Hospitality and tourism, like other retail establishments, have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with thousands and more losing their primary livelihood.
Recently, I took a flight (after a long hiatus). And stayed at a hotel. Different establishments and airports offered different experiences. One had a thermal scanning followed by holding up the boarding pass for verification. The other had me take off the mask momentarily for identity verification. A hotel staff asked me to email them my ID while I was standing at the check-in counter.
Bottomline—identity checks are important. And frustrating.
Hospitality and tourism, like other retail establishments, have been deeply impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with thousands and more losing their primary livelihood. These sectors have been adversely affected due to their high-touch, high capital-expenditure and inventory-driven model. And the falling footfalls.
Across most companies, 2020 is the year, most employees did not avail their full quota of leaves. Reason—where will we go? Even so, it would be cavalier to say that people have lost their desire to be out and about.
In fact, they are exploring novel ways to do whatever can be done safely—ordering food (instead of dining out), video-conferencing (instead of physical meetings), online learning (instead of physical classrooms), digital banking (instead of branch banking), and so on. Offices have implemented rotas and safety measures to bring staff back to the workplace, in a staggered manner. There are surveys that discuss how people want to come back to the workplace, for instance.
All this makes us wonder if it is time that customer-onboarding and check-in processes evolved in these industries. Just as banks use Video based KYC identification (Video KYC) and video interactions for personal discussion (PD), perhaps customer-interaction heavy industries, like retail, hospitality, travel and food services, should adopt these too.
For instance, it would be easy to set up auto-check-in kiosks at airports that link identity and ticket information together to issue boarding passes—with provisions for agent assistance (over video) if required. The security apparatus can maintain a safe distance while keeping us safe.
Similarly, it could be quite easy for restaurant guests to interact with the chef or the server/waiter from a distance over an assisted video conversation (to complement the QR-based ordering menus that have popped up recently).
Hotels could also decentralize the check-in process through auto-identity verification (with booking reference number) and video-based assistance consoles for support during a stay.
Conducting such a video-driven digital transformation would impact the ecosystem along four key pillars:
- Personal experiences: It will allow us to return to a sense of normalcy faster. Videos help humanize a digital interaction that often seems impersonal.
- Cost-effectiveness: The centralized (video-driven) support model creates efficiencies that reduces the operational cost for these establishments, against the popular belief that modernization is expensive.
- Safety measures: It helps people stay safe in the current time and context, with or without the vaccines.
- Organizational efficiency: The organization of customer data will eventually lead to reduced data entry errors, better personalization, better business practices, and better customer strategies.
Video embedded experiences are a great reminder of what works for us as humanity. Deeply personal and empathetic experiences that can be human, while being designed in a digital first manner—with all the efficiencies of data-driven execution, and the warmth of “service with a smile” —are something that we all look forward to.
As one of the fastest evolving industries, hospitality and tourism should also ride the digital transformation wave, and start adopting “Video”—Video-based onboarding, Video KYC, Personal Discussion, Concierge Support, Assessment—as the normative model of customer engagement in a socially distanced world.
These industries thrive on creating amazing customer experiences, and video is one of the most potent tools available during the pandemic to reach out and create a-ha moments.
This is a website blog post. Read the original article here at: https://hospitality.economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/speaking-heads/hospitality-and-tourism-the-next-frontier-for-video-experiences/80005507
(Amit Das is the Founder and CEO of Think360.ai, the parent company that launched Kwik.ID)