Mobile devices have become part and parcel of our everyday (a study by Forester predicted that there would be 2.4B smartphone users globally by 2017!) and as a result we expect to be able to use our phones for a wide range of functions, such as browsing, accessing information, ordering and paying for goods and services etc., regardless of industry, from banking to retail, travel and hospitality, all at the click of a finger.
As a result, customer expectations and behaviors have changed and hotel guests increasingly see their mobile devices as the key to making their entire stay more convenient. According to a Hotels.com study many people would prefer to check in on their mobile device rather than wait in line at the front desk. Mobile bookings, the option to pay with your phone and the ability to use your phone as your hotel room key are increasingly important conveniences sought by guests, according to the survey. Not only that but travelers told the Hotels.com survey they’d like to have more of a two-way conversation with hotels through mobile devices during their stay; 31% would happily instant message a hotel, 30% would order room service on mobile and 32% would accept push notifications with destination information from the hotel.
So, why are all these facts and figures important? Mobile is changing the way people perceive what constitutes good service. Consumers are coming to expect the kind of self-service, streamlined experience that mobile technology provides and want to be able to choose how they interact with hotel staff and services. “…guests will rely primarily on mobile devices to engage with hotels before, during and after their hotel stay. Key differentiators such as flexibility, value and control are predicted to play a larger role in the guests’ buying decisions than human interaction.” Peter O’Connor.
A mobile PMS can facilitate a self-service model for guests that prefer that type of interaction such as check in and check out, ordering room service, pay for accommodations and service etc. At the click of a button guests can book services, make reservations, and customize their hotel stay. But by implementing and using a mobile-based hotel PMS, hotels can not only meet the needs of the new mobile traveller and provide better customer service but also can gain great operational advantage.
With a mobile hotel PMS, hoteliers;
- Have the flexibility to efficiently run services and operations of their hotel remotely.
- Are free to move around the hotel servicing guests directly resulting in more face-time and enhancing their overall guest experience.
- Can access data easily using any device at anytime, anywhere, allowing staff to respond more quickly and efficiently to serve guests.
- At-a-glance can quickly see the daily status upon sign in (check-ins, checkouts, occupancy, rooms available, VIPs etc.).
- Can easily access guest folios with deep guest information and history and utilize to facilitate better guest engagement.
- Can identify customer needs more effectively, allowing greater up-sell and cross-sell opportunities and increased profitability.
A mobile hotel PMS means hoteliers can gather guest data, understand guest behaviors, monetize on guest preferences all the while providing that all-important personalized service.
Mobile is not the way of the future… it is here, now. “Mobile is very much here and happening in hospitality. The results underscore how technology is altering consumer expectation and presenting hospitality operators with an unprecedented opportunity to win business.” Ray Carlin, VP for Oracle Hospitality.
Hotels that are actively making use of mobile technology will substantially boost the customer experience, while at the same time providing their hotel with the competitive advantage that it needs to stay ahead of the curve.