Improving experiences through technology
As the hospitality sector continues to come under profit pressure, it’s reassuring to see hotels investing in technology to improve service delivery, enable efficient operations and optimise guest experiences.
Hospitality applications, which connect people, enable hotels to enrich their guests’ experience by providing them with access to a range of services, including pre-arrival and pre-check-in arrangements, concierge services, destination information and express check-out–all in the palm of their hand.
Through Apps, hoteliers can deliver best-in-class customer service, using unique mobile platforms that streamline hotel processes and seamlessly integrate with hotel CRM, PMS, CRS, PBX, as well as restaurant booking systems, spa systems and more. The best example is the check-in and check-out experience, which many hotel companies still struggle with, as it is often cumbersome and process-oriented because of legal requirements, local regulations and credit card authorisations.
Globally, however, check-in and check-out is recognised as one of the most critical guest satisfaction triggers, as it’s the first and last impression the guest has of a hotel. So, it’s no surprise that mobile technology is increasingly being used to enhance the check-in/check-out experience, which proves to have positive impact on guest satisfaction whilst reducing costs – with less paper and manpower required for automated systems. A prearrival email, coupled with pre-check-in services that facilitate an opportunity to better know your guests and their requests before arrival, enable hoteliers to update guest profile information with precise details, which is then reflected in real time, in the PMS–thereby reducing time at check-in. When you overlay the outcome of a more traditional communication exchange with the benefits of a customised mobile app, this is where the real advantages of technology become tangible. And, using beacon technology, hoteliers can push personalised offers and promotions, to provide a more personalised guest experience, as it enables them to recognise guests and their movements and upsell hotel services based on guest locations within the hotel.
Using technology solutions before guest arrival, on check-in and during their stay is by far the best way to streamline checkin processes, reduce waiting time, and proactively engage with guests for the duration of their travel time
From being notified about hotel events and happy hours to requesting pillows and sewing kits, guests can request anything they need directly from the App without having to call any staff or in fact be in the hotel. Technology also enables hoteliers to engage with their guests via in-app chat, notifications or direct ‘Talk to Manager’ option. This technology offers guests enhanced experiences and hotels can extend their hospitality and service information with information such as tours, ticketing and attractions, directly from the application, when the guest is outside the hotel. Guests can also view their bill and account status, without having to request a print-out from reception, or use their room extension on their mobile phone to call family and friends staying with them at same hotel while using any public Wi-Fi and internal extension technology. Many think that the primary role of a customised application is to mainly simplify check-in and book a room, however the real goal is to make a hotel guest stays smarter, simpler and more enjoyable – from arrival to departure.
Using technology solutions before guest arrival, on check-in and during their stay is by far the best way to streamline check-in processes, reduce waiting time, and proactively engage with guests for the duration of their travel time. When using smart technology, hospitality applications enable hoteliers to revolutionise customer experiences and deliver best-in-class guest services through the ability to capture a guest’s attention, enable navigation within the hotel, entice guests to experience hotel services, customise hotel privileges and streamline operations processes. (The views expressed are solely of the author. The publication may or may not subscribe to the same.)
Roger El Khoury Managing Partner NEORCHA