Restaurant And Hospitality IT News For VARs — December 3, 2013
By Anna Rose Welch, associate editor
This week’s news includes technology trends in hotels, the trend toward “community” in loyalty programs, and the trend toward mobile in restaurants.
Hotel Technology Trends Of The Future
A Financial Express article explores technological enhancements entering the hospitality sector. For example, self-service concierge kiosks will enable customers to make restaurant reservations, book transportation, and purchase tickets to local cultural events. Business bars will provide business travelers with all the relevant technology they need, and mirror televisions can cater to these travelers’ busy schedules. The article also discusses faceless front desks, smart-phone room keys, digital concierges, and in-room sensors that can adjust climate settings, lighting, and entertainment devices.
“Community Loyalty” Trend Drives Loyalty Program Engagement
PSFK explores the options available for clients looking to explore game-based reward systems. Social CRM systems enhance the shopping experience by bringing an individual’s experience with a brand into a social community. PSFK labels this trend of tying rewards to participation in a wider brand community as “Community Loyalty.” Loyalty programs could stand to become more interactive, considering that point-based loyalty programs are seeing declining customer engagement and point redemption. The article also features a list of key questions your clients should consider when altering their existing loyalty programs.
Mobile Inevitable In Restaurant Industry, But Not Yet…
Hospitality Technology provides key highlights from the 2013 Restaurant Executive Summit panel “Prepping for Mobile Payments.” The panel covered everything from definitions of what a mobile payment in the industry would be, to PCI compliance, and POS integration. Execs expressed concerns about whether apps and mobile payment devices would maintain PCI compliance and discussed the need for a wireless network to carry these devices and transactions. Similarly, execs also expressed interest in seeing apps integrated directly with the POS rather than having an app operate as its own processor.
Business-Related Meal Spending Boosts Fine-, Casual-Dining
According to the Restaurant DemandTracker released by ConsumerEdge Insight, fine-dining and causal-dining experienced a boost in October because of an increase in business-related meal spending. The percentage of restaurant customers reimbursed by employers for meals was 11 percent, an increase from 9 percent in October 2012. This made up for a slight decrease in the number of meals eaten out — an average of 3.0 compared to 3.3 in October 2012. Average total spending increased to $55 dollars per week, $10 dollars more than the same period in 2012. Fine- dining restaurants are a popular place for business meals, considering 42 percent of business-meal customers visited a fine-dining restaurant once per week in October. Similarly, 53 percent of business diners visited a casual-dining facility once a week.
Restaurant And Hospitality IT Talking Points
According to QSR Magazine, the increasing usage of tablet POS systems is easing the restaurant into mobile, especially considering the growing integration between smartphones and tablets. One expert believes that the day will come when consumers can use their phones to find restaurants nearby and pick and choose a restaurant based on the rewards being offered.
Julie Jargon for The Wall Street Journal reports that the IRS plans to consider automatic gratuity as service charges. Not only will this increase costs for restaurants, but employees will begin seeing automatic gratuities added to paychecks as a wage. In response, many larger chains have begun eliminating automatic gratuity for larger parties in order to save costs.