Now more than ever, hoteliers are feeling the pressure to stay at the forefront of the latest, innovative technology trends. The ideology is simple: invest in the technological demands of your guest’s evolving service expectations, and your guests will invest back in you.
According to HT’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study, 57% of hotels plan to spend more on technology compared to the year before. The question isn’t whether to allocate spend to technology, but how to prioritize that spend on technology segments which garner the greatest ROI and guest satisfaction. How then, should hoteliers strategically invest in technology which will facilitate efficient, personalized experiences and long-term guest loyalty?
Advanced Solutions for a Simplified, Frictionless Experience
In most cases, the most relevant technology solutions within the hospitality industry aren’t the latest and greatest gadget, so to speak. Rather, they’re the solutions that are solely focused on simplifying and streamlining the primary touch points of the guest experience, without any room for error.
In this regard, hoteliers find themselves looking to solutions that have perfected the check-in, mobile key functionality and check-out process for their guests. While these could be perceived as a small part of the entire hotel experience, they are the first and last operational interaction the guest has with your hotel and can determine if your first and final impression on each guest is lasting and positive, or negative and a cause for frustration.
Keeping up with progressive industry standards, the entire pre-arrival to the post-arrival process should be optimized for mobile; including reservations, pre-arrival messages, mobile check-in, access to the hotel room with a mobile key and mobile check-out. Offers and upgrades directly in the mobile key app can also enhance the guest experience and help drive ancillary revenues for the hotel. Investing in a solution that offers this comprehensive functionality, without any problematic issues (every single time), will make a lasting impression on each guest. This onus on efficiency and convenience will continue to be the driving factor in driving guest satisfaction.
Establishing a Genuine Connection With Your Guests
Running a hotel successfully requires the careful allocation of budgetary spend across internal processes, staffing, on-property upkeep and upgrades, marketing campaigns and much more. While these are all critical components, it is imperative to remember that succeeding in the hospitality industry means succeeding in the delivery of exceptional guest service — so when it comes to technology, the guest should always be front and center.
Guests today not only expect seamless mobile functionality and tech-forward offerings (smart thermostats and room controls, voice-powered personal assistants, mobile keyless entry), but they expect their preferences and convenience to be anticipated by the hotels they book with. Ultimately, they want to feel connected to the brands and independent hotels that they choose, which means hoteliers should not only get to know their guest on a deeper level, but need to curate that genuine connection through customized offerings, recommendations, and interactions.
Generally speaking, older technology solutions are not able to provide the guest insights that will empower this level of personalized, attentive service. Rather, hoteliers should be looking to progressive technology solutions that offer real-time, visual data analytics with actionable insights at every touch point of each guest’s stay.
Be Mobile, or Be Left Behind
Everyone in the hospitality industry is talking about the importance of the mobile experience, as the shift to mobile continues to rise in 2018. In fact, according to the latest Travel Flash Report by Criteo, over one-third of people now use a mobile device to book a hotel room.
With this in mind, hotels must ensure their online booking experience is entirely optimized for mobile, taking into account special accommodations and requests for business travelers, families disabled travelers and more. This also means ensuring the hotel’s mobile technology is frequently updated and includes services such as room service, loyalty connections, mobile concierge, check-in, and more. Not only will this ensure ease-of-use and undisrupted accessibility for guests, but it provides the hotel with another opportunity to gather, store and analyze guest-specific data.
Real-time, Real Results
It is more important than ever before for hoteliers to understand the importance of real-time data as it relates to their day-to-day decision making, responsive guest service, and targeted campaigns. Applications which present information only in historical reports are simply too many steps behind. Hoteliers today need to arm themselves with real-time (preferably cloud-based) analytics that not only enables them to make better day-to-day decisions but also help to optimize revenue and costs, detect misalignments or failed campaigns and constantly present the most relevant offers to guests to improve ROI.
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