3 Front-Office Technologies Helping Hotels Better Serve Guests
Technology has made significant strides in the past five years; it is ubiquitous in almost everything we do, and for many guests, especially Millennia’s, technology seems to be part and parcel of their DNA. Many hotels have begun integrating guest-facing technologies to meet guest expectations but behind the scenes, new innovations are enabling hoteliers to empower employees, manage day-to-day operations more effectively, serve guests better and even increase revenue.
Cloud and SaaS: Hotels are all about the bottom line and forward thinking hoteliers are catching on to the huge financial cost savings that Cloud and SaaS bring – along with simpler upgrades and on-going maintenance. However, as a massive added bonus, Cloud and SaaS bring and deliver many operational efficiencies and advantages.
Traditionally, guests and front office employees interacted from opposite sides of a desk. However everyday operational applications such as PMS and POS can now be part of the cloud, meaning employees no longer need to sit in a “fixed” position and can get out from behind their desks to have real, personal interactions with customers. Using mobile devices, and accessing applications via the cloud, employees can; process orders, bookings, payments and check customers in and out, anywhere, anytime. Mobility allows employees to provide services anywhere the guests are, resulting in more satisfied customers.
Housekeeping can also get in on the action; use their own devices to log into the hotel PMS, communication can occur more efficiently with front of house regarding which rooms need cleaning and which rooms are ready for guests. With the right technology tools, Housekeeping can efficiently move through rooms and the front office are free to focus on the day-to-day business of looking after their guests.
Automation: The word automation is not new to the hotel industry – it has been used since the PMS was first introduced, when software was introduced to streamline valet parking and luggage handling by Porters’, and now automation is being applied as an option by acute hoteliers at check-in and check-out.
Providing the option of self-service, guests having the ability to control when and where they check in and staff will have more free time to focus on the more value-added aspects of their jobs. Similarly, automation on checkout can streamline the process of getting guests smoothly on their way. Automating the hotel bill is a perfect way to improve the customer’s experience.
Automation removes the tedious elements of the check-in and out process; there’s no queuing, everything is processed on the guest’s own device and results in savings in both time and money for the hotel employees.
Messaging Apps: Messaging applications in the market place have grown from strength to strength and have become the preferred mode of communication among the younger generation. Some hoteliers have begun to adapt and harness this form of communication as the customer service channel between staff and guests. Guests can use chat applications to have real time conversations with staff to resolve any issues, request room service, order a taxi, book dinner and/or the spa, etc.
Chat is a versatile, effective way to ‘chat’ to guests. It provides instant, one-on-one, real-time interaction and has the potential to not only transform customer service but also to deliver operational efficiencies.
New technologies, both software and hardware, are changing the way internal hotel operations are managed; they are all about providing better guest service and keeping operations running smoothly. Employee-facing technology has the greatest potential to improve daily operations and the productivity of hotel employees. The hoteliers that embrace the proliferation of new technologies will empower their staff to spend more time with customers and truly deliver a service as opposed to being seen as “processors”.