Technology continues to shape our daily lives, even within the realm of hospitality. Hotel properties are now spending more than ever on new technology to enhance the guest experience, within the guest rooms themselves and even behind the scenes for backend operations. A variety of new tech will be used, but collectively they allow hotels to provide quicker services and more personalized experiences to their customers.
1. Instant Messaging for Quicker Service
Hotels are taking an increasingly mobile approach to the guest experience. Many establishments offer guests an app through which they can check themselves in or out, which expedites processes surrounding arrivals and departures. The growing popularity of mobile engagement with guests can also be seen through keyless entry. Guests can now use their phones as room keys, and also call an Uber or use Google Maps all within the hotel app.
Some hotels also include a mobile requests feature within their apps so guests can request amenities or ask questions. The establishments themselves also contact guests via the app or text messaging to inquire about arrival times and any other needs guests may have prior to arrival.
So how has mobile technology changed the guest experience? It’s added ease and efficiency to the whole experience, from checking in to checking out, and also allows guests to use their communication method of choice when communicating with the hotel. Though a 2017 study from J.D. Power found that only around 4% of check-ins were through mobile apps, millennial travelers increasingly use instant messaging as their preferred means of communication.
2. Chatbots for Personalized Experiences
Instant messaging aside, hotels have also begun to tailor guest experiences with chatbots and virtual assistants like Alexa. On the one hand, chatbots allow hotels to respond to more visitors at once and can automate more repetitive tasks to allow hotel employees to focus on other operations instead. Efficiency means greater profitability, as these chatbots and hotel personnel together will be able to respond to and engage more visitors.
Demand volatility also makes chatbots especially helpful for increasing efficiency. Hotel employees are especially occupied at certain times throughout the day: people eat meals around the same time, check in around the same time, and so on. The volume of demands hotel employees must respond to therefore varies substantially, but with chatbots, guests will be able to receive timely service even during the busiest parts of the day.
In addition to productivity, chatbots also gather insights into the preferences and habits of visitors. Hotels can then send out tailored suggestions and promotions. This can increase the interest of visitors in a hotel’s services, and guests themselves would appreciate receiving information relevant to their interests.
3. Translations for Overcoming Language Barriers
The hospitality industry has guests of incredibly diverse backgrounds. Oftentimes they speak different languages and come from different cultures, so hotel employees may find it challenging to cater to all the requests of their diverse visitors. However, chatbots and other new technology can overcome any language barriers and prevent miscommunication. Thus, technology also changes the guest experience by allowing hotel employees to better serve guests of all backgrounds.
4. Cloud Technology for Centralized Property Management
Many kinds of customer-facing technology that hotels use directly affect guests, but other kinds of hotel technology have a less direct, but nonetheless meaningful impact on hotel customers. Using cloud technology simply means the hotel’s digital records and other systems are hosted on a vendor’s server rather than the hotel’s. Cloud-based property management systems also help hoteliers provide a personalized and more convenient experience. The cloud allows properties to record data on guest preferences and other behavior, from ordering room service to enjoying spa amenities.
Furthermore, cloud technology centralizes property management within one platform, which means every aspect of the hotel business can be managed from it, from reservations to duty assignments. This reduces hardware costs for the properties themselves, but also improves guest experience because cloud-based systems enable mobile check-ins, room service requests via a virtual assistant, and all other digitized operations.
5. Internal Communications Tools for Seamless Operations
Aside from providing the latest technology to guests, hotels should also make sure that their employees have the tools they need in order to deliver quality service for the optimal guest experience. Even though chatbots and other technology may reduce the amount of face-to-face interaction employees have with guests, these interactions are part of the guest experience itself and greatly affects guest satisfaction.
That’s why internal communications within hotel properties need to run smoothly in order for all hospitality staff to be informed and engaged. Chatbots can gather information about guest preferences, but it’s ultimately the hotel employees themselves who deliver the kind of service that guests will remember. Effective international communication platforms help employees coordinate operations, stay connected as a team, and be motivated to provide first-rate service.
Many new kinds of technology affect hospitality today. One main takeaway for guest experience is the increased accessibility of information and services, which boosts guest satisfaction. Guests now expect quicker service, which means operations carried out by hotel staff should be as streamlined as possible. Internal communications need to be optimized as well, and also matters for keeping the staff updated and engaged.
As hoteliers begin incorporating new innovations to enhance the guest experience, they must remember that hospitality has always been, and will always be about the people: from each guest who walks into the lobby to each employee that makes their stay phenomenal. Guests and hotel employees alike should have access to the best of today’s technology in order to thrive and experience the true spirit of hospitality.