Delighting guests is at the core of the hospitality industry’s purpose and reason for being. But it’s also the key solution for many of the problems facing the industry in the post-pandemic era, including revenue optimization, promoting direct bookings, and addressing the competition from short-term rentals like Airbnb. This article will look at seven different ways that mobile technology can enhance your stay and delight your guests, transforming them from one-off travelers to lifelong customers.
The needs of the hospitality market are changing, and travelers are redefining what they mean by hospitality and what they want out of a hotel. And ultimately, your brand can provide so much more to your guests than just a single room for individual nights. Opening your booking assets to day use or hourly rates allows you to capitalize on rapidly emerging market segments: Airport hotels, for example, can leverage hourly rates to cater to busy air travelers facing extended layovers or flight delays. Similarly, day-use bookings could provide a quiet and productive space for remote workers looking to escape the distractions and monotony of working from home, or virtual companies looking for a space for meetings, company events, or coworking space. Hotels can also leverage mobile check-in and more flexible long-term booking models to cater to the extended stay and short-term rental markets and provide an Airbnb-like experience with a smaller team size.
Nobody likes waiting in a long line at the front desk when you just want to check into your room and begin your stay. Fortunately, a mobile PMS can deliver a choice at the guest welcome: whether to enjoy a fully contactless check-in through their smartphone or guest-facing kiosk, or a more relaxed, high-touch check-in, assisted by a teammate aided by a tablet. Mobile check-in can offer a number of advantages, including reducing check-in times to under a minute and allowing your guests to personalize their stay with automated, targeted offers for room upgrades and amenities sent directly to their mobile devices. A mobile guest welcome can be completely streamlined by integrating your mobile PMS with a contactless payment platform, a keyless entry system, and a mobile guest messaging system.
Hospitality means making it as easy as possible for guests to experience their ideal stay. Hoteliers should streamline every conceivable touchpoint, so that nothing stands between the guest and getting what they want. Booking should be made as easy as possible with a fully integrated IBS that can automatically adjust to fit desktop or mobile devices, and will automatically update the guest’s profile whenever they book a reservation or request an upgrade. Integrating with a mobile point-of-sale (POS) system can deliver a streamlined, mobile-first experience to every dining establishment in your hotel, allowing your guests to order through their smartphone, a tableside kiosk, or strategically placed QR codes. Digital payment platforms should be incorporated into every monetized touchpoint in the guest journey, so that guests can use the payment method of their choice, either in person, on their mobile device or guest-facing kiosk, or secure payment link or QR code. Integrating with a mobile guest messaging system allows guests to instantly ask questions or make requests from staff, while allowing a single staff member to assist multiple guests through the messaging apps of their choice.
Every time a staff member asks a repeat guest “have you stayed with us before,” they unwittingly set the relationship back to zero. This is especially true for chain brands, which must form relationships with guests across multiple properties and regions. The key is to deploy a mobile PMS with guest profiles that can be recognized and updated across multiple properties. With this level of multi-property functionality, a guests’ stay and rate preferences, loyalty perks, and special requests or notes can “follow” them as they stay at different locations, informing staff, integrated platforms, and guest touchpoints. The result is to create a “home away from home” for your guests, where each subsequent visit increases the level of personalization for the guest experience.
When you visit a long-time friend or loved one, you have conversations that flow naturally, with everyone remaining fully present in a cherished moment 一 and interactions at your hotel should be no different. Unfortunately, traditional on-site PMS systems do much to burden organic hospitality, with clunky user interfaces monopolizing your staff’s attention, to the front desk acting as a physical barrier separating you from your guests. A mobile PMS system is different: Because a mobile PMS can be run from a tablet, your staff are free to roam the property and meet guests wherever they are. And because mobile systems feature colorful and intuitive user interfaces, complete with robust automation for many repetitive tasks, your staff’s attention can remain on their guests, not buried in an outdated platform.
When guests first arrive at your hotel, they should enter a space that caters to their needs and is uniquely reflective of your brand. By leveraging mobile check-out and guest-facing kiosks you can de-emphasize your front desk 一 or eliminate it entirely. Instead of your lobby functioning as a overly-decorated waiting room, it can now serve as a guest centric space for socializing or co-working. And by integrating your PMS with a mobile point-of-sale system, you can create mobile-first dining experiences in your lobby that are just as personalized and seamless as your guest welcome. Some hotels go a step further and turn their lobbies into an aesthetic experience that’s completely unique to their brand 一 whether that includes robot bag handlers, a mid-century modern airport terminal, or an outdoor “lobby” under the stars.
First impressions may set the tone and pace of a relationship, but last impressions can determine whether or not a traveler becomes a loyal, life-time customer. Give your guests the chance to relax on their day of departure with a monetized late-checkout option that they can access directly from their smartphone. Savvy htoeliers will also integrate their PMS with a guest messaging platform, a CRM, and an online reputation management system, ensuring that if any issues do arise, they can be addressed and remedied before they can affect the long term relationship with the guest.
The hospitality industry has faced stiff competition in recent years from both OTAs and short term rental platforms. By engaging with travelers at the earliest stages of the digital guest journey, these platforms have enticed travelers with lower rates, more convenient bookings, and more unique experiences 一 and have monopolized the guest relationship as a result. But the one critical advantage that hotels possess is that they actually provide the guest experience. By leveraging convenience, personalized, and seamless mobile technology at each stage of the guest journey, hotels can go a long way towards delighting their guests and winning their lifetime loyalty.
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