25 April 2018 | Andrew Sanders
QA Automation: The Road to More Efficient Deployment
The hospitality industry is leveraging automation, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotics to streamline hotel operations and improve the customer experience. From guest messaging to mobile-driven check-in, check-out, and key cards, automated services are dramatically altering the hospitality industry.
However, as much as hotel operations have already changed, we're merely at the beginning. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates that 25% of jobs in the accommodations sector will be automated by the early 2030s, while McKinsey & Company predicts that an astounding 73% of the activities performed by hotel staff carry the potential for automation in the not-too-distant future. And it's truly challenging to know with any reasonable level of certainty just how far these technologies will go, with many experts believing that these studies greatly underestimate how rapidly AI and automation will transform the hospitality industry.
The majority of hotels have already automated or are in the process of automating many repetitive tasks, with virtually every aspect of the industry susceptible to this change, including front of house, back of house, and administration.
While essentially everyone agrees that the adoption of new technologies is critical for a hotel brand's success, how can these tools be deployed efficiently and effectively to achieve seamless integration and ensure customer satisfaction?
The primary key to rolling out new technologies successfully is retaining focus on quality assurance (QA). While automated services can offer wonderful advantages to guests, hoteliers must do everything possible to guarantee that these technologies work reliably. There's nothing worse than being excited to use a new, time-saving tool only to find out that the system is down. To leverage new technologies to their full advantage, quality assurance is imperative. It's therefore critical to conduct comprehensive tests before releasing new technologies to your guests, as the first impression of a service is impossible to change if significant problems occur once the system is made available to customers.
Although QA automation requires a significant up-front investment, the long-term benefits are monumental, including saving massive amounts of time and money while greatly accelerating speed-to-market. Experts agree that coupling QA automation with agile development is the key to success. While manual QA requires an increasing number of people and time as a project gets bigger, automation makes the process almost instantaneous.
"One customer had been using ten people to conduct their regression testing," explained Andrew Sanders, VP of Travel & Hospitality for North America at DataArt and a veteran of developing enterprise hospitality technology solutions. "Once they shifted to QA automation, this process was completed overnight, which was one of the key elements that allowed this company to accelerate from a 6-month release cycle to a 3-week turnaround time."
Today's hotels would have been unrecognizable a decade ago. Tech-driven services and tools, such as chatbots, virtual reality tours of properties and amenities, connected devices, and data analytics have created a highly personalized experience for guests. At the same time, it's essential that development teams provide consistent functionality of these systems while applying advanced security measures to ensure that the expansive amount of sensitive data is protected at all times.
There's no question that the hospitality industry is centered around creating an ideal experience for guests. The hotel sector carries incredible potential for leveraging technology and automation to streamline business operations while increasing personalization and convenience for customers. Once quality assurance has been secured, hotel brands can get noticed by offering exciting tech-driven services that bring in new consumers while greatly improving the experience for returning guests.