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Self-Service Tech Study Highlights Changing Industry Attitudes, New Applications

To better understand self-service technology trends industry-wide, each year Hospitality Technology asks its subscribers to share their thoughts and predictions with us. The findings of HT's 2009 Self-Service Technology Study are in, and the results point to a change in attitudes toward self-service installations and a plethora of next-generation solutions that harness personal devices.

In the 2008 study, both hotel and restaurant operators were reluctant to implement self-service solutions, citing a lack in customer demand despite the public's reported interest in using self-service technology. While there is still evidence of a gap between consumer desire for self-service and operators' willingness to provide solutions, the 2009 survey found that the gap is shrinking. What's more, while the economy may have slowed some technology adoptions, it may stand to bolster self-service. "We may find that the economic challenges many companies are facing will actually further the adoption of self-service, as companies look for ways to boost operational performance," says Abigail A. Lorden, editor-in-chief of Hospitality Technology.

While attitudes are changing, so is the nature of self-service itself. The next generation of self-service applications is focused less on kiosks and more on consumers' own  technology, particularly cell phones, PDAs and other handheld devices. Many operators are increasingly aware of, and open to, such next-generation applications as the use of Web-enabled phones for check-in (58% see potential use) and even food ordering via SMS/text message (36% see potential use).

On the lodging side, respondents exhibited greater interest in the operational efficiencies and cost savings benefits that are associated with self-service. Fifty-four percent either agree or strongly agree that self-service has the potential to reduce overhead/operating expenses in their organizations; and 61% agree/ strongly agree that it could be shown to reduce costs in their organizations.

Meanwhile in quick service restaurants, self-service technology has been slow to find acceptance with only 13% of respondents offering or planning to deploy kiosks in the next 12-18 months. However, QSR operators may find they need to deploy kiosks as a means to maintain or improve service speed.

Ckick here to download the full 2009 Self-Service Technology Study.
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