The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world functions. As social distancing becomes the new norm, it is shaking up consumer and business behavior worldwide.
The travel and hospitality industry has been among the most affected. The social distancing norms that came into effect are leading businesses to improvise new ways of doing business. In fact, businesses that were visionary and had already initiated digital transformation initiatives are able to build on those and quickly respond to the market requirement.
A case in point is EIH Limited, which operates hotels and cruisers in five countries under the luxury ‘Oberoi’ and five-star ‘Trident’ brands. From mid-2019 to early 2020 before the pandemic struck, the hotel chain had undertaken initiative around introducing paperless check-in and billing processes for its guest-facing operations in all its domestic hotels. This provided the company the foundation to enable contactless operations in the value chain for guest safety when the pandemic hit.
According to Rajesh Chopra, SVP – IT, EIH Limited – The Oberoi Hotels and Resorts, during phase 1, which was pre-pandemic it had ensured that all restaurant food bills are presented to the guests on tablets and automatically transferred to their room folio on a digital signing. At check-out time, the digital invoice is presented to the guests along with a payment link for making digital payments. And, lastly, a detailed invoice is sent to the guest through a mail for records’ sake.
Post-pandemic, the company has now taken all these initiatives to the next level through contactless check-in with the use of QR codes. This allows all of the above activities to be done on the guest’s own device. The paper menus in restaurants and guest rooms have been replaced with QR code-based interactive menus.
The innovation around digitally-enabled contactless interactions not only takes into account safety and elevates the whole experience for the customer but also simplifies the process.
“Leveraging digital we have been able to ensure contactless guest experience, making it faster and more transparent. This has helped improve the confidence of our guests around safety and given them a comfort factor,” explains Chopra.
Here is a snapshot of the key benefits of the initiatives:
- Ensured both guest and employee safety
- Reduced check-in time
- Reduction in paper utilization, cutting down paper costs by over Rs.2 Crore per annum
- Improvement in guest experience
- One single view of guest
- Reduced carbon footprint
- Faster recovery of account receivables with the complete set of information
NOTE: Rajesh Chopra won the dynamicCIO Innovative Heroes 2020 Award for this innovation.