Much of our daily lives is powered by technology. We start the morning by checking our smartphones, interact with digital assistants throughout the day and unwind by streaming content at night. Imagine spending 24 hours in your home without your favorite technologies. Now imagine doing the same thing at the next hotel you stay in.
In the past, the quality of a guest’s stay was determined by factors like the level of service and the quality of amenities. Those factors are still important, but the emerging guest life cycle increasingly depends on technology to attract bookings and encourage repeat visits. Today’s hospitality industry is hyper-competitive, and a high-tech guest experience is an ideal way to stand out. We believe the following technologies will become standard in most hotels over the next five years, and are worth adding to your short-term plans.
1. Automated Customer Care
Many guests want to feel connected to their hotel before, during and after their stay. Automated communications make it easy to distribute important information to guests at the ideal time rather than trying to coordinate outreach manually. Tools like chatbots can also help guests get answers to their questions at any time. Travellers are put off by confusion and inconvenience; modern communication technologies can free hotels to assist guests at every stage in their journey.
2. Self-Service Check In
Many travellers would prefer to forego the check-in desk and instead access their room at their convenience and without fuss. Check-in kiosks allow guests to handle check in on their own while eliminating long waits during busy periods. Some hotels even allow guests to enter their rooms directly using their smartphones, no formal check in required. In order to give guests all the arrival information they need, many hotels are outfitting each room with tablets loaded with helpful facts about the hotel and the surrounding area. By anticipating guest needs and responding with streamlined arrival processes, you’ll find nothing is missing from the check in (or out) experience—except the inconvenience.
3. In-Room Media
Travellers are used to having endless entertainment options at home, so encountering basic cable in their hotel room might be somewhat of a letdown. Most people have personal accounts with Netflix for movies, Spotify for music or with a cable provider for TV, meaning the world of entertainment is always at their fingertips. Letting guests access their own accounts through their hotel TV creates an environment where they can continue relaxing as if they were at home, and shows your hotel to be both relevant and considerate of how guests usually live. Once in-room tablets become ubiquitous it will be even easier for guest to access media and other digital amenities throughout their stay.
4. Smart Housekeeping
Depending on the preferences of the guest, housekeeping either shows up too frequently or not often enough. Smart housekeeping makes it easier for cleaning staff to find the sweet spot in-between, and for guests to enjoy the exact level of cleanliness (and privacy) they want. Heat sensors on cleaning trolleys can tell housekeeping staff when someone is in the room even if the “do not disturb” sign is absent, signalling them to come back later. And the developments in guest request management software mean that hotels will soon also be able to accept digital housekeeping requests from guests, while seamlessly notifying the teams on call to respond. Eliminating the guesswork from housekeeping can keep both guests and staff informed and on an agreed-upon schedule.
5. Personalized Experience Management
Guests want the hotels they stay in to understand them as individuals, anticipate their needs and wants and deliver an experience that is customized and personally relevant at all times. Keeping up with these expectations isn’t easy, which is why hotels need a comprehensive property management system that leverages guest data at every opportunity. Once a system is in place, every touchpoint between the hotel and the guest can be coordinated to make the experience feel personalized and seamless. And having everything you need to know about a client on file for future use means that each time they stay, their experience can become more bespoke.
Tomorrow’s guest won’t be impressed with a comfortable bed and a decent TV. They will expect technology to enhance every aspect of their stay—and for hotels, this includes the behind-the-scenes efforts that guests never see. Hotels must acknowledge that adding a smattering of new technologies is not adequate. If you are going to continue to attract guests, your hotel must become tech-driven from the first booking to the final check out.
RoomKey PMS is engineering digital transformations throughout the hospitality industry. Rely on tech to fine-tune everything you do and optimize the guest experience in the process. Reach out to our team for more information.
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