6 WAYS TO USE TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE THE HOTEL GUEST EXPERIENCE
1. Share Important Updates On Video Walls
Some hotels share important updates with guests in the elevator and other common areas. A member of staff might print out that day’s weather report or share traffic updates if there is a major holiday or festival in town. In 2018, there’s an easier way to do this. Through digital video walls, you can share a variety of engaging information with visitors and help the overall guest experience. In Commsoft RMS, we have what we call Wallboards. You can fully customized to display single and multi-site information, which can be displayed on any networked PC monitor / LCD / Plasma display.
Video walls are a set of TVs placed together to make one image or multiple small images. They can be as simple as four TVs placed together or take up a complete actual wall.
A few hotels are getting creative with what they share on the video wall. They update guests with live local weather radar, show photos of restaurant menu items and specials offered downstairs or for room service, and promote discounts at local attractions. The video wall becomes a resource for visitors to learn what to do and eat during their time in the city.
2. Expedite the Check-In Process
The internet makes it easier to do a variety of tasks, from checking into airlines to renting cars. However, hospitality industry leaders are noticing that the hotel industry is surprisingly analog compared to other elements of the business trip or personal vacation. Fortunately, this is starting to change.
Member of Hilton Honors in the UK are some of the first hotel guests to check in to their hotel room like they would an airline. They check in through a smartphone, make sure their information is correct, select a room (just like selecting a seat on an airplane), and then use their smartphone to access their rooms when they arrive. There’s no need to wait at a check-in desk and hold on to a plastic room key throughout the visit.
The act of digital check-in streamlines the guest experience and helps those who just want to go right to their rooms. It also gives travelers more power to pick the rooms they want. Technology also makes hotel staff more effective.
Without having to check in as many people, front desk professionals can provide better service to guests, give them recommendations, and help them with any problems they might have.
3. Solicit Feedback from Guests
Hotels that really care about guest experiences solicit feedback from guests and apply what their visitors say. Modern survey tools have moved beyond suggestion boxes stuck in the corner and stuffed with paper responses. Most hotels use their WiFi, apps, and websites to push survey questions and seek responses from customers. In fact, collecting survey responses is as easy as sending out emails to guests after they check out.
Digital survey tools make it easy to aggregate data. You can track trends in customer responses to prioritize certain topics or make a note if customer ratings are decreasing or increasing because of changes you make.
These digital questionnaires are also likely to collect larger sample sizes than paper suggestions in the corner, ensuring your data is valid and relevant.
4. Integrate all communication channels into one platform
In this modern age where almost everything is available at a click, guests now expect quicker service (but still at excellent standards). Operations carried out by hotel staff should be as streamlined as possible, with all internal communication between staff optimized in order to keep everyone updated and engaged.
This type of internal order can be facilitated with new technology, such as cloud-based mobile apps and other property management systems. It not only allows staff members to seamlessly communicate with each other in real time but guests can also start providing feedback and make requests, such as for room service or entertainment add-ons.
Sure, it’s not the sexiest trend in tech, but making sure your IT infrastructure is secure will do a world of good for your guests.
All it takes is one data breach for you to lose countless customers. Investing in infrastructure that can protect the data you get from guests is a critical service you can’t overlook. It is also something you need to have a sharp eye on as you shift more toward mobile devices and the cloud, as they may not offer the same security you get from an in-house IT system.
It’s more than just protecting credit card information or even your guests. Hackers can disrupt your business through electronic door locks, HVAC controls, and whatever Internet of Things devices you have on your property.
There are common-sense approaches you can take to avoid this problem. You can invest in more secure software or networks, create a backup plan so that critical files and data are saved in case of an attack, and restrict access to only the most essential employees.
6. Personalized guest experience
As a hotel manager, you have an incredible opportunity to offer your guests a totally unique and customized experience. Today’s hotel management software allows you to track information about your guests’ preferences, not only before the stay but during it— so you can wow them the next time they come to visit by giving them a cup of their favorite brand of coffee, or have the room set at the perfect temperature before they walk in.
Using hotel tech and software, you can keep track of everything from what kind of pillows they like to their food and music preferences. It’s an opportunity to let your guests know that they are valued, and not simply just another entry in the booking ledger.
“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.”
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