The integration of touch-screen technology in many hospitality areas is creating an impact of a different kind on hospitality design and hospitality management. No doubt, this drive to streamline the visitor experience by removing friction and eliminating human interaction is not entirely new. However, Covid-19 has sharpened focus on contactless technology and accelerated adoption across all hospitality types and categories, particularly across the front office staff. This focus on improving the guest experience has translated into an increased focus on service design specifically in the front office staff where service design is becoming more of a discipline in itself.

How can this impact be seen?

The most obvious is in the industry lexicon: service design. Today, the term covers a range of disciplines including hospitality design and planning, industrial design, interior environments, hospitality marketing, advertising sales and service, and even HR practices. In other words, the discipline encompasses the entire gamut of interaction design, from product design and research through to training and assessments – all driven by the need to improve service quality at every level of the supply chain.

What are the key areas where improvements in this area can drive customer reviews?

The first part of this exercise involves a simple case study: the use of barcode scanning for identification purposes at a London hotel. Barcode technology can identify all the amenities and services within a hotel room, including the digital signage that usually appears in the room. Such a system would allow customers to look up what they want and identify which services they require, as well as how much each service costs.

The second key area is more directly related to customer experience; it deals with the integration of digital technology into hospitality. A report published in 2021, For The Hospitality Industry, put forward recommendations to improve the hospitality industry’s digital transformation. According to this report, the current focus should be to support customer interactions with the brand and enhance digital opportunities to improve customer satisfaction.