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The industry responded by moving services to where the roads moved, when it was possible during the interstate movement, as well as by implementing ergonomic changes to meet forever fickle consumer demands. (Goode, 2000, p. 10) Now, they have become innovators in SST on the internet, as they offer purchase and confirmation technologies at the click of a button to consumers that wish to do their own booking. Traditionally, bars, nightclubs, lounges, and taverns are the most longstanding entities of the service industry, and they have adapted and been innovators as well, providing SST that is both internal to the consumer experience and a convenience for the consumer, such as ATMs and high speed wireless internet, a location of SST that has grown foundationally as more and more people have become comfortable with internet and SST transactions on it. (Davis, Bagozzi & Warshaw, 1989, pp. 982-1001) Each entity, has changed with the demands of cultural change and even laws, especially in the case of prohibition in the U.S. To stay afloat businesses that served alcohol had to reinvent themselves to meet the demands of the new laws, to do so they created a market for other beverages and even helped create the beverages themselves. Root beer and Sarsaparilla are the prime examples but there are others, adapted from soda fountain creations to better meet the need of a beer or liquor crowd. (Gershman, 1990, p. 3) SST beverage technology has become almost universal in convenience locations, hotels, restaurants and other locations to meet the demand for faster service. While a customer waits for his or her food, he or she can reduce the workload on the service employee by vending his or her own beverage, or in the case of a hotel he or she can vend his or her needs so that he or she will not have to leave the establishment but can continue to spend money at the primary location. It also must be made clear that specific to many hospitality industries, primarily hotels personal service delivery still very much influences consumer satisfaction, and to some degree SST has improved the ability of some staff to provide additional personal services as they are freed up to do so by the task need reduction of SST offered services. (Beatson, Coote & Rudd, 2006, pp. 853-880) Some examples in a hotel would be the opportunity of the clerk to provide personal morning services due to the fact that the wake up call service has become self-driven technologies in many locations, either through automated phone systems, integrated television technology or even a simple alarm clock. Though most will still offer the service personally the need to do so is lessoned and one staff member is not tied up for hours making sure the wake up call services are met for each guest on a daily basis. Another example would be messaging services, which have gone from the front desk taking personal messages when the room phone is not answered and delivering a paper form of that message to the guest. Now the guest can see from the room phone that there are messages and listen to those messages at their own leisure. This frees up clerks to provide other personal services or job share for other tasks that need to be done.
Modern SST Trends in Hospitality
Though an analysis of future trends in the hospitality industry may seem like conjecture the ideas synthesized in this work are clearly grounded in a general understanding of the market trends as well as literature associated with market changes in the industry. It is likely that the hospitality industry will grow, and therefore prosper, and in so doing it will have to answer for market change as well as technology demands of consumers and industry. Some would have us believe that there is only a limited number of ways to make and serve a hamburger, rent a hotel room or host a special event, but this is simply not the case and slightly more than 100 years of hospitality industry innovation should prove just that.
The communications technology of the modern era has significantly impacted the hotel industry, as the industry embraces new and emerging technology systems to keep their businesses full and healthy, even innovating niche systems that are specifically used by them to grow guest numbers. (Boudreaux & Sloboda, 1999, p. 2) Even the international market of hotels can be accessed through innovative internet technology. The industry also accepts and demands innovative service technology, such as laundry facilities and innovative fibers to decrease the time it takes to flip a room as well as decrease the labor demands. SST technology, that replaces the demands on service employees. Where previously booking was a huge part of the task of a hotel clerk now that same clerk can simply log in, check the numbers and make sure the automated system has appropriately placed guests in rooms. All that is then left is for the guest to quickly stop by the front desk to pick up a key card. The Key card itself is an automated SST that provides greater security, as key card access is anonymous, the card does not have the room number on it and the magnetic code is changed at the close of every guest stay so the guest following can rest assure that the key the previous guest used will not open the door after the new guest has checked in. Gone are the days of near constant lock changing and key redistribution.
One of the greatest innovative technology examples in the hospitality industry is marketing. The technology of marketing has changed so much in the global environment and in the domestic market. The hospitality industry is an essential element in SST technological advances of marketing in absolutely every area of change. There is no question that many existing entities in the hospitality industry ride the wave of marketing change, by mimicking the successful ideas of others in the industry but it is also very true that some innovators in marketing technology are always present in the hospitality industry and constantly seek new ways to build awareness of the offerings of the industry, otherwise there would be no hint or lead to follow. In the hospitality industry the rapid way in which an industry watches and embraces market change can be the difference between losing ground or generating greater profitability. The hospitality industry must seek out innovation in technology in marketing, just to compete in the global market economy.
The common denominator in the hospitality industry is that there is a continual need for innovations in technology and SST in every corner of the industry, even when that means marketing through technology, traditional old-fashioned service, or improved personal services that would not be possible without SST job/task shifts. (Beatson, Coote & Rudd, 2006, pp. 853-880) Each industry leader, or hopeful must embrace technology to maintain a lead or build one, be it a niche in restaurant service, such as the growing coffee market or being the newest and brightest cutting edge club scene in Las Vegas, New York or even London. Within each industry is opportunity and necessity for SST advancement and marketing to match the expenditure and create a return on the technology investment.
Some disadvantages for the consumer and the firm in SST development and implementation might be the perception or real reduction of personal service in the industry. The firm loses in the sense that they tend to have fewer bookings when consumers might opt for alternative services due to lack of perceived personal touch. Yet, it must also be made clear that many of these issues are transitional, as firm implementation of alternative personal service and improved consumer comfort and awareness of SST ease of use and trustworthiness will alter the perception and reality of the service encounter and hopefully ultimately improve the reality of the experience and eventually improve booking rates. (Meuter, Ostrom, Roundtree, & Bitner, 2000) (Hilton & Hughes, 2008) (Chien-Hsin, Hsin-Yu & Sher, 2007) Davis, Bagozzi, & Warshaw, 1989)
Control of Service Quality in SST
In the food and beverage industry there are several technology themes that endure, innovative food product demands, streamline systems of service delivery and marketing and the incorporation of niche services when they are likely to increase in demand and value. Innovative food products have been a part of the food and beverage industry since its inception, restaurants need to meet changing consumer tastes in the best possible way and often with the lowest possible output to ensure profitability of items. (Greenberg & Graham, 2000, p. 42) SST and other delivery systems of innovative technology have been a mainstay of the industry, again since its inception. The historical demand of the system has been to…[continue]
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