October 10 2014

When It Comes To Hotel Technology There’s No Choice But To Give Choice

Travelers want choices. Travelers also want an experience that is personalized to their preferences. In an ongoing fight for customer brand loyalty, hoteliers are being forced to pay attention.

Personalization is not just about offering a service that someone wants, but offering it in the way they want to receive it – and when they want to receive it. Not only is that what customers expect, but taking that choice away offers some serious consequences –recently,  for Marriott International,  it was to the tune of a $600k fine from the Federal Communications Commission.

Last year, a guest claimed that the Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center was actively blocking hotspots in order to force guests to use its own expensive wifi network. The hotel removed the option for a traveler to use his or her personal wifi device. Some would end up paying upwards of $1,000 dollars for access during a convention many of the guests were there to attend.

On the other side of the coin, other hoteliers are jumping leaps and bounds to provide their guests with technology options that will enhance their stay. Sandals and Beaches resorts will introduce free WiFi on Dec 1. Not only will guests have the choice of how many devices they’d like to connect, but they will have access to Wifi on the entire property; yes, even the beach.

Travelers today want to take control of their own itineraries tailored to their priorities. In fact, they are willing to dish out personal information in order to get an experience that’s unique to them. Four out of 10 travelers are willing to share data in the interest of personalization.

Travelers should have the choice of savvy tech tools and efficient interpersonal interactions with staff during their stay. Interactions that are meant to enhance a guests’ stay, not bog them down. Hoteliers are in the hospitality business, not just customer service. Good customer service is delivering on a promise. Hospitality is making people feel good while you’re delivering on that same promise. A personalized, and thoughtful technological experience will set the bar for what great hospitality will be defined as is in the near future.

By Ronnie Coleman, Sales Executive at StayNTouch, Inc.