Hands up who remembers the last time they didn’t use their smartphone for a whole day? – Probably very few! It is sometimes hard to believe that little over 10 years ago there weren’t any smartphones but since then a lot of things have changed. Today, we are living in an era of advanced technology, in a world where we are constantly connected and where more people now own cell phones than toothbrushes.
The number of mobile users across the globe is estimated at over 3.7 billion –and growing. And this is especially so in the United States. According to Pew Research, virtually all Americans — over 95% — currently own a cell phone. The percentage of those owning smartphones is a whopping 77%. Smartphones have become an essential part of daily life, it is our personal assistant that helps us master our everyday from checking emails, managing calendars, listening to music, watching videos, taking photos, reading the news, banking, billing, shopping, entertainment, communicating and also, every now and then we use them for their original purpose, to make phone calls.
Smart mobile devices coupled with IoT have and continue to change and shape how we do business, connect with other people and complete everyday tasks – for instance, will someone born in 2017 ever print out a map to determine the best driving route from New York City to a small town in Massachusetts? Will they ever buy a Newspaper? Hail a cab from the side of the road? Pay with cash? Very unlikely. This new era if technology has enabled new levels of convenience at home, in the office, and nearly everywhere else. As a consequence, businesses have had to adapt to new technology and changing consumer behaviour in order to remain competitive.
The hotel industry is no exception with technology having a significant influence on the hotel guest experience. Today’s tech-savvy, mobile-first travelers want the freedom to choose how and when they interact with your hotel, they want the ability to help themselves, to be self-sufficient. They are also demanding a more personalized service that keeps up with their on-the-go lifestyle. They have clear expectations of the experience they’re looking for and expect a more customized approach preferring to be communicated with in a way that appeals singularly to them. The technology that they encounter — whether hands-on or through a front-desk agent or concierge — now influences their overall guest experience.
Back of house, technology is also changing and is being shaped and designed to meet customer expectations and deliver a superior guest experience. New mobile enabled cloud-based PMS solutions are helping to automating mundane and tedious actions, reducing errors and improving operational efficiency. They can unify data in a single platform, unlocking guest intelligence and allowing hoteliers to identify and nurture their guests at every point in the travel journey. Newer technology solutions enable staff to break free from the confines of their desk and become mobile performing many hotel operations on the go and provide services anywhere the guests are. They empower staff to spend more time with customers, truly deliver an exceptional and personal service resulting not only in more satisfied customers but more loyal customers and repeat visits.
There is no doubt that technology is shaping the hotel guest experience. Guests today expect personalized services and want choice and convenience in order to maintain control over their stay experience. With the right technology in place such as automating certain task and providing self-service convenience to your guests, employees can focus on more specific guest requests and can proactively assist guests to create a more memorable experience – and happier, more loyal customers.