Get ready for ‘digital experience’ at your next hotel stay: Suresh Nanda speaks on industry embracing tech

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Suresh Nanda

Luxury hotels across the nation have been ensuring the safety of guests by adopting technology. From digital menus to contactless dining, adhering to minimal contact is the new normal now.

Technological interventions have transformed businesses across the spectrum, digitisation and robotics, in particular, has brought immense change in the market. Amidst the most difficult phase of contemporary times — the COVID-19 pandemic, technology is proving to be a boon for the luxury hotel segment. Chairman of Claridges Group of Hotels, Suresh Nanda says, “People will have a completely different experience at their next luxury hotel stay, particularly the encounter with digitisation.”

The hotel industry across the world is one of the hardest-hit segments in the market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even after lockdown has ended, the occupancy rate especially in luxury hotels is pretty low. Higher operating costs and lower demand is making the recovery slower for the luxury markets. Despite the tough business conditions, high-end luxury hotels such as The Claridges, New Delhi are making guests stay safe by adhering to no contact from check-ins to check-outs. 

Technological interventions for a safe stay

While the intervention of technology amidst the pandemic is happening in an unprecedented manner across the businesses, it is altering the relationship between the hotels and the travellers. “Digitisation has brought a new era in hospitality. It is not only how the hotels serve, it is also about how the travellers perceive. As the coronavirus is here to stay, it will not be an exaggeration to state that robots will soon occupy important services in the premium hotels,” says Suresh Nanda.

He also added that the pandemic has changed the priorities of the people to health and hygiene, the people will only choose the brand they can trust. “The focus on health and hygiene in this era of new normal has forced the segment to prioritise changes at a much faster rate than it would have been in a normal situation. Our brand is committed to ensuring the safety of our guests and we have embraced all such changes including implementing technology that can maximise safety protocols.”

Moreover, tech-enabled contactless services such as self-check-in via codes that automatically assign guest rooms, touch-free buttons and switches controlled via mobile apps, gourmet food dispensers on a plate, and touch-free liquor dispensers via minibars are some of many new technologies that hotels have adopted to make the stay of guests safer while making it convenient.

Changes in operations

Earlier, while hotels were concerned about the physical safety post 26/11 focusing on erecting security checks at the entrances for guests and their luggage. Now, along with physical security, the hotels are installing a screening mechanism for health purposes. Remote thermometers and light sanitiser shower at the gates and planting hand sanitisers at different points such as elevators, lobbies, rooms, and restaurants are such few measures.

Suresh Nanda is former Lt. Commander of the Indian Navy. With over decades of experience in the hospitality industry, he is an eminent business person known for his generous CSR activities specifically to empower rural women.

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