should I lower it?’ This may force restaurants to look at their menu mix and most profitable menu items and test and learn. ‘Should we keep that price and see if it holds? Or should we lower it or throw more promos into the mix?’”
– Chris Comparato, CEO at Toast
AI on the Rise
“QSRs will capitalize on the advancements in AI and data analytics to start generating more insights from security camera video streams to improve the drive-thru experience… We are seeing labor shortages and commodity price increases as catalysts for restaurants to accelerate the adoption of an advanced array of new technology solutions spanning physical security and business intelligence.”
– Brian Garavuso, CTO at Interface Systems
QSRs' Continued Focus on Self-Service & Automation
“Across the industry, brands will increasingly look to technology to automate business operations. Technology like AI-powered voice will optimize phone orders and the drive-thru experience, while self-service kiosks will help take pressure off staff and offer customers additional customization options and flexibility during the visual ordering experience. The concept of self-service will continue to evolve as consumers become accustomed to placing orders with devices. For example, self-service technology could soon be integrated within in-car digital assistants, letting individuals place a room service order at their designated hotel long before they arrive. Regardless of where self-service kiosks are installed, they will provide restaurants with immediate and future advantages.”
– Chris Adams, VP of Strategy, Oracle Food and Beverage
Voice Tech On the Rise
“Next year, voice technology will take a big step forward, with dynamic new interfaces that enable truly conversational two-way exchanges with users. In the same way the iPhone’s touch screen revolutionized smartphones, next-generation voice interactions will be real-time and full duplex, and therefore more natural and effortless – after all, voice is the original and most human way of communicating.”
– Keyvan Mohajer, CEO, SoundHound
Which trends do you see impacting hotels, restaurants and casinos technologies in the year ahead? Let us know! Engage with HT on LinkedIn.