New data capture solutions are revolutionizing the hospitality industry. Handheld point-of-sale (POS) devices are improving operating efficiency and customer service for restaurants and hotels, and data capture systems are providing better business intelligence to improve customer satisfaction and streamline operations.
Perhaps the biggest revolution in data capture solutions for hospitality is in mobile POS systems. According to Hospitality Technology’s annual POS Software Trends report, 69.6 percent of restaurant owners are adding mobile POS and 62.5 percent are looking at new payment options such as using an e-wallet on your smartphone. Other factors driving POS sales include learning more about customers to deliver personalized promotions (46.4 percent) and providing tighter integration with e-commerce channels (44.6 percent).
This spells new sales opportunities for data capture solutions in hospitality. Here are three use cases to consider as part of your sales pitch:
1. More Tableside Transactions
Wireless devices aren’t new to the industry. Restaurants have been using handheld devices to enter orders at the table and relay them to the kitchen. Now restaurants are taking wireless one step further by handling credit card transactions at tableside.
New POS software support off-the-shelf tablet computers and smartphones to both place orders and accept payments from customers. The transaction data is captured by the restaurant’s network to not only handle the transaction, but capture important customer data that can be used for business analytics and customer loyalty programs, such as email addresses used to send electronic receipts.
New data capture solutions are being offered both as enterprise software to extend the existing infrastructure, and as hosted solutions that store transaction data securely in the cloud. The advantage of cloud-based POS solutions is the low cost of entry, since most solutions load onto consumer hardware. Cloud-based data capture platforms also are expandable; using a pay-as-you-go model so there is little upfront cost.
2. More Self-Service Options
Just as consumers are doing more shopping online, they are looking for self-service options from the hospitality industry. In addition to using online services to book reservations, hospitality providers are looking to integrate online services using on-site data capture solutions. Restaurants can match online profile data with self-service reservation check-in and match preferences regarding seating and service as part of the self-service experience. Hotels are increasingly using self-service check-in and check-out to provide greater convenience to customers.
As part of self-service, hospitality providers get to learn more about their patrons. Customers typically maintain their own online profiles, including preferences and payment options, so they actually get more personalized service; an ideal approach to extending customer loyalty programs.
3. Better Business Intelligence
Hotels and restaurants gather a lot of intelligence about customers – what they order, what they watch on the hotel TV system, length of stay, entrée preferences, and much more. Assimilating and analyzing this data can improve service and operations.
Using insight gathered through data capture solutions, hotels and restaurants can develop a customer profile. They can assess past behavior, integrate third-party data, such as whether they booked through TripAdvisor or OpenTable, and identify ways to improve operations and customer appeal. They can even use the data to build personalized loyalty profiles.
These are just three use cases for data capture solutions for the hospitality industry. And data capture just the beginning. Hospitality customers also will need integration with CRP and ERP systems, wireless technology, cloud resources, and more, and by selling data capture solutions, you are in the ideal position to help them to the next stage of integration.