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The State of Self-Service in 2011

The past few years have ushered in a radical shift in how hospitality has come to define and view self-service technology. No longer centered around kiosks, self-service has come to encompass a wide range of products, from mobile applications and iPads to guest service portals accessed by the in-room TV, that are putting even more control into consumers’ and operators’ hands.
Hospitality Technology’s “2011 Self-Service Technology Study” shows that consumers are not only willing to use self-service technology in both lodging and foodservice environments, but 55% of those surveyed would be more likely to visit a hotel that offers the option to check-in/out; likewise, 50% of consumers would be more likely to visit a QSR with a self-service option.
The acceptance of self-service in all forms is largely attributable to the boom in mobile technology. Mobile transactions in general, across all segments of commerce, are predicted to grow at a rate of two-to-three times their current levels over the next five years. These predictions are based on findings released by Juniper Research in the report “Mobile Payment Strategies,” and relate specifically to the use of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology for transactions such as mobile ticketing, NFC payments, and money transfers.
As consumer use grows, the HT study finds similar acceptance by hotel and restaurant operators; the majority now concede that self-service technologies have significant potential in their industries. Whether it’s checking into a hotel from a mobile website, with 72% of respondents to the HT study saying it has potential in 2011 (versus 49% last year), or placing a food order via text message, with 70% citing potential this year compared to 36% last year, acceptance is growing across the board.

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