Investing in newer, more efficient technology would seem like a solid business decision but many hoteliers are still reluctant in making the jump to upgrade and change. Reasons can include, the cost of changing, whether it’s the right time, worth the hassle or even necessary.
However, by making some smart, effective investments in mobile technologies hoteliers can substantially boost their customer experience while providing a competitive advantage that it needs to stay ahead of the curve all the while, increasing revenue.
To recognize if mobile technology is right for you, we’ve put together some tell tale signs to help you identify if its time to make a change.
Sign #1 – Escalating Operating Costs
Hotels are increasingly challenged to find ways to reduce costs without sacrificing the quality standards set in place to meet guest expectations. For many hotels, the expense and inconvenience of maintaining legacy systems is becoming a huge burden. The cost of running ageing software is often inflated by the out-dated hardware it is mounted on, along with maintaining legacy skills and the availability of on-going support from suppliers. However legacy hardware and software platforms often form the bedrock of hotel operations and survive because of the perceived risk to the business in updating, and also the investment required in replacing them.
However, with the SaaS model hotels could save themselves a lot of time and money. Deployed via the Internet, cloud systems eliminate the need to install and maintain computer software and are easily scalable. It requires no upfront capital expense and therefore represents significant cost savings; it is less risky and provides a fast return on investment. SaaS offers simplified integration with other systems and improved operational efficiency via automated data exchange.
Sign #2 – Complex Systems Hampering Employee Productivity
The operating environment of the hotel is increasingly technologically dependent and many hoteliers believe that the challenges of keeping up with the fast pace of technology are difficult and expensive. As a result many opt to keep existing legacy systems in favour of upgrading and investing in newer mobile technologies.
However legacy systems used by employees, such as PMS, POS, CRM or revenue management software can be extremely complex systems. It is thought that current systems are exceptionally under-utilized, with only 10% of functions actually being used. Due to their cumbersome design, employees are left to navigate a labyrinth of options and menus to find information that should be at their fingertips; as a result, productivity is greatly reduced and job satisfaction diminished. In addition, all ‘that’ time that is wasted trying to work around poor technology is time that could be spent maximizing your guest’s experience.
For a hotel to effectively operate and ensure it is maximizing its incoming revenue, the right technologies need to be in place. Hotels need to provide the tools employees need to be efficient, resourceful, and agile. Good business-to-business technology is no longer a luxury– it’s a necessity. Investing in newer mobile technologies mean your staff spend less time learning how to use software and have more time to take care of guests (and are ultimately happier!).
Sign #3 – Lack of Communication between departments
Hotels that haven’t properly invested in updated technologies can find themselves under-prepared for the increased workload that comes with and the new and ever demanding traveller.
It is not unheard of for departments to work in isolation of one another – Front desk staff are focused on meeting guests on check-in and ensure timely check-out, housekeeping are left checking clip boards and knocking on doors of rooms that may or may not be ready for service, and guests are left waiting in the lobby for their room to be ready.
However this doesn’t have to be the case – new cloud based mobile housekeeping service solutions help to connect housekeeping and front of house allowing both teams to work together more effectively to serve guests. By using their own mobile devices, housekeeping staff can efficiently move through rooms by accessing the hotel “PMS” to see which rooms front desk have checkout and are ready to be cleaned. Once complete, housekeeping can instantly and remotely update the PMS informing the front desk when rooms are ready. A “win-win” situation for both staff and guests!
Sign #4 – Unfavorable customer reviews
In our mobile driven consumer lead society users can post online reviews, both favorable and unfavorable that are available for anyone to see in a matter of seconds. TripAdvisor reports that 115 new contributions (reviews) are made every minute… that’s 6,900 an hour and 165,600 a day. 93% say that reviews are important when determining which Hotel they will stay at and it’s estimated that they read a minimum of 6-12 reviews before making a decision to book. Hoteliers know that TripAdvisor is the de facto research destination for travellers.
Online ratings and rankings are also more than just vanity metrics for hotel GMs; they can affect revenue. According to a Cornell study, a mere 1-point increase in a hotel’s 100-point Global Review Index (GRI) translates to a 1.42% increase in RevPAR! “Online reputation management is becoming hugely important to Hotels because reviews have a direct correlation with demand, the holy grail of revenue management.” Corin Burr, director of Bamboo Revenue, London.
A major benefit of providing mobile facing guest services like self-service check-in is that they are typically viewed very positively and can lead to improved TripAdvisor reviews.
Sign #5 – Increased Guest Sophistication
Consumers are increasingly sophisticated in their use of technology and have high expectations of services that they desire. Now days, traveling is all about instant gratification with guests preferring to be self-sufficient to save time and effort. A recent report by Software Advice emphasized the growing need to provide new mobile options to hotel guests; a combined 60% of respondents, across all demographics, stated that they are “more likely” to choose a hotel that allows guests to check-in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t. Similarly guests would prefer to use messaging and chat services as a way to communicate with hotel staff both before and during their stay.
By offering self-service options and utilizing apps that your guest already use, it enhances the overall service level experience while also easing the burden on the front desk staff.
It is clear that mobile technology solutions can help deliver a better guest experience while dramatically increasing the efficiency and productivity of hotel staff. Moreover, mobile technology can help lower operational costs.
If you have and/or are experiencing one or all of the above signs, perhaps it’s time to consider investing in new mobile technologies?