In the hospitality industry, it’s often important for businesses to stay ahead of the curve to survive and thrive.
This can mean foreseeing upcoming challenges (although some surprises are inevitable) or finding new ways to edge ahead of the competition. Technology is moving closer to the core of running a successful venue, and with emerging tools and solutions reshaping the sector, the critical question arises: Are you keeping pace with the latest advancements and your competitors, or are you falling behind?
Running a successful bar, restaurant, or hotel today is much different than it used to be. Throughout the pandemic, venues swiftly adapted to a new landscape, emphasising contactless service and online orders. In today's challenging economy, optimising resources is crucial for businesses of all sizes. These trying times have rapidly accelerated the adoption and development of hospitality technology.
Which side of the fence are you on when it comes to embracing tech?
In ResDiary’s Beyond the Booking: Hospitality Tech Trends 2024 report, we surveyed various venues in the hospitality industry to understand their stance on adopting new technologies. Surprisingly, there is an almost even split between people who want the latest technology solutions and those who would rather wait and bide their time before investing in new tech.
Some are looking to solve their current problems and even gain an edge over their competitors with technology. They’re also more likely to always be on the lookout for the latest systems and advances - so, perhaps you could call them the ‘early birds’. Then, there are more cautious caterers who hesitate when it comes to committing to new technology either due to budgetary constraints (49%), lack of time for proper implementation (40%), or lack of knowledge around these technologies (35%).
Of course, caution is sometimes necessary, especially when finding the best technology for your venue’s specific needs. Evaluating the factors above, like budget, implementation, and ease of use, is wise, especially when you consider the costs of adopting the wrong system or fudging its implementation – both are traps early birds are more likely to fall into.
But, there is also a risk of cautiousness turning into complacency, which is where many hospitality businesses may fall behind others. Our survey found that more than half of hospitality operators may not have the solutions they need currently to run a successful business. While 20% know they don’t, 37% are unsure. A large number (57%) of this group prefer to wait before adopting a new system.
That is likely to leave a lot of ground to make up if they are trying to catch up with their competitors who have already equipped themselves with at least the essential systems they need to run. But there is still time to embrace technology to streamline your operations and maximise the value of every booking that walks through your door.
Turning to technology for sustainable growth
As venues transition into tech, early adoption of cutting-edge technology isn't just an option; it's necessary for sustained growth and profitability. This is shown by nearly 43% of hospitality venues already having all the software solutions they believe they need, and the 57% of venues who said they would be adopting more technology solutions in 2024.
So, how do you find a balance between keeping up with the latest tech without falling into the trap of implementing costly solutions that aren’t the right fit for your business?
Here are some questions to ask yourself when looking for software solutions or evaluating your current systems:
- Does it move the needle?
Everything in business must deliver a return on investment (ROI). Among our group of cautious caterers, 34% believe new technology won’t make a tangible difference to their operations.
- Is it workable?
54% say ease of use is the most important factor when choosing a new solution, just ahead of reliability (53%). It’s also worth considering whether it can integrate with other solutions (47%).
- Is it trustworthy?
Responsive customer support (44%), ease of implementation (35%), and transparent pricing (35%) scored highly as important factors when evaluating a system.
- Who to ask for advice?
It’s okay to ask around when researching new solutions. Our data shows venue operators are most likely to consult colleagues (52%), peers (49%) and online user reviews (46%), with 24% saying the view of peers was most important to them.
- Who needs it most?
Staff requirements were most important in driving our respondents to research new solutions (33%), followed by customers at 28% and competitors at 20%. This proves that there can be multiple stakeholders in your decision to adopt a new system or replace an existing one.
What are the most essential hospitality systems?
Regarding technology in use, booking and reservation systems, table management, and EPOS are widely considered the most vital. Many venue operators agree on this, with 95% of respondents describing booking and reservation software as important.
Given most venues can’t operate without an EPOS system, it was the next most crucial software solution, with 91% saying it was a priority. Table management software is the third most effective software, according to 86% of respondents. Payments are next, with 78% of operators agreeing that it is essential and analytics at 85%. The good news for ResDiary customers is that your booking system can cover all these basic functions!
Integration is also becoming a core consideration for many venue operators looking to streamline various operations (like capturing and processing bookings) and do more with their data. Take the pairing of table booking data from a reservation system, like ResDiary and EPOS. Suddenly, you could have greater visibility of spend data, diner preferences and booking frequency, which all empower venues to do more with less and make data-driven decisions that can help them grow over time.
So, it’s important to take stock of your current set-up, which systems you currently have, and if any are missing. This is especially important where those essential systems, table booking software, table management, and EPOS, are concerned.
Staying abreast of technological advancements is not just a choice but a business imperative. While more than two-thirds of hospitality venues are embracing technology to solve their current challenges and leap ahead of their competitors, more than half are still effectively sitting on their hands, citing a lack of time or resources to invest in it. The likelihood is that the gap between those who are embracing technology now and those who aren’t will continue to grow as tech moves closer to the core of every business.
If you plan to assess how technology can better help your business, remember to ask yourself those important questions listed above to make the right choice for your specific needs.
ResDiary is committed to helping your venue navigate these changes, ensuring you're always at the forefront of the hospitality industry's technological evolution. Embrace the power of innovation with ResDiary and embark on a transformative journey towards sustainable growth and success.