Gastronomy and the hotel industry are positioning themselves digitally for the future / Experts invite you to an open discussion at INTERGASTRA
Digitization already influences all areas of the hospitality industry. The further development is rapid and Corona has even increased the pace. Strict hygiene regulations, state requirements, contact restrictions and unsettled guests did the rest for this. Solutions had to be developed quickly with which operations could continue taking into account the new regulations. Anyone who had not already digitized a large part has now tried to change.
Hotelier Carsten Hünerbein shows why digitization is particularly worthwhile for small to medium-sized companies. | Photo credits: Landesmesse Stuttgart GmbH
Especially for smaller, owner-managed companies, the digitization of their processes is easier and faster to implement, because the decision-making processes are usually short and the effort less extensive. Ralf Hauschild deals intensively with the topic especially for the hotel industry and gastronomy. At INTERGASTRA, he informs about the significant advantages for employees and guests as part of the Food & Concept Court and advises on possible procedures.
The first step towards digitizing operations is to question the actual processes. To what extent is it expedient to digitize individual processes or entire areas? Is it already stuck somewhere if necessary and are entrenched errors only continued digitally? It is worth taking a self-critical approach to the analysis of business processes, emphasizes Hauschild.
Step by step into the future
Carsten Hünerbein runs the Posthotel Hünerbein in Osnabrück and has been modernizing its operations little by little since its opening. Via an electronic locking system, which should also be conveniently operated via smartphone in the future, guests come to the building at any time of day or night with the help of a code. The so-called guest journey can accompany digitally from the time of booking. Suggestions for activities on site, preferably filtered according to individual interests, come to the mobile phone via push message. Shortly before the planned arrival, an e-mail reminds you of everything you need to think about – from luggage to the required travel documents, which are of course digitally visible at any time. This is how the establishment of an intensive relationship between guest and host works today – effectively automated and yet personal.
In the Hotel Hünerbein, all areas have now been largely digitized. Instead of bound guest folders, guests will find fully equipped tablets in their room. Not only can you read all information about the hotel and tourist offers, but also control the smart TV. In addition, over 500 newspapers and magazines are available to guests via appropriate software on the device. This simply fits better with the lifestyle of our guests, mainly business travelers who want to read the news mobile over coffee in the morning, explains Hünerbein. Its guests can also check the occupancy of the wellness and fitness areas, book a rental car or organize their sightseeing program via the tablet from the room. The contact to the reception with the help of the tablets as well as a convenient rebooking for another night are also possible.
In addition, the hotel’s restaurant also presents itself digitally. The daily menu can be viewed online and via tablet as well as still available seats. A table reservation requires only a few clicks. At the table, the service takes the order via smartphone. These are networked with the POS system and report what you want directly to the kitchen, which can read on monitors what to do. The cash register also takes over the administration in the background, feeds the restaurant menu in various portals, organizes personnel planning and prepares necessary documents for the tax office fully automatically. Thus, the company’s own evaluation is always available in real time.
The climate regulates the software
Even the climate regulates the software in the Posthotel. All rooms are equipped with thermostats. For example, if the devices register an open window for a long time or that unnecessarily heating is carried out if a room is not occupied, the system automatically reacts to the circumstances and drives up or down. In view of rapidly rising energy costs, a worthwhile investment.
Employees also benefit from an increasing digitization of processes. This way, the house keeping team will be informed by push message if a guest checks out early or the room is desired to be cleaned again. In addition, an app simplifies communication among colleagues. They can view the roster at any time, record their working hours via personal access and even retrieve current payrolls. Even the accounting runs completely paperless in the Posthotel. The data and hotel documents are securely stored in a cloud, so that they can be viewed from anywhere at any time and quickly available. An absolute increase in quality!” Hünerbein is pleased.
Smart Kitchen thanks to systematic networking
The topic is also gaining in importance in the kitchen. Smart kitchen appliances are able to coordinate production steps without wasting time. Carsten Hünerbein, for example, relies on an intelligent dishwasher that transmits error messages via the hotel software directly by e-mail. The cold stores are also networked, the temperature control works automatically and colleagues from the kitchen can retrieve the data on a daily basis.
Thanks to networked kitchen technology and intelligent apps, reservation systems can be easily controlled, merchandise management and quality management are child’s play and HACCP-compliant work is easy and transparent for everyone to implement. In the future, the systems will also have reliable forecasting tools that calculate utilization and personnel requirements, calculate the required use of goods and create optimized recipe suggestions, Ralf Hauschild knows. Especially in times when the shortage of personnel is getting worse and worse, digitization can be a solution. Today, this is more important than ever for operations, emphasizes Hünerbein. In his opinion, this is simply standard and those who do not go along are not fit for the future in the long term. “Fing in there and dealing with the numerous possibilities is a lot of work, but the effort is worth it.” Once one project is completed, the next follows. Not everything always works smoothly right away, but Hünerbein stays on the ball.