2009 was a challenge for all businesses and even profitable operators took massive cost out of their businesses. A lot of these cost reductions were 'one shot deals' and can’t be repeated in 2010, so the only way to grow the business and introduce performance improvements is through new technology.
Before the credit crunch new technology didn’t need the strongest of business cases to get budget, but now any new initiatives need to show massive business benefits and substantial improvements in business processes.
Mobile telephone ownership in the UK is amongst the highest in the world. Smart Phones that include Bluetooth, 3G, Wi-Fi and Edge are fast becoming standard for most users. These key technologies will change the hospitality experience dramatically. Restaurant reviews, booking your hotel room and getting directions will all be done soon via handsets.
Text messaging has also become second nature to many; we can expect to see a dramatic increase in the use of SMS-based sales promotion vouchers that can be redeemed at the PoS.
The cost of traditional EPoS is high and once installed it's permanent so it can’t easily be moved. Mobile PoS will start to make massive in-roads into the hospitality sector as many operators have now moved or are moving to web based hosted EPoS solutions, so it is a simple process to add Mobile PoS devices to existing infrastructure. The hand held devices have tumbled in price and wireless networks have become the norm in most hospitality outlets making Mobile PoS a good move for most operators.
Advantages of mobile
The advantages are obvious: A PoS that can be carried around by a member of staff and used in outside bars, restaurants and function room’s offers much better value to an operator than a tethered terminal.
By utilising mobile PoS you can take orders at the point of ordering, reducing the need for paper ordering systems. Staff time and mistakes are reduced as you don’t have to key paper orders into the main PoS and can be taken away from the normal point of sale - increasing potential to up sell at tables and improve efficiency.
As mobile PoS devices have debit and credit card readers built in, payment can be taken at tables or wherever the customer is, no more going to get the “PDQ machine” or taking the customer's card away.
If we ever make the step to a cashless society the traditional POS will be replaced by Mobile PoS even if it’s never moved, think how easy it would be to add extra terminals, move terminals to another location for a big event or replace faulty hardware.
Andrew Evans is managing director of Keystep, a specialist provider of EPoS support services to the hospitality industry.
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