Hotels are looking for innovative and efficient ways of delivering high quality experiences to keep up with both competitors and customer expectations with more than half of hotels (57%) planning to spend more on technology in 2017 than they did last year.
From online booking to checking-out, hotels are relying on technology to deliver high quality service throughout the entire customer journey. According to Hospitality Technology magazine, in 2017 the top strategic goal for hotels is to improve digital customer engagement (52%), helping to create better experiences for guests before, during and after their stay.
You know what you want to focus on, but how do you know what technology is best for your hotel? While most hotels are focusing on being “smarter” and “more innovative”, the more important questions are how can hotels make the investment worthwhile and what are the top considerations?
Here are 4 key things that hotels should consider when considering how they will invest in technology.
1. Customer-centric, seamless experience takes top priority
Implementing the right technology allows hotels to focus on customer needs, offering more than just good service. Customer-centric hotels offer unforgettable experiences. They look beyond the hotel bookings, to find out more about the people who are making the bookings. For example, offering travelers mobile check-ins and check-outs, installing one device in each room to control multiple functions and using smartphones as room keys. By understanding customers’ needs and putting them at the center of the business, hotels can establish and nurture long-term relationships
When considering technology, think of ways this will help your customer centric model, and ask yourself will this provide seamless experiences and build long-term relationships?
2. People over machine, equip your staff to use technologies to provide better service
Technology should be an aid, instead of a replacement, for guest interaction. After all, great technology is not a replacement for friendly service. Guests expect recommendations for restaurants and tourist attractions, seamless check-ins, instant connectivity and more.
But how can one hotel employee be expected to be an expert on all of these? By training your staff how to use the technology to enhance their service offering, rather than replace them, you will encourage them to provide a better service and build a rapport with the guests.
Once you implement a new technology, the education process is ongoing. Hold regular training sessions for your staff to ensure they are equipped to use your chosen technologies to offer the best service possible.
3. An integrated, future-proof platform is here to stay
With the constant influx of new technology, there are hundreds of products and offerings to choose from, and most of them do different things. How do you improve both the operational efficiencies and customer satisfaction without needing to invest in, and install, multiple technologies?
Think about what parts of your business you are trying to improve by using the technology, and then look for one integrated system that could help you manage this. It might seem like a larger investment at first, but if you think about the need to continuously update each piece of hardware and software and the time to train each staff member on the different technologies, you’ll see how an integrated platform is a future-proof plan
4.Mobility all the way, an agile service enhancing the guest experience
Today mobile technology plays an integral role in how people interact and their purchasing habits. When considering the complete guest life cycle, think about how mobility could help you interact with guests at different touch points: from knowing a guest has arrived through to offering them tailored services. A good mobility strategy should help you extend your great service beyond the front desks, and become ubiquitous throughout your guests’ journey.
Look for a mobility solution that can provide data around guests’ profiles and preferences to take your services to a new level in the years to come. Whether that be a mobile wallet, wireless charging or virtual concierges, make the experience unique to your hotel, and your guests.