Mobile has changed the way both consumers and brands think about travel and how they interact with one another. While mobile is impacting many facets of the hotel business, one area where mobile technology is changing the look and function of the hotel is just as you step in the door, right at the front desk.
Hotel guests have no love for the front desk, and it generally proves to be an annoyance more than anything else. Creating a barrier between hotel ambassadors and the guest, the traditional model is seen as impersonal and often time-consuming. With mobile usage becoming ubiquitous in our everyday life, the guest has evolved and has become more educated, on-demand and needs instant gratification. Such technological changes are pushing the front desk into a new era, if not into extinction.
From new guest demands, new mobile PMS solutions have developed and are transforming the hotel lobby. More affordable than their legacy counterparts, meaning they are accessible at scale, rather than it being the prerogative of luxury hotels only, hoteliers now have the opportunity to utilize mobile to elevate service levels and boost satisfaction. Here are four such examples of how mobile is transforming the hotel lobby and how hotels can serve their guests:
Travellers now expect a greater selection of options at check-in and new mobile technology is making this possible. With a mobile PMS solution, time-strapped consumers no longer have to wait in long lines or make the traditional stop at the front desk upon arrival before retiring to their rooms. Guests can easily check-in in advance, complete a geo-tagged authentication once on site, pick up a key from a key dispenser, or with the introduction of smart door locks, just walk straight to their room without waiting at the lobby. And checking out of hotels can be an equally quick, touchless exercise
2.Increased Guest Engagement
With a mobile PMS lobbies can become a more flexible space. For guests who would prefer a more personal check-in or for particularly busy check-in times, front desk staffed armed with a mobile device can meet customers in the lobby, curbside, or wherever they may be on property, and check them in. Using the tablet, staff can bring up the guest reservation and complete the check-in process, even offering an upgrade or an upsell if appropriate. Room keys can also be provided and the guest is quickly on their way to enjoy their stay.
The use of mobile in this way instantly connects customers with employees while transforming the look and feel of many hotel lobbies. It allows hoteliers to provide a highly personalized service, engage with the guest, build relationships, direct the guest and perform the transactions the guest wants all at the same time.
While it has not always been easy to make ancillary sales, the use of mobile provides greater opportunities to upsell and increase ancillary revenues. Checking-in via a self-service station or via mobile can result in additional guest spending; since consumers do not feel rushed when checking in, they can scroll through room upgrade options, spa packages, and dining reservations. Similarly, if a guest is greeted by mobile front desk staff, their check-in interaction feels more personal and the guest is more likely to share information. The hotel then has the opportunity to recommend additional services. Since the guest no longer feels the pressure of having a long line of people waiting behind them, they’re more likely to make dining reservations, purchase a spa package or ask about golf tee times.
With a mobile PMS, front desk managers can create new bookings and do much faster check-ins and check-outs; they can keep track of special requests of guests and also respond to issues and requests in a timelier manner. Rather than route guests to the front desk all the time, mobile enables staff to service guests and record and resolve any questions and/or requests on the spot elsewhere on the property promptly. Captured tasks can be directed and delegated to the appropriate department or team.
With a mobile PMS solution, staff can go to where they are most needed and remove a lot of inefficiencies in accessing their work while also walking to the area in which it is needed.
There is no doubt that mobile is transforming the hotel lobby. Guests want to interact with hotels flexibly and a mobile PMS solution provides hoteliers with the opportunity to move employees from behind the front desk and directly in front of guests. Mobility enables staff to help guests upon arrival and during their stay. Not only will hotels see the benefits of the personal connections formed by being side by side but also improved operational efficiency and increase revenues.
Mobile hospitality is the future of our industry, and it should be at the top of your list.