It has long been said that Hospitality companies have lagged behind other industries in the investment made into technological advances.
Manufacturing has been seen to lead in this discipline with some impressive results. However, this is an area that we have embraced with equally telling results across our portfolio. Technology has become a central feature of our operating model across all parts of our business as we seek the best methods for engaging with our customers.
There is no denying the fact that technology today is a real game changer in terms of creating better processes for our teams to work smarter, allowing for more effective & accurate information flow and an enhanced service level being delivered to our customers. Across many leading venues in the UK, one will see that service levels, and transactions are increasing with a new marriage between system and employee that impacts positively on the customer experience.
As examples to illustrate the point:
- 85% of all transactions across the NEC, Resorts World Arena and Birmingham Arena are now made by contactless. In the first month of implementation, 80% of customers paid by card instead of cash. This has naturally shortened the transaction time and reduces the risk in the management of cash.
- Alongside our epos solution, our mobile ordering solution for events (Q Jacker), enables our customers to order and pay without leaving their seat and their food and drink is then delivered to them. For gaming events this technology has been particularly successful with over 1500 orders per day being processed. For our arena events, customers also have the option to order in advance to save time in the queue. This naturally creates a better customer experience and also a more relaxed customer knowing that everything is organised before they arrive which, in turns, breeds greater trust and often greater spend.
- With a fully integrated stock solution in place, our chefs are able to create recipes centrally that all our operational teams can access and use with ease to check ingredients, nutritional and allergen information. At the same time, we have complete control over our stock that allows us to have the right products in the right place at the right time at the right cost.
- For managing our vast workforce across all of the different venues from scheduling through to payroll, we use an automated employee scheduling, time and attendance solution (Reflexis) This solution saves 8000 hours per year in admin associated to managing these processes and allows our employees to digitally access their schedules and pay information. Reflexis ensures we have the right people in the right place to deliver the best experience for our customers.
These are all significant investments in technology and impact directly on our profitability in a positive way. We work in partnership with our technology suppliers so that we keep up to date with the latest innovation and can take advantage of what will work for us and our customers as early as possible.. Partnership is an important part of our approach and thinking we want partners that will support and challenge us to be better and deliver the best service possible. We also encourage our technology suppliers to work together to ensure we have a joined up ecosystem of solutions that are able to talk to each other, removing time wasting duplication of data entry and multiple reports telling a different story. Having the right information available at all levels of our operation ensures the right decisions can be made in a timely manner.
The world is changing at such speed and technology is leading that change. The expectations of our customers is constantly on the rise and standards they have accepted just five years ago are no longer seen to be acceptable in todays digital landscape. Customers are seeking exceptional experiences and this of course impacts on service. Operators are already working hard to meet expectations so it is natural that our eyes have turned towards finding answers in technology that can free up managers and employees to really focus on what matters most – our customer.
This is an exciting period of time that is seeing the benefit of technology and service be really brought together. Great service levels and great people will of course lead to be more transactions and greater profit, and our ultimate goal is create enhanced customer experiences using technology to engage and enable both our employees and our customers . We are not alone. Hospitality is catching up on others. We do understand the importance and we are coming up on the shoulders of those industries that maybe thought they were leading the race.