A key part of a hotelier’s job is providing and overseeing a positive customer experience. As new technologies change the way hotels and guests interact, hoteliers have more opportunities to ensure that visitors’ needs are met. In an annual Digital Trends Report conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, companies were asked what they believed to be the single most exciting opportunity for their business. For three years running, “customer experience” was reported to be the top answer.
The guest experience is simply defined as the series of interactions a guest has with your hotel from start to finish. These interactions begin long before the guest sets foot in your hotel and continue long after they check out. Technology is rapidly changing the guest life cycle and expanding the opportunities to enhance the guest experience through new tools, platforms and roles. Here are some key ways that hoteliers can use technology to improve the guest experience.
Ensure Your PMS is Streamlining Operations
Many booking engines simply take reservations, but you’ll want to look for a PMS booking engine that can offer more. A good one will save you money by avoiding OTA booking fees and encouraging guests to book directly from your website. You will want to make sure the booking engine is mobile-friendly, integrated to Google Analytics and provides data in real-time. Analyzing booking behaviours will allow you to enhance the guest experience at the earliest stage in the guest life cycle, by providing prospective guests with customized deals and geo-targeted offers, as well as properly logging guests’ booking information and preferences in order to streamline arrivals and improve the quality of a stay.
The importance of gathering data to enhance the guest experience cannot be overestimated. The right tech can help you to create sophisticated guest profiles that allow you to know your guests before they even arrive. A dynamic PMS will give you up-to-the-minute reporting on guest activity, allowing you to forecast the seasonal trends that affect consumer behaviour and to tailor prices and services accordingly.
The right software system will also take tedious tasks off your front desk team, allowing them to give their full attention to guests. An innovative PMS system makes it easy to quickly check occupancy, register guests and process payments, meaning all guests—regardless of whether they booked online or are walking in—can receive the same level of efficient service.
Use Tech to Communicate Throughout the Stay
Your staff’s performance will greatly impact the quality of a guest’s overall stay. Staff members directly impact how clean the rooms are, how delicious the food is, how helpful local recommendations are and how comfortable guests feel overall. Provide your staff with software that enables them to track tasks, check ins, bookings and more to ensure that they can anticipate your guests’ every need.
You should also consider equipping your guests with technology that helps them communicate with the front desk more efficiently. Mobile apps, for example, can help guests register whether they need any additional services, or if an expectation hasn’t been met. New technologies, such as AI texting and smart controls, allow guests to take control of their comfort levels while registering their individual needs in real-time. This added level of communication can empower visitors to provide feedback while helping hotels fix any problems or issues while their guests are still on site.
Encourage and Manage Post-Stay Feedback
Hotels should also encourage this type of communication after guests have left the premises. Popular review platforms, such as TripAdvisor, allow visitors to highlight the positive aspects of their guest experience while giving them an avenue to lament any shortcomings. Hoteliers should incorporate these platforms into their guest experience strategy to ensure that any negative reviews are being responded to in a timely manner and to maximize positive exposure. A PMS that includes reputation management integrations will help you stay in control of the public conversation around your brand.
With the right technology, hoteliers can foreground their guests’ needs at every step of the guest experience. By gathering vital guest data, streamlining check in and check out processes and promoting open communication and feedback, hotels can incorporate new technologies into their guest experience strategies to create more memorable stays.
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