What is Phygital Tech and how is it transforming the hospitality industry?
If I asked you about your latest experience with phygital technology, would you know what I’m talking about? Maybe not – and yet, phygital technology is extremely common in our world, even without an official buzzword. Phygital technology is the term coined to describe the marriage of two very different but equally important experiences: physical and digital. By blending the online and offline worlds into a single experience or offering, brands across all industries open up new opportunities for customer engagement while creating a more seamless user experience.
In fact, phygital experiences are not just on the horizon; they are already readily adopted by businesses and consumers across all industries. Think about the last time you walked into a McDonald’s or similar fast food chain: did they have digital kiosks available for self-service in combination with employees at the checkout? Have you ever used the Starbucks mobile app, which lets you order ahead or scan to shop and collect rewards once you’ve ordered at the counter? Have you recently done your shopping at a grocery store that allowed you to scan a QR code to validate your parking lot rather than paying at the traditional machine? The last time you were at the restaurant, did your server ask you to scan the QR code on the table to access the menu?
In many ways, phygital technology has already transformed the way we interact with retailers and service providers, and, unsurprisingly, it has begun its takeover of another industry: hospitality.
The rise of phygital technology
If there was any hesitation regarding phygital technology, the COVID-19 pandemic ruled it out. Google’s own research “shows that the pandemic has made people more flexible about whether they shop online or offline,” with 73% of people in their study saying they are channel independent, up from 65% before the pandemic. Additionally, a recent harvard business review noted item, “While e-commerce will continue to be a critical part of retail strategy, the future success of retailers will ultimately depend on creating a cohesive customer experience, both online and in-store. “ Finally, Euromonitor research indicates that 78% of all purchases will still be made in-store by 2024; however, 63% of buying opportunities start online
Now, more than ever, consumers across all industries seem to be craving a cross-channel experience, and hotel guests are no exception. A study found that sports fans were happy to spend $20 more on food and drink if they could spend half the time in line. In hotels, one might expect guests to be more likely to order a drink from the lobby bar or splurge for an upgrade if reception queues were reduced or eliminated by phygital technology. , like self check-in. The introduction of phygital technology is not a threat to the traditional in-person exchange of services; but instead, it’s about improving it and bridging the gap between high-quality service and convenient, frictionless service.
How is Phygital Tech transforming the hotel industry?
For the most part, hospitality has always been about human interaction. Whether “Make yourselves at home” has traditionally been a hotels mantra for guests, smiling faces and friendly, attentive service from staff have always defined great customer service. Guests want to feel recognized, welcomed and cared for when they enter a hotel that will represent their home away from home for the duration of their stay. That, even despite the continued evolution of our industry and the world in which it exists, has not changed; however, how this service is provided, has amended.
Hotels will always provide human-centric service, but this service can be enhanced by implementing phygital technology that helps mitigate (or remove) operational roadblocks. With the implementation of phygital tools such as mobile check-in and room upgrades, self-service kiosks, mobile room keys, mobile concierge services, AI-powered in-room assistants , etc., hotels are better placed to provide exceptional service. . Rather than having their staff defend guest interactions and basic operational tasks, hotels can leverage phygital technology to offload much of the operational pressure once placed on staff so they can focus more closely on the customer experience.
From a customer perspective, digital and in-person offerings allow customers to “choose your own adventure” and select the service delivery channel that best suits them. For some customers, it will be the speed and convenience offered by self-service tools, while other customers will prefer to interact directly with a member of staff. Not only that, but digital offerings provide hotels with the ability (and, more importantly, data) to personalize guest interactions and ensure that each touchpoint is better suited to them and their preferences/ needs. Phygital technology uses customer data to create information profiles for each customer, which can inform a more relevant customer experience (including more personalized offers or upsell rewards).
The future is phygital
Simply put, phygital experiences make it easier for hotels to offer guests what they really want: increased autonomy and excellent customer service combined with convenience and increased personalization. In fact, phygital technology isn’t just an opportunity to improve service – it’s an opportunity to generate additional revenue, and it’s an opportunity that is too often missed due to legacy processes and systems.
The guest experience doesn’t end with their decision to book or the moment they receive their room keys – now, more than ever, hotels need to consider all aspects of a guest’s journey. Everything a guest sees, touches, hears or tastes. At the same time, ownership will impact their experience, so how can hotels use technology in tandem with traditional pillars of hospitality to make every guest’s experience more engaging, satisfying, convenient and seamless? ?
If branding giants like Starbucks and Amazon have taught our industry anything, it should be this: automation is a powerful tool, and convenience and personalization are powerful enablers of customer satisfaction. So, hoteliers, now is the time to ask yourself: how could the automation provided by phygital technology benefit your guest experience? More importantly, what are you waiting for?
Trusted by over 1,300 independent hotels, luxury resorts and timeshare groups worldwide, Stayflexi is the industry’s first fully automated, all-in-one hotel management and automation platform.
Reshaping a legacy hotel technology landscape, the modern cloud-based solution provides integrated PMS, Guest Upsells, Channel Manager, Booking Engine and Revenue Management tools under single sign-on. Packed with powerful features to streamline and automate operations while increasing staff productivity and guest satisfaction, Stayflexi can help hotels maximize profitability. Self-service options such as self-service check-in/out, contactless POS, automatic room assignment and automatic inventory management can reduce operational costs by 50%, while the upsell engine can increase bookings by 30% while improving customer experience.
The company was founded by IT specialists from Carnegie Mellon and Cornell to solve their own problems as hosts and travelers and currently serves more than 23,000 rooms in 100 cities in 13 countries.
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