In the past, hotels relied heavily on online travel agencies (OTAs) to reach their target audiences and secure guest bookings. However, hotels now have the chance to take back market share from OTAs and start owning the customer relationship entirely.
How? By harnessing the latest technology to create the best customer experience. It’s no longer an option for hotels to view technology as an optional add-on for guests. It’s now a crucial element of a hotel’s business model and can be the key differentiator between a guest selecting your hotel versus a competitor.
If you’re still not convinced, we’ve listed five ways technology can improve your hotel’s services, encourage interactive guest engagement, and increase customer loyalty and return visits.
1- Treat guests like they’re your friends
This means reaching out to guests before their booking, during their stay at your hotel, as well as following up with them to check everything went OK after they’ve left. Put your guests and their needs at the heart of your operation. In the past, this task was near-impossible to implement at scale, however, with the advent of technology, it becomes much more achievable.
First, you need a consistent and trustworthy digital footprint. This includes a website (with booking function), mobile app, and social media channels, at the very least. This ensures your brand can be found by guests when they conduct searches online. If you’re concerned about building these channels on your own, particularly the mobile app, there are third-party solutions you can utilise.
Once your digital channels have been established, you can push out messages and notifications to communicate your brand to customers in order to capture their interest at all stages of their holiday journey. Leverage your hotel’s unique facilities, services and location. Analyse your digital data to learn what guests like and respond to, and include this in your future marketing campaigns. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and take creative risks — this is the only way you’ll stand out from the crowd!
2- Don’t be afraid to get personal
The trouble with personalised experiences is that they’re, well, personal. Every guest will have a different standard of what constitutes “personalised service”. Some will expect to be greeted upon entering the hotel, whereas others would prefer to just check-in to their rooms through an app.
Hotels now have access to technology that can give them an unprecedented amount of data on their guests. In particular, cloud-based property management systems helps hoteliers provide a personalised and more convenient experience. Hotels can record data on guest preferences, from ordering room service to enjoying spa amenities, which allows staff to assist guests in much more specific ways.
It’s important to remember: Guests are not just visiting your hotel for a room. You’re selling unique guest experiences from start to end. However, with the help of personal data and insights, hotels can deliver a personal touch for every guest that visits.
3. Integrate all communication channels into one platform
In this modern age where almost everything is available at a click, guests now expect quicker service (but still at excellent standards). Operations carried out by hotel staff should be as streamlined as possible, with all internal communication between staff optimized in order to keep everyone updated and engaged.
This type of internal order can be facilitated with new technology, such as cloud-based mobile apps and other property management systems. It not only allows staff members to seamlessly communicate with each other in real time but guests can also start providing feedback and make requests, such as for room service or entertainment add-ons.
4. Appeal to the new generation of tech-savvy guests
It’s important to keep thinking about the future and how to appeal to millennials and Gen Z. One of the no-brainers is to upgrade your technology to better suit their fast-paced lifestyle and modern needs. Why make your hotel the equivalent of a history lesson for tech-savvy guests?
When installing new technology in your hotel, it’s important to ensure it’s still user-friendly for people and employees of all ages. Keep your user experience (also known as UX) simple and intuitive to use. This will encourage more and more people to use it!
For example, let’s take a mobile app as an example. With an app, guests can check-in and out of the hotel, gain easy access to their room (no more lost or forgotten key cards), order room service, make appointments at any on-site amenities, and — if the hotel is really advanced — dim the lights and control the sound speakers. All of these small thrills and conveniences will add up into an unforgettable and unrivalled guest experience.
5. Feedback: It’s Good Even When It’s Bad
Bad luck and mistakes are inevitable. It’s part and parcel of the running a hotel. There will always be an unexpected leaking tap or a malfunctioning TV. However, the way a hotel responds to their guest feedback and concerns can make or break their experience. Remember, as stated before, you’re not just renting a room. You’re selling an entire experience. You need to ensure it’s a positive one.
This is where new technology, such as mobile apps, is not just about automation and efficiency. It also creates feedback opportunities for hotels to listen and learn about guests in order to build lasting relationships. If done right, you can secure the loyalty of your guests for a lifetime and even extend your influence into their circle of friends and family.
Technology can give your hotel an edge over your competitors, let you take back control of your hotel’s income from third-party vendors, and ultimately increase the lifetime value of your guests.
Home2nite provides hotels with guest engagement software solutions. At Home2nite, we manage the entire guest visit, from pre-booking to post-stay, and ensure your guests have a seamless and enjoyable experience. Like what you read above? At Home2nite, we’ve got even more insights and tools to share! Click here for more information on how we can ensure guests are 100% satisfied with their stay at your hotel.