Consumers More Ready for Kiosks than Operators

| June 01, 2007

The third annual Self Service Technology Study, published by Hospitality Technology magazine, reveals that consumer interest is strong for self-service options in the hospitality industry, and suggests that many operators are not only behind the consumer interest curve, but are actually misinformed about consumer opinions.

The Consumer Attitudes Report, a portion of the annual study, shows an increase in public awareness of self-service technology and its ability to affect consumers' buying decisions. A full 61% of those surveyed said that they were very or somewhat likely to use a QSR or hotel kiosk if one were available.

Even more telling, however, are consumer responses with regard to kiosks in the foodservice sector. When asked how many times in the last year they had walked away from a quick-serve restaurant [QSR] due to long lines, 18% said at least once and 38% said more than once; of those who walked away more than once, 25% did so three times or more.

Consumers also identified faster service and shorter lines as the key benefits of QSR kiosks, followed by accuracy, greater control, and privacy.

This data flies in the face of operators who responded to both the Lodging Report and Restaurant Report portions of the study. Of those who have no plans to install a self-service / kiosk offering, respondents from both the lodging and the foodservice sector cite a lack of guest demand as the number one deterrent. In fact, in the lodging segment a lack of guest demand accounted for more than 60 percent of those respondents who do not have plans to install a self service offering. This is compared to the 44 percent of those in the restaurant segment who cited lack of guest demand as the number one deterrent.

The study's results suggest that operators who are citing a lack of guest demand in kiosk technology may want to reconsider these perspectives. Consumer adoption of such technology has been spurred higher due to the implementation of self-service in grocery check-out, and before that by check-in kiosks in airports. Hospitality operators who see the technology as playing no role in their environments should consider the consumer preference for having the option to avoid lines and take control over their service.

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