Our smartphones have become a way for us to enhance our reality and we carry them with us at all times. Still, hotels are not leveraging this enough. Utilizing guests’ mobile phones make their experience better but it also helps hotels reduce staff workload and optimize internal operations.
In the post-covid era, hotels will have to work hard to regain user confidence and to prove that they can provide a safe stay and great service without unnecessary human interaction. This means relying more on automation as well as enabling access to their services from guests’ personal devices in order to minimize contact between surfaces, guests, and hotel staff.
Nowadays, there’s no real obstacle to providing services like mobile check-in, mobile keys, and mobile service requests or direct communication with the front desk. Hotels can also enable their guests to control in-room settings with their smartphones, including things like lights, TV, and room temperature. The technology is already there and hotels can provide all this through mobile apps without having to invest in additional hardware like in-room tablets or front desk kiosks.
This may sound counterintuitive but it isn’t. The idea behind the ‘contactless touch’ model of service in hotels is to provide safe interaction with guests via their smartphones without necessarily losing the human touch.
A great example of this is video chat for guest service - the hotel concierge or front desk staff can have personal interaction with guests without physical contact. They can provide immediate resolution to any concerns they might have, answer their questions, and even accept service requests. Headline picture depicts the experience within avery from both front desk and guest side.
Video chat may be a novelty for hotels, but guests are already using it in their daily communication. Tapping into guests’ communication habits and being available to provide personalized service via their mobile devices will be a huge differentiating factor for hotels moving forward.
When the Covid19 pandemic is over, the hospitality industry will have to adapt to the new normal. Among other things, this means relying more on contactless technology as we’ll see consumer demand shift towards hotels that have adapted to this model of service.
It’s important to understand that personal devices will play an even bigger role in every stage of the guest journey. But what does this mean in practice? What will guests’ expectations look like for different touchpoints of their stay?
In the pre-arrival stage, guests will want to book services and activities ahead of time from their own devices. A hotel app that provides information about available activities, services, and amenities and allows fast booking is the most convenient way for guests to plan their stay. And it doesn’t need to be a traditional downloadable mobile app. Today everything is an app. At avery guest experience is the primary focus and it provides guests with the information and interaction with the channel they prefer - messaging and web apps sent as simple links or embedded into pre-arrival emails. The best thing is these web apps can become a home screen app by simply bookmarking them.
With this approach, guests do not need to go to the app store and download the app but have the app available from the moment they book by simply accessing the link, and you will have an opportunity to upsell them on your services well before they step foot through your door.
At the arrival, guests will want to skip the line at the front desk or at the check-in kiosk and just use faceID to get their mobile room key issued. Seamless check-in and out with zero time waste and no guest/staff interaction will become the new norm and personal devices will be the key enabler of this trend.
During their stay, guests will want to get access to as many services as possible via their smartphones. If a guest can easily order food and beverage by browsing through your catalog on their phone, if they can ask for clean towels with a couple of taps, and book a car from the same app, they’ll feel like they have better control over their experience.
Post stay, you can send follow-ups and loyalty offerings to guests, promoting continuous engagement, and fostering sustainable guest loyalty.
With proper integrations in place, you’ll have data around user behavior that allows you to tailor your service to guest preferences.
The application data can supplement the data from your CRM so you can provide personalized service and offers to guests based on their previous stays or specific events. This enables a personalized guest experience that treats every guest like an individual, rather than a number.
By enabling guest experiences that are specifically designed for their personal devices, you’ll make your guests’ stay more comfortable and convenient, increasing their overall satisfaction with your hotel. Technology may never be a complete replacement for traditional service, but it is a way to enhance it and create digital touchpoints that more and more guests will be turning to in the near future.