As H. G. Wells famously said "Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative”, and the hospitality industry is not an exception. Hotels are in danger of failing to adapt to a new species of guest whose needs and demands are quite different from those of previous generations.
Today, the mobile revolution, Artificial Intelligent, Smart Data and other technologies are making an unprecedented change in the way hotels can assist and serve customers. This has resulted in a huge opportunity for hotels to enhance the guest experience.
Recent survey results show travelers are more likely to book with hotels that incorporate the latest technologies into their service. Technologies such as virtual room tours in the pre-booking stage, smart room controls, and AI concierge apps, all result in a more tailored experience for the guest. And this demand is growing in correspondence with the rise of the digital native.
Here are 6 ways in which technology can improve the hotel guest experience:
1. Mobile Check-In
The digital transformation has resulted in an impatient generation. With information being so readily available, we no longer have any patience or desire to wait for what we want. Instant gratification is a danger within every industry, including the hospitality industry, which is why hoteliers must adapt their technologies to satisfy the needs of their guests. One way to do this is by offering mobile check-in.
People don’t like to wait. That is true. But also, your guests may just want to retire to their room after a long day of travels, without interacting with other people. Or maybe they arrive at early times in the morning. The needs of people are as varied as the types of people.
For these and many other reasons, mobile check-in is one of the services that most customers are starting to demand.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts became the first chain to let guests unlock doors with their phones. After that, other companies as Marriott Hotels or InterContinental Hotels are following its footsteps.
2. Keyless entry
The 21st-century traveler has everything on his phone, wallet, tickets and personal details. People are adapting to automated check-in via mobile phone with 70% of travelers wanting to use their mobile phones as a room key.
Plastic key cards require the front desk, so they are not compatible with mobile check-in. Also, in terms of cost-efficiency it would be a great option to reduce the use of plastic and their associated costs. Keyless entry can increase guest satisfaction — several major hotel brands showcase successful case studies. Marriott, Hyatt or InterContinental Group have begun rolling out smartphone keys via their branded mobile app.
Implementing these mobile technology solutions to provide a relevant guest experience will be vital in order to stay competitive in the future. Not only for keyless entry, but also because in that way you can provide all of the resources customers need in one place. It’s important to keep thinking how to appeal to millennials and Generation Z, but it is important to ensure it is still user-friendly for people and employees of all ages. With a custom hotel app, users can easily locate amenities such as the pool, gym, spa or bar, check their charges and leave reviews. Making your guests life easier will make your life easier too.
3. Free Wi-Fi
The demand for Wi-Fi access is global and for guests, free Wi-Fi is no longer a luxury, it is a must-have. Guests demand good connectivity during the stay, they like to feed their social media profiles with the experience that they are savoring.
A customer likely would not return to a hotel with poor internet access. If your hotel offers mobile services, like keyless entry or a mobile app, you should guarantee good speed. That will be necessary to support your mobile strategy and to help you provide better customer service.
4. Smart TV
When a guest arrives at the room and he finds a Smart TV, he can share the content of his video platforms directly to the screen. This is a high added-value. You can make your guest feel like they are staying at a home away from home.
Smart TVs also allow guests to easily and instantly connect to the internet and run apps just like a smartphone, where your guest can shop online, check local attractions or play games.
The comfort of your guests could also be your hotel’s way of saving energy and money. One great example is the addition of personalised room controls. This technology allows guests to automatically adjust environmental room settings; such as lighting and air conditioning. All of this can be managed from a centralized location, such as a smartphone or smart hub. You can control room lighting, as well as use motion sensors to automatically turn off electricity in unoccupied spaces. Smart thermostats and occupancy sensors can monitor and respond to guests entering or leaving the room.
The energy savings from in-room automation is not only limited to heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems. Smart lighting technology also enables hoteliers to better understand their energy needs, automate consumption, and adapt to real-time changes in occupancy.
Hotel chatbots are the modern-day equivalent to a concierge and receptionist. Guests can check-in, check-out, make reservations, request more info 24h and even ask for local restaurant recommendations. In particular, a hotel can use them to respond to the frequent customer requests immediately, leaving the front desk free to focus their attention on their guests whose needs require a human agent.
They are a great way to save time and produce more money. A very smart chatbot can interact with a customer and detect if he is angry, upset or frustrated. In these cases, the chatbot can alert and transfer the communication to a human to take over and finish assisting the customer. The interactions between guest and chatbot can be personalized and can be multilingual to tailor to the customers and their requests. The chatbots are a way to stay connected with the guests from booking until post-departure. This technology is ideal for customer-centric businesses.
There is an excellent opportunity for hospitality companies to elevate the guest experience through the introduction of new technologies. Guests desire personalized services and apps that put them in control of their stay, resulting in greater efficiency and convenience for them.
- Capterra: https://blog.capterra.com/6-ways-technology-can-improve-the-hotel-guest-experience/
- Home 2nite: http://home2nite.com/5-ways-technology-can-enhance-the-guest-experience/
- Rockbridge: https://rockresearch.com/technology-can-improve-guest-experience-2/
- Hotel Management: https://www.hotelmanagement.net/tech/10-ways-smart-technology-reshaping-hotel-industry
- Insight: https://www.insight.com/en_US/learn/content/2017/04202017-6-benefits-of-technology-in-the-hospitality-industry.html
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/6-ways-hotels-using-technology-transforming-customer-rhonda-parmiter/
- Hubspot: http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/1735063/6_Ways_to_Enhance_the_Guest_Experience.pdf