Hotels, Restaurants Slowly Recognizing Consumer Interest in Self-Service

| August 10, 2008

The findings of Hospitality Technology's fourth annual "Hospitality Industry Self Service Technology Study" show a continuing public interest in using self-service technology in the hospitality industry. Hospitality operators remain slow to adopt the growing technology, though this tide may be slowly changing, especially since self-services devises are shown to offset some of hospitality operators' chief business concerns.

Most of this year's lodging and restaurant respondents (68%) cite the economy as the major business concern for 2008. Staying technologically up-to-date becomes less critical in the short term due to the current economic climate. Experts, however, note that as labor costs rise and the labor pool shrinks, self-service can enable hospitality operators to save money by reallocating these scarce resources while also improving customer service.

The study collected data on consumer opinions of hospitality self-service. Consumers indicate that the top reasons they like using kiosks in restaurants are for shorter lines, faster service and improved accuracy; on the hotel side, guests add privacy to this list. The study further asks consumers to identify how many times they've walked out of a QSR during the past 12 months due to long lines. The majority, 54%, report having walked out one or more times, and just 42% report never having walked out due to long lines. In addition, 62% of respondents are either very or somewhat likely to use a hotel check-in kiosk, and 63% are very or somewhat likely to use a QSR food-ordering kiosk.

"These findings support what we've known for several years. Consumers are more ready to use kiosks than operators are to install them," says Hospitality Technology editor Abigail A. Lorden. "There are indications that the trend is changing, however, as more operators become aware of the growing public interest in kiosks." This year's study asked operators: Does knowledge of the disconnect that exists between consumer readiness to use kiosks and operator readiness to install kiosks affect your interest in installing such a technology? More than two thirds (39%) of respondents indicate that they would consider installing kiosks in light of this information.

To view the full 2008 Hospitality Industry Self Service Technology Study, visit www.htmagazine.com.

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