Digital transformation begins in hotel industry
Tourism experts say that technology has become essential in hotel operations.
Thanks to 4.0 technology that provides smart applications, guests staying at the SOJO hotel chain can book, open the door with a digital key, pull the curtain and send items with just a few touch buttons on the smartphones. In the room, they can adjust the sound, light system and room temperature or experience the unique color changing shower.
Hotel staff can flexibly take on positions from receptionist to bartender or local tour guide. All requests of guests will be answered quickly through just one touch on the phone.
Similarly, Alma resort (Khanh Hoa province) has put into use a contactless payment system through a smart bracelet. Instead of having to use cash or a payment card for each service use, customers can use an electronic bracelet to record all costs incurred in the resort.
After going to the supermarket, playing a game, checking in at the gym, using the spa, dining at a restaurant, customers can pay through this device. The system will automatically record information and costs for each service use, and guests only need to pay once upon checking out from the resort.
In the restaurant and hotel segment, from the habit of only selling food and serving customers directly, since the outbreak of the epidemic, 5-star hotels have begun to change their thinking and promote online sales through more digital platforms.
Mr. Nguyen Huu Nam Phuong, Sales and Marketing Director of Majetic Hotel, said the outbreak of the disease forces the hotel to change drastically to adapt to the epidemic. Accordingly, most hotels have to switch to applying digital technology in booking hotel rooms, food. In particular, the staff must also switch from on-site service to online and home service to maintain the development of the hotel.
A representative of Rex Hotel said that, to adapt to the epidemic, the hotel is working with an e-commerce trading floor specializing in cuisine to reach many customers on this platform.
Digital transformation challenge
Under the impact of the fourth Covid wave, hotel business was almost frozen. By the end of November 2021, the occupancy at 4–5-star hotels in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi was around 20%, down 72% and 80% compared to 2019, respectively.
According to the report, Covid-19 caused a loss of about 1 trillion USD for the global tourism industry in 2020. Tourism revenue in Vietnam dropped by more than 61% compared to 2019. The challenge caused by the pandemic forces the tourism industry to implement digital transformation solutions, and to form an intelligent tourism data exchange and integration system, thereby creating added value for tourism products and services.
Mr. Nguyen Ba Luan, General Director of the convenient hotel chain SOJO Hotels, said the hotel industry needs a drastic change and revolutionary solutions. In the context that global tourism is experiencing unprecedented fluctuations, a completely new operating model will pave the way for a breakthrough.
Tourism experts say that technology has become essential in hotel operations. Many hotels have applied contactless technology, from the check-in to check-out process, to controlling devices in the room to other complex AI application technologies. This technology not only makes customers feel convenient and safe, but also helps hotels improve operations.
The technology facilitates hybrid conferences that combine face-to-face and online meetings, which could impact future MICE business. Hotels need to constantly update new applications, and come up with flexible operating strategies to be able to better adapt to new business conditions.
Mr. Nguyen Le Phuc, Deputy General Director of Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, named challenges that must be solved in the coming time, such as: lack of consensus awareness of digital transformation, and lack of connections on the digital platform between stakeholders, between tourists and service-providing businesses.
Another challenge in digital transformation in tourism activities is the lack of resources for sustainable development of smart tourism ecosystem.
In addition, the difficulty of tourism digital transformation comes from the limited knowledge and skill of tourism staff. Legal regulations have not kept pace with the development of digital transformation.
Upscale hotels are facing enormous difficulties due to the recent Covid-19 pandemic. Their solutions to the dilemma have been very creative.
The gradual opening of international routes and the pilot opening of some tourist sites for foreign tourists are among important solutions in efforts to save the aviation, tourism, hotel and service industries.