June 09 2016

Making The Guest Experience Awesome

Mobile technology is a must for a great guest experience

To deliver an awesome hotel guest experience, hotels rely on the same tried and tested principles i.e. providing exceptional customer service and guest satisfaction. While the principles are still the same, technology however has changed how guests expect to be served and how hotels deliver on those expectations. Customer satisfaction now extends beyond human interaction. Travellers are now more self-sufficient and expect instant gratification; they are looking for hotels that offer quick, but highly personalized service.

The formula and anatomy of a great guest experience today is a combination of the latest technology with traditional principles.

  1. Your arrival: Check-In needs to be fast, efficient and convenient.

The front desk of hospitality is slowly becoming the elephant in the room and providing the option of self-service check-in is becoming a necessity. With the technology widely available in other industries, many guests want to naturally check themselves in and get on with their stay. With our lack of patience and need to be self sufficient, it’s not surprising that in a Hotels.com survey, a combined 60% of respondents, across all demographics, stated that they are “more likely” to choose a hotel that allows guests to check-in with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t. Self check-in technology can play a role in providing convenience to the guest while also easing the burden on the front desk staff.

  1. Your stay: A home away from home.

While the millennia’s are usually pigeon-holed as a highly connected and multi-device dependent generation, the evolution of technology has spanned both young and old leaving no era untouched. Guests of all ages are now traveling with their own technology and prefer to choose and consume their own media. As a result, connectivity needs to be a huge focus for hotels. Wi-Fi has become an integral part of day-to-day life and not being able to connect is seen as a huge inconvenience. Guests want wireless broadband connections in their room and throughout the hotel and it must be fast, easily accessible and free. A quarter of guests say that they would not stay in a hotel that didn’t provide Wi-Fi!

As multi devices continue to be the norm, USB charging stations should be available for use and easily accessible throughout the hotel. In addition, in-room entertainment is now becoming a thing of the past: guests want to stream films and TV series from their own accounts. Marriott is one brand that has partnered with Netflix. “Because consumers are choosing to take their streaming content with them when they travel, Marriott Hotels is making the industry’s first rollout of Netflix a priority,” says Matthew Carroll, VP Brand Management, Marriott Hotels.

Much like the front desk, the in-room phone is due for retirement as instant messaging is becoming the “new normal” way of communicating (/”chatting”) as it pertains to room service and enquires. Guest can now make “instant contact” and engage real-time conversations with staff before, during and after a visit to receive room alerts, book a table, set wake up calls, ask for more towels etc. This is all without needing to use a landline telephone or walk to the front desk.

  1. Your departure: Checkout needs to be fast, efficient and convenient.

If you can self-check in, then a guest should have the same options to check-out; using either their smartphone or tablet, over breakfast or in the luxury of their hotel room.

Today’s guests value brands that fit into their mobile lifestyle and can adapt to their technological demands and preferences. Mobile technology solutions that can help hotels serve their guests better and personalize the experience make for an awesome hotel guest experience.

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