Especially new, digital solutions are changing the out-of-home market. Which developments have and will influence the hotel and gastronomy industry in the next few years - also with regard to the corona pandemic and the associated “new normal”? What are the top topics?
The corona crisis acted like a catalyst on digitalization for everyone. We can assume that the guests are almost 100 percent digitized. E-commerce, the use of apps, video conferences, etc. - none of this has been new territory since the lockdown at the latest. The most important fact is therefore that the wishes and needs of guest and restaurateur are brought into harmony. The services in the gastronomy have to become more digital, modern and networked in order to meet the needs of guests: cashless payment, digital menus to self-ordering options for convenient ordering and paying via your own smartphone. But process optimization through digitalization is also popular in the back office. Digital personnel planning is just a keyword and very important for restaurant operators is the large database that can be accessed using digital tools and on the base of which business decisions can be derived.
The digitalization of the order and payment process in particular has increased during the pandemic. Why?
For more than a year, the focus was on reducing touch points or contagion, and restaurateurs had to be guided by that. Digital tools that allow guests to order and pay easily have made this a reality. For example, guests can view the menu on their own smartphones in advance of their visit to the restaurant or on site and order directly online. This service not only enables restaurateurs to plan capacity without stress, but also reduces contact points. Payment can also be offered via PayPal, debit or credit card, and at the same time creates more flexibility on the part of the guests.
Which digital trends will persist and which will continue developing?
Not only in times of the Corona crisis, but also in the future, it is impossible to imagine the hospitality industry without digitalization. Delivery and takeaway services are already established as sustainable tools in the industry. Many businesses have discovered the new opportunities for themselves and will continue to use the services as an additional source of revenue in the future to compensate for possible revenue losses due to reduced capacities. It is also clear that areas such as delivery can combine overlapping key topics: For example, orders for delivery or pickup can be placed from anywhere, paid for from anywhere, without any paperwork.
The future of the industry is digital. Even before the crisis, it was apparent that digitalization was an important part of the restaurant and hotel industry. The current situation has made this even clearer. Nevertheless, it is becoming clear that networked solutions are viable for the future, as they significantly simplify the complexity of the entire operational processes for restaurateurs compared to stand-alone solutions.
Another step in the medium term will certainly be the use of artificial intelligence (AI) - a self-learning system that can provide data-based recommendations for action in practice. We want to help shape the future of the industry and accompany restaurateurs and hoteliers in their digital transformation.
What are you hoping for from INTERNORGA 2022?
INTERNORGA thrives on encounters, exchange, networking, and thinking ahead. With the motto "Back to the Future," we feel totally caught up, and see digitalization as a key driver for this. That's why we think it's more important that all the players come together in Hall A2 in the future. I am firmly convinced that the trade show will celebrate its return to presence with an even greater radiance.