Cloud computing and the hospitality industry.
Hospitality and technology have a unique relationship. Technology has the means for hospitality to provide better services for its customers and aid the development of tourism. However many tourists on holiday choose to detach themselves from technology and the real-world yet still retain an expectation to receive quality services. Over the last decade, many companies have tried to include new technologies within tourism but few have success stories to their name. Often they are pilot projects which never made it to the finish line. This is arguably true for all but the hotel industry which has been largely receptive to the benefits of cloud computing. Hotels handle information on internal servers and record customer visits through booking and in house data systems. Migration to the ‘Cloud’ is rapidly changing this. Cloud systems decrease the cost of entry to hotels and provide an extended arm of computer power which makes the service unilaterally accessible and can be summarised through these primary benefits.
1. Reduces costs and resources – Cloud services are paid for based upon the amount of computing power and storage they need. Therefore businesses can adapt to a model that suits them with flexibility to quickly make changes as the business demands.
2. Faster services – Cloud systems can be deployed much faster which allows for the immediate service or upgrade of data storage. The cloud model is faster for downloading information and providing more effective services.
3. Stronger Security – Critical data is stored in cloud systems and by law, providers are obliged to provide high security levels. Data is also kept safe from physical damage and multiple back up’s can be made.
4. Accessible information – The cloud provider handles the technical skills required to use the system. This saves on training and the maintenance costs to organisations which are not tech savvy. Critical data is secured more effectively than a traditional piece of hardware.
Cloud services are faster and more efficient which improves customer service by decreasing waiting times and providing a more personalised service on arrival. However many companies have yet to realise the potential in using this data for a personalised service. Hotel staff could be aware of a customer preference for room, food and leisure activities before arrival and cater for their requirements in advance. Cloud also removes geographical barriers and extends services to anyone anywhere in the world. This is particularly important for customers which are on holiday abroad and want to connect with the travel agent at home who can utilize the cloud service to connect.
Hotels have an arguable weakness in staying connected with their customer’s post their visit to the hotel other than sending out mail shoots from email addresses. Cloud allows hotels the capacity to partner with travel agencies and provide practical applications of data sharing services. Booking appointments can be made swiftly through this process reducing manpower and administration tasks.
Aside from the hotel industry, another market in the hospitality sector is seeking to take advantage of cloud systems; these are summer camps and specifically camps which aims to enhance the educational experience for students learning a language abroad. Students which visit summer camps want the experience to be more than just a holiday and the cloud system allows them a greater extension of the experience.
If a student is joining or studying in a camp abroad they may wish to learn the language beforehand. Cloud systems provide the opportunity to share personalised learning programmes before, during and after the students stay. This can make a summer camp an extended experience. Cloud systems also allow teaching programmes to be shared and information to be seamlessly transferred and for students to articulate their preferred method of learning beforehand.
This type of transformation revitalises industries and innovates the way services are shared and delivered to customers. The hospitality industry is one sector which is rapidly evolving and will reap the benefits of cloud computing.