It is a growing service offering hotels will need to provide rather sooner than later. When I mean self service, I am thinking the guests smartphone centered around hotel services will be more and more a required service to offer, as highlighted in a post on www.kioskmarketplace.com: “Guests are experiencing and expecting it more and more in their everyday lives, and hotels need to adapt,”. “Self-service, if done correctly, allows hotels to operate much more efficiently while at the same time providing guests with an experience that they are comfortable with.” (May 21st, 2012) This quote mentions “if done correctly” which I think is key, here are 5 points to take in account when implementing a hotel self service smartphone solution:
- It has to be functional. The self service app, should provide for useful functions, such as check in, out, room service, request a task, extend your booking etc. Without useful functions, guests will quickly stop using it, and refer back to the old way of requesting the service. If it is just a brochure, don’t bother.
- If the app performs functions such as check in, it really only helps if the apps are also tightly integrated with the hotels PMS. While there are many self service apps out on the market today, only very few have mastered the skills of tight integration to the hotel systems. It is also important that the self service app and integration require minimal (ideally none) setup or software to be installed at the property, the higher up in the cloud the better, minimizing system overhead and security risks for the hotel
- Equally important is the look and feel of the app. The most successful consumer apps not only fill a need, they also look very attractive, are easy to use and quick to download.
- Make sure that self service app runs on top of a content management system, you can use to customize the look and feel to your brand, add information and created targeted promotions or messages for your guests.
- Last, but certainly not least, just like with your hotel website. Make sure the app can be found by your guests. Often forgotten, but especially in the beginning a strong marketing message with many touch points where the guest can learn about the app is a must. Make it easy to access the app, and alert the guest of it through numerous communications.