News Feature | January 13, 2014

Restaurant And Hospitality IT News For VARs — January 13, 2014

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By Anna Rose Welch, Editor, Biosimilar Development
Follow Me On Twitter @AnnaRoseWelch

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In the news this weeks, analysts predict 2014 will see more tabletop tablets, more hotels taking a multichannel approach, and more hotel lobby “digital concierge” kiosks.

2014: The Year Of The Tabletop Tablet?

Fast Casual has compiled a list of trends that are expected to hit restaurants this year. Mintel spokesperson Julia Gallo-Torres expects that more restaurants will be looking to roll out in-store tabletop tablets and digital menu boards that offer nutritional information. Technomic’s Laura McGuire also believes tableside iPads, soda fountain taps that enable customers to create their own soft drinks, and RFID-card-controlled self-serve beer taps will increase in popularity.

Hotels Seek Technology To Boost Digital Marketing Initiatives

4 Hoteliers describes the top ten digital marketing strategies hotels should be aware of in order to continue growing through 2014. These strategies include combining marketing campaigns with real-time hotel inventory and pricing and investing in technology to recover reservations and convert browsers to buyers via the property’s website. Increasing SEM campaign management, budget, and campaign monitoring efforts, and using responsive designs and a CMS to enhance user experience across all screens will also be important investments.

Are Your Clients Ready For A Digital Concierge?

The Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch discusses how hotels (outside of the luxury segment) have begun cutting unprofitable amenities. Some of these amenities include eliminating in-room mini-bars, telephones, and on demand entertainment selections. Some hotels might even eliminate staff members for the sake of mobile/kiosk check-ins. One hotel consultant expects that concierges may soon go digital, offering customers a touch screen with weather reports, important news, and other tourist information. For luxury hotels, one expert says they could eliminate phones for smart TVs or tablets to ensure customers continue getting what they’re paying for.

Private Hotel And Motel Industry Sees Growth

Sageworks has released new data that shows privately held U.S. hotels and motels have seen three years of sales and profit growth. Hotels and motels have seen a higher average sales growth rate (8 percent) compared to other industries because of a rising interest in tourism and increased business travel. Profits for private hotels and motels have also increased by 33 percent on top of 30 percent growth in 2011 and 2012.

Technology: Not Just For Millennials

According to a new study from Radius Global Market Research, Millennials and Boomers are more alike than expected. Both generations are comfortable with online research, considering 90 percent of Millennials and 86 percent of Boomers routinely research products online. Social media is also a key way to reach the female Boomer customer, as this demographic along with Millennials use Facebook at a nearly identical 90 percent rate. Both groups will also be spending more on travel in 2014, and both groups prefer to make travel related purchases online.

Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette discusses the rising popularity of apps that eliminate the need for restaurant pagers. One app in particular, NoWait, originally from Pittsburg, PA, is preparing for a national launch. Apps like this are growing increasingly popular as they enable customers to check wait times and add their names to wait lists without even being inside the restaurant. These apps also help restaurants communicate with customers about table availability and manage floor plans and guests. Social media integration can also be a helpful tool through these apps to help increase brand engagement and customer awareness.

Nation’s Restaurant News has put together a list of 2014 restaurant predictions from restaurant executives. Those that will see the biggest success in the New Year are going to those restaurants that invest and innovate. Reaching out to customers across all touch points will be key as restaurants turn to social media and other methods to emphasize the brand’s story, culture, and communities. There are still mixed views among executives about the state of the restaurant industry. Some are still skeptical about how the new healthcare law, minimum wage debates, unemployment, and consumer confidence will affect the industry through 2014.

For more news and insights, visit BSMinfo’s Hospitalty Tech Center.