The New World in Front-of-House Service
Our world is changing and focusing more on technology, convenience and customer service – and consumers themselves are driving the changes. Anyone born since 1980 has enjoyed a life-long association with real-time or “instant” communications. They want it now – and they want it right first time. But while the millennials get pigeon holed as the technology generation, travellers both young and old now want greater automation. When staying at a hotel more than half of guests want to use their mobile device to receive bills (58%), check-in (54%), checkout (57%), pay for hotel services (51%), and open their hotel room door (50%)”, 2016 Cognizant Travel Survey.
Basically guests now want convenience, control and choice – on their terms – and they want it all delivered using the latest technology. However, for almost all hotels, the fundamental process for interacting with guests has remained fundamentally unchanged for decades: The guest arrives on property; wait in a line, sometimes for a very long time; and a front desk clerk buries his or head in a computer to check him in (more than likely using a legacy PMS), produce room keys and try to take care of his other immediate needs.
However, with the advance and positive changes in emerging technology, such as with the advent of the mobile PMS, the front desk itself has been allowed to evolve! Making everyone’s life a lot easier, it helps to eliminate inefficiencies in guest interactions, like waiting in line at the front desk. Front office staff equipped with a tablet can interact with guests in a more casual, informal manner and assist them with their check-in, check-out, concierge services, and other transactional work without requiring them to wait in line at a front desk. Whether assisting guests during busy lobby times to avoid lines or checking in groups near the event space, staff can deliver a truly mobile and personalised front desk experience from anywhere in the hotel – not just in the lobby. A mobile PMS enables front desk staff to fully service guests anywhere the guest happens to be via a mobile tablet experience.
Some of the most cutting edge, luxury hotels now opening across the country – such as Miami’s Faena, or 11 Howard in SoHo, NYC – have given up and abandoned the traditional front desk idea altogether, preferring to let guests check in the way they want to whether it be via tablet when they are picked up at the airport, on mobile phone on the way to the property… or at a kiosk when they arrive. “Saving time creates great opportunities for hoteliers to better serve their guests we wanted to make the guest experience at our hotel completely open and completely mobile…Our mission is to serve guests where ever they would like to interact with us, in ways that give them complete freedom of choice – whether they are checking in via table prior to arriving at the property, or extending their stay from the comfort of their room without even picking up the phone.” Anis Khoury, General Manager 11 Howard.
And for those embracing the mobile lobby the results are worth the effort. It has been reported that mobility in the lobby not only gets positive guest feedback but also drives better consumer reviews online. Similarly, satisfied guests spend 50% more in ancillary revenue than those that are indifferent or just satisfied – plus they tend to spend even more on repeat visits (source: Cornell Center for Hospitality Research).
And it’s not just all about the guest. The flexibility that a mobile PMS offers also helps to deliver operational efficiencies to the hotelier, saving time and money, which can be allocated toward more productive tasks. With a mobile enabled PMS staff have the flexibility to access their hotel PMS 24/7/365 from wherever the workday takes them. Managers can monitor finances and reservations, adjust rates and review performance from anywhere with an Internet connection. Equally, at the same time, they have the flexibility to access and view all guest information and enhance the guest experience on-to-go.
For hoteliers who want to meet the demands of the new mobile traveller, and remain competitive, a mobile PMS can be a vital tool. A mobile PMS makes it possible to operate a complete guest centric approach; staff are no longer bound to a fixed location and have the flexibility to provide a bespoke service that meets and even anticipates the needs of guests, anytime anywhere. The ability to simply move beyond the front desk allows hoteliers to deliver a personalized and efficient service, and after all, that is what great hospitality has always been about.
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