One area that is now of constant debate and focus in the hospitality industry is, if at all possible, how to get the balance right between technology, customer relationship and frontline service.
The very nature of the hotel industry is built on the ideas of providing a warm, welcoming, friendly and highly personalized guest service; for many hoteliers’ theses ideas can only be achieved through face-to-face interactions. However while the foundations on which the hospitality has been built on remain the same the way in which they are delivered has changed. With new and emerging technologies and evolving guest expectations, technology is now a critical determinant in hotel guest satisfaction meaning hotels’ are now confronted with how best to deliver on guest expectations while retaining the all important human element.
The Upper House Hong Kong, the flagship property in the Swire Hotels portfolio, is one example of a hotel that blends the relationship between technology and human hospitality. In a recent interview, Skift caught up with the hotel’s General Manager, Swiss-born Marcel Thoma to understand how their hotel thinks about technology and how they balance the digital customer relationship with the classic ideals of hospitality.
While some hoteliers have a mental block about the use of technology and are still unwilling to acknowledge and/or recognize technology’s actuality and role in the industry Thoma believes the new digital era and the classic ideals complement each other. Technology provides new opportunities to interact with hotel guests to help deliver a highly personalized guest service.
What is important take from this article is that technology is only a vessel to help deliver exceptional customer service, the actual key to great customer service and satisfaction is communication, both with internal teams and all touch points of the customer journey. “Our internal communication is key; we run like a well-oiled machine…We have a great guest experience team… We broke down the job barriers between concierge and front office so that each member in our guest experience team is in charge of a guest in our house, thereby fostering a more vibrant relationship” Thoma.
By adopting a healthy internal comms policy and employing newer technology help to ensure that no miscommunication happens internally and that the customer is being given a consistent experience throughout. “We are in touch with our guests via multiple channels. We really try to customize the way we keep in touch with our guests. Luxury hospitality is about preference and that shouldn’t be limited…”.
Embracing and utilizing technology doesn’t mean changing the fundamentals of hospitality but instead it lets hoteliers continue to deliver exceptional service, but now with more efficiency.
Check out the full article here.