It is said that technology doubles in speed every two years. This means that point-of-sale (POS) applications are also speeding up at a very rapid pace. Screens are streamlined and optimized for different venues and workflows. Offline capabilities have been introduced and enhanced to ensure optimum server performance even if the network fails. The introduction of hosted POS allows IT departments to relieve some system maintenance.
More optimized, efficient performance results in cost savings, and for many, efficiency can drive more revenue. Faster POS software and hardware combined with optimized workflows enables bartenders and cashiers to complete POS transactions faster. Faster means greater throughput and ultimately higher revenues.
Hotel and resort properties often have large service areas with obstacles or people to maneuver around. In these areas, servers take multiple orders—batch ordering—before entering the orders into the POS. This delays orders getting entered. Guests do see this and can be distracted by it.
As a guest, I love mobile POS and the server-runner workflow. The server is readily available, and after pleasantries and a couple of questions, I place my order. Depending on the property, I have seen the server enter my order immediately into a POS tablet he or she is carrying. I have also seen the server take a few steps away before pulling out the tablet to enter my order. Either way, I’m satisfied that my order hits the kitchen or bar within seconds. The server-runner workflow also ensures my hot food is delivered still hot, protecting food quality and meeting expectations.
Service changes in the last year or so includes the empowerment of front-line staff to bolster your brand and reputation. A critical shift happens across properties; where servers are no longer just order takers, they’ve become your powerful front-line brand ambassadors. POS mobility is freeing servers to take a little extra time to connect with each guest and make them feel more welcome.
I was meeting with a recently opened luxury boutique hotel. They shared a story about a server in bar. The server took the guests’ order, quickly entered the drinks into their mobile POS tablet, and then engaged in a conversation to better understand the guests’ impressions of the brand new hotel. Shortly, while the guests were still sharing their opinions, the runner came with their drinks. The guests were surprised about not only the speed of service, but also that the server had the time to connect with them.
Properties are deploying their mobile POS assets in even more creative, spontaneous ways, generating new sources of revenue and guest satisfaction.
Other hotel and resort properties abound with creative ideas now that they are longer limited by the location of their POS terminals. More expansive concessions near special events, providing service in under-served areas of their properties, convenience products, and food and beverage at less convenient, but high traffic locations.
As I’ve witnessed the changes over the last decade, the single constant is our focus on the guest and creating an increasingly more holistic guest experience. Combining loyalty and POS transaction history, servers are learning how often the guest has been at the property, what they ordered in the past, and possibly even the guest’s past reviews. Servers today have tools to suggest items based on past orders and their allergies or other preferences. Properties are able to personalize, creating richer, more lasting connections with guests, resulting in higher guest loyalty, guest ratings and greater revenue lift.
Technology is finally catching up to take guest satisfaction. There’s never been a better time to move to POS mobility.
Teri Howe is principal product manager at Agilysys.