HMSHost Reimagines Airport Dining
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HMSHost Reimagines Airport Dining

Neil Thompson, Vice President, Digital, HMSHost
Neil Thompson, Vice President, Digital, HMSHost

Neil Thompson, Vice President, Digital, HMSHost

What makes dining in an airport different from dining in a more traditional restaurant setting? This is the question HMSHost asked when we began our journey to reimagine the airport dining experience.

A look across the service industry shows that over the last thirty years, most segments have digitized their processes to provide a much smoother guest experience. Let’s take banking as an example. Of the last 100 times you interacted with your bank, how many involved speaking with, or interacting with an actual person? For me, maybe one or two. Virtually, all my banking is done on my phone or computer and according to Forbes, more than 78 percent of Americans prefer to bank digitally. What about the airline industry? The actual in-flight experience has not changed significantly. There is still a person greeting you as you board, someone serving drinks and snacks, and two people in the cockpit flying the plane. Yet, everything around the actual flight experience has been digitized. From choosing the destination to booking flights and choosing a seat – all happens digitally.

However, restaurant dining has not significantly changed over time. You generally place your order with a person, and there is a team of chefs in the kitchen preparing your order. Given the need for speed in airports, how do we take a fresh look at digital innovation? It all starts with the needs of the guest.

 At HMSHost, we are reimagining the airport dining experience by using technology to meet the needs of the customer at the moment 

Let’s imagine a scenario. You are in the gate hold waiting for your flight and you receive a text from your airline saying your flight is delayed two hours. You venture into the concourse looking for a place to eat and grab a seat at an HMSHost bar. With time to kill, you open your laptop and get some work done or watch a game on the big-screen TV. You likely do not need technology to make this experience faster. Yet somewhere in that restaurant is someone anxious because they are in a rush and want to pay their bill. Or, someone who only has 20 minutes and is unsure they will finish their meal in time for boarding. This is the essence of what makes airport dining different from traditional dining – the needs of the customer are all different. Few other restaurants deal with this level of varied customer needs.

At HMSHost, we are reimagining the airport dining experience by using technology to meet the needs of the customer at the moment. With our self-checkout and smart coolers, you can grab a fresh sandwich or salad and a cold beverage and be on your way in seconds. With QR codes, you can control the pace of your entire dining experience using the order and pay technology, or just scan to pay your bill or add a second beer – no need to wait for the server. And of course, when you have two hours to kill and want a cold drink and a slower pace, we will always be able to provide that, as well.

In the always unpredictable and sometimes chaotic world of airport travel, HMSHost is making airport dining one less thing to think about. Our mission is to use digital technology to allow the guest to choose the pace of their experience.

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