Apps, chatbots, RFID, in-room devices, and the internet of things – a host of technologies are opening up and improving the guest’s experience finds The Future ofthe In-Stay Experience report, which is free to download now.
Hotels often feel held hostage by TripAdvisor reviews, but property apps, digital concierges and more are helping hotels reach the guest and react far better to their needs says EyeforTravel’s new report.
Hotels can now monitor and track guests around their properties using installed apps that can access the guest’s location or Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tied to keycards. They can then log every guest request through AI-driven concierges operating through chatbots or smart speakers that mean the guest doesn’t need to ring down to front desk. The growing Internet of Things (IoT), which can be controlled from a single device in the guest’s room or their app, can allow the hotel to know what temperature the guest likes their room to be set at, what entertainment they watch, and when items need to be replaced.
Armed with this technology, hotels can personalise down to an individual level for guests they know and use aggregate data to predict what they should recommend to new guests. Services are even springing up that amalgamate data from many different hotels to learn from similar properties to identify patterns in guest behaviour and make recommendations for add-ons to the guest’s stay.
This will give the hotel of the future a key edge in increasing customer satisfaction and also driving increased revenues from ancillaries or pushing entirely new revenue streams.
The new ability to react in a smarter and faster way to a guest will also help to push up those all-important review scores, as the best time to receive guest feedback is while the guest is still on property. Hotel platforms and apps make it easier for guests to instantly message any issues to the property. Being able to fix an issue before it escalates into a complaint is vital in today’s world of online review sites and digital endorsements.
Following up with a bottle of champagne delivered to the room or a free dinner, can make a guest less likely to vent on TripAdvisor, or even better, turn the complaint into a compliment with a post about the fantastic service provided by the hotel. This has a demonstrable effect on the bottom line, with increased review scored tied to better performing hotels with higher revenues according to more than one study.
However, with this power hotels will also need to learn where the fine balance lies between helping their guests and becoming overbearing. “Learning what a customer orders, be it craft beer or double-shot espresso, is a benefit. Offering specials that walk that line are okay, but to cross it needs to get consent from the client,” says Jeffrey Parker, Vice President of Hospitality Systems, Red Lion Hotels Corporation. “If Joe Smith tells us he wants Jack Daniels and a double-cheese burger in his room with every stay, we need to act on that. If he always orders a cheese burger, we should suggest that,”
The hotels that master guest communications and services through this growing proliferation of smart technologies in a way that is appropriate for their clientele will be the ones that come to thrive in the increasingly competitive accommodation market.