From the self-service kiosks at the entrance to the QR codes scattered on almost every sign, it’s hard to notice how COVID-19 has transformed a resort in Las Vegas.
Last year, the hospitality industry was forced to adapt to the changing demands of customers trying to avoid crowded queues and limit human interaction while providing that typical Las Vegas experience.
For hotels, resorts, and the industry as a whole, the new era of high-tech and low-touch brought about by pandemics could stay here.
“If people get used to the encounter between digital interactions and digital services, whether in supermarkets or hotels, that will become the norm,” said Mehmed Eldem, a professor of UNLV hospitality.
Self-service kiosks aren’t new, but they’re gaining in popularity throughout the Las Vegas resort industry, allowing guests to skip queues and crowds. On the casino side, corporate demand for cashless digital wallets and electronic table games has increased since the pandemic hit last year.
Many of the traditional guest experiences at the hotel are summarized on a 6-inch smartphone screen. A person’s smartphone is a check-in device and the key to the actual room. You can instantly view almost any restaurant menu via a QR code. And at more and more resorts, the virtual concierge is just a text message.
Many of these technologies began to gain popularity among consumers before the pandemic, but hospitality companies have historically been slow to keep up with these changes, Eldem said. Executives tend to avoid the high cost of new technology products and changing concerns about how long it will take to recover their investment, he said.
With the rapid increase in consumer demand for non-contact or low-touch technology in a pandemic, most of its economic factors have been removed from the equation.
“What the pandemic has done is to show that the value of technology products goes beyond cost savings and revenue generation. It’s a strategic tool for keeping your business alive and well,” Erdem said. Mr. says.
Prior to the pandemic, MGM Resorts International planned to roll out a mobile check-in app for guests in late 2020 or early 2021. The pandemic “certainly accelerated a variety of technical and digital strategies” for the company. Craig Martin, Vice President of Product Management at MGM, said:
According to Martin, this implementation was initially done as a health and safety response, but it also provided “a useful element that was very adopted by our customers last year.”
These changes definitely changed the guest experience, Martin added.
“This allows guests to streamline their interactions with MGM and make it easier to use at their fingertips over the phone, but in reality they can focus more on the Las Vegas experience,” he said.
Caesars debuted a self-service kiosk in 2015 and its virtual concierge service, Ivy, in 2018. Doner Jr., Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Caesars Palace and Cromwell.
“Guests are more tech-savvy and part of our daily lives, so we’re hiring more guests than ever before,” said O’Donnell. “Our guests are ready, willing and able to use them to experience the equipment they want.”
According to UNLV’s Erdem, the adoption of these technologies does not have to mean that consumers will lose their face-to-face experience altogether.
For example, contactless payment and ordering systems in restaurants also help waiters become more efficient, eliminating round-trip walks such as holding a check and executing a customer’s card.
The time saved allows employees to spend more time interacting with guests and personalizing their experiences.
“These technologies should not be considered a replacement for humans,” Erdem said.
Stowe Shoemaker, Dean of UNLV’s William F. Hara Hospitality College, said having the latest and greatest health and safety technology is likely to be an advertising tool for resorts.
He compared it to the hotel bedding changes that took place after Westin introduced and promoted the Heavenly Bed in the late 1990s, emphasizing the level of cleanliness and comfort.
“Now almost every hotel from Motel 6 to the Four Seasons has a really comfortable mattress,” said Shoemaker.
Some of these advances are currently being tested at UNLV’s Black Fire Innovation Hub. This is a “living lab” with a mock hotel room, casino floor and kitchen.
These include LG’s CLOi, an autonomous antibacterial robot that uses UV-C light to disinfect hotel rooms and sterilize the air, and an ultra-thin projection screen that can display a screen between sheets of plexiglass. TV included
According to Black Fire Innovation, the adoption of these new advances is rapid, especially in terms of health and safety, as it is unlikely that consumers will lose awareness and cleanliness of airborne pathogens. Focuses on. Secretary-General Robert Lippy.
“I think it’s an act of sticking to us even after the pandemic has subsided,” he said. “Our behavior is changing whether we accept it or not.”
Please contact Colton Lochhead ([email protected]). Follow @ColtonLochhead on Twitter.
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