How Mobile POS Can Help Hotels Optimize Use of Real Estate

4 July 2022

The use of mobile tablets as frontline POS devices has been a growing trend in the restaurant and retail sectors for a number of years now.

In food service, mobile POS provides a digital alternative to the traditional notepad and pen at the table. It means orders can be dialed in directly and sent to the kitchen display system, reducing mistakes. With POS in hand, waiting staff can benefit from automated prompts for upsell suggestions, and take payment there and then. No more waiting for the check.

In retail, mobile POS has similarly become popular as a service aid and queue-busting tool. It empowers clerks to take service to the customer, providing a powerful digital information resource. It also allows them to close sales without asking customers to wait in line at checkout, or step in when wait times get too long.

In comparison, use of mobile POS has been slow taking off in the hotel industry. The caveat here, of course, is that most large hotels also run restaurants and other dining concessions. POS tablets are an increasingly familiar sight in these places as they are across restaurants in general.

However, things appear to be changing. Post COVID-19, the hard-hit hotel sector is under huge pressure to find efficiency gains and maximize value in any way possible. Many hotels are running with a smaller staff than they did before the pandemic, such has been the exodus from the industry. That leaves them looking for ways to help fewer staff do more.

Technology has a key role to play. And mobile POS can be a major benefit.

Reaching out wherever guests are

Putting on-premise dining aside, there are other ways mobile can help hoteliers provide a slicker, more efficient service for guests. Take check-in, for example. We’ve all had that experience of turning up with a coach load of other guests and then having to wait patiently in the lobby for our turn to get our room keys as we go up to the reception desk a group at a time. Not the greatest way to start a stay anywhere.

Now imagine the same scenario when reception staff are armed with mobile tablets. Instead of guests waiting to go to the desk one by one, the front desk agents can move around the lobby checking people in. They can use device cameras to scan documents and booking confirmations, instantly authenticating each group. With that extra agility, wait times are slashed and guests get to their rooms much faster.

Efficient service is of course important for keeping guests happy and boosting those all-important review ratings. But that’s only likely to help hoteliers sustain revenues, when what they really could do with right now is help boosting revenues.

Now imagine the same scenario with a big group of guests all descending on reception to check in at the same time. Sure, there’s going to be a wait involved, even with a team of hyper-efficient agents armed with tablets. So what’s the next best thing to instant check-in?

Making guests feel comfortable as they wait. What if you could use the same tablets to order them drinks and snacks from the bar or kitchen? Suddenly it’s not such a big deal for them. And you have an early opportunity to make some extra sales.

This is also an example of how hotels can maximize use of their entire premises. Being able to only sell meals or drinks or spa treatments or excursion tickets at fixed points in the hotel limits sales opportunities.

A much more lucrative approach is to be able to catch guests wherever they are in the hotel and offer them whatever they want. Mobile POS makes that easy to achieve – again, it’s all about taking service to the guests.

Many larger hotels also have extensive assets in the forms of function rooms and outside grounds. Monetising these for non-guests as well as for guests will have a key role to play in the post-pandemic recovery. With mobile POS, it’s easy to set up pop-up bars and kitchens wherever you like, to coincide with events or as standalone concessions. Mobile gives you the flexibility to create sales opportunities throughout your premises.