Traditionally, hospitality services have used technology to improve efficiency; however, it also has numerous benefits in value-adding to your customer service. Using technology to enhance your guest experience can give customers control and allow them to choose the situations where they prefer personal interaction.
Increasingly, travellers are expecting the same level of technology from hospitality services as they enjoy in their own homes. In this connected age, people have everything from fast Wi-Fi to remotely-controlled curtains. Many guests are left unimpressed when they have to pay for a more basic experience. The use of mobile apps, tablets and Smart TVs can streamline your hospitality operations and allow you to improve service offerings.
Worldwide, 42% of travellers used Smartphones to organise and book trips in 2015. Therefore, using appropriate apps is one of the best ways to integrate technology seamlessly into your guest experience. You can personalise each stage of your guest's stay, without being intrusive. Here are simple ways that Smartphones can change the way you approach hospitality.
Prior to arrival: You can confirm details with guests, provide information which may be relevant to their stay and check if there are any special requests.
Registration and Checkout: Using an app to check in and out alleviates the time-consuming problem of queues at the registration desk.
Digital keys: Guests can use their Smartphones to enter rooms, avoiding the frustration and expense of forgotten or lost keys.
Payments: Guests can pay for everything from room service to the spa.
An alternative to Smartphone apps is the installation of tablets in the reception area and rooms to promote convenience for guests. Guests should be able to access these in their native language. They can be used for self-check in and out as well as to:
provide information about menus or activities
digitally deliver newspapers
program wake-up calls
contact the valet
order room service
adjust room temperature and lighting
control in-room entertainment, including preferred language
check invoices and pay for services
Guests can be immediately won over by the personal touch that Smart TVs bring to a hotel room. Many guests prefer to watch programming that they have preloaded onto their own devices during their visit. Guests sharing a room may wish to watch a program together. Businesspeople may also want to share content with others during a hotel room meeting. By giving guests the capacity to sync their devices with a Smart TV, they have the comfort convenience of viewing programming on a larger screen. Once again, guests have a sense of control during their stay.
One of the major advantages of embracing technology to complement your face-to-face service is that you can easily collect and store data about your guests. This allows you to demonstrate that you pay attention to detail and care about your guests as individuals. By knowing information such as a guest’s preferred room temperature, items consumed from the minibar and favourite newspapers, you can provide an even better experience next time. Keeping guest information up-to-date is the secret to using technology to enrich your offerings.
The Human Touch
When introducing new technology to your facility, it is important to note that it should not be a replacement for staff. Instead, the use of technology should provide your staff with more time to truly interact with guests and meet their individual requirements. Over repeat visits, staff should be able to anticipate a guest's needs, thereby customising experiences and interactions. With discernment, using technology to enhance your guest experience can distinguish your facility from others in the same class and drive repeat business.