November 19 2014
Posted in: Self service

Great Hotel Apps Make The Difference

Great Hotel Mobile Apps Make the Difference

How Tech Will Make Your Hotel Room Feel Like Home (Or Better) opens up describing how guests can use an in-room tablet to set a custom wake up call. Guests can have celebrity voices, or historical figures motivate them to get out of bed and going or the day. We can only assume they can also set a custom time as well.

It sounds like something you’d hear on Disney’s Tomorrowland ride: “In the Monsanto House of the Future, nuclear-powered microwaves cook food in minutes and bedside video-phones will allow you be woken up by celebrities…”

Of course, you can also order things like toothbrushes or shaving cream as well. That sure is neat-o.

As a guest, how many times have you thought to yourself, ‘that guest service agent’s voice is so harsh on my ears at 6:30AM. I need to woken up by Angela Lansbury.” Wake up calls have probably been offered as a service since the dawn of the industry, but hotel software systems have changed that experience. Some PBX software for hotels allow automatic calls to extensions. Hotel property management systems permit guest preferences tracking that enable staff to anticipate and inquire with guests who frequent;ly request wake up calls.

But none of aforementioned innovations truly create a new service paradigm; existing service workflows are unchanged. Even at the most nondescript tertiary-market property, a guest can acquire a single serving of toothpaste or phone call from the night auditor.

New technology in hotels alone isn’t enough to provide better service. One could argue that these hotels are truly changing the wake up call experience, through service—not hotel management software. As far as in room amenities, I more often forget my phone cable than my toothpaste. Consider the hardware expense of a $300 tablet for each room in a 300 room property: $90K. That’s enough to buy 134,328 micro usb cables at retail price. Or more enough for every guest at the hotel for a year at 100% occupancy. What provides a better guest experience? I know I’d be more impressed by a free, branded, take home cable, than having Al Pacino yell at me in the morning.

We’ve come full circle from executives dismissing touch screens, to touch being the answer for every problem—even ones we never had in the first place! Putting a touchscreen on a thermostat, doesn’t make it any better. Make the thermostat wifi accessible and provide a great mobile experience, and that’s different story.

Releasing a hotel mobile app or putting a tablet in the guestroom or lobby does not improve service by itself. Simply putting a person at your front desk doesn’t improve service either. However, putting the right people at your front desk changes everything. The new hotel technology you implement has to be as great as the people you empower to serve your guests. Great hotel property management systems and great hotel mobile apps allow great employees to provide great service.

By Bryn Williams, Director Strategic Accounts, StayNTouch, Inc.