Technology and the Future of Hotel Guest Experience
Recently Google conducted a study1 to uncover global insights on smartphone usage in the course of travellers’ entire journey, from shopping to booking, and how they use mobile devices while travelling.
The results? User experience matters across all markets and devices when it comes to booking, with smartphone users citing price as the most crucial factor in their decision-making. Straightforward search functionality and a simple booking process are also cited as essential features. This essentially means that in today’s technological world, smartphones are the new concierge.
The digital transformation and travel industry are now more tightly linked than one might think. Every aspect of the tourist experience has transformed – from booking, to the actual trip, and returning home. This is due to the fact that other industries in the tourism sector have since gone digital to provide convenience to users. For instance, the onslaught of new security measures, software upgrades, and cost-cutting measures has significantly enhanced the average person’s airport experience.
Additionally, airlines are also paving the way for technology-supported digital transformation. The new technology that has seeped its way into planes includes Wi-Fi access, a real-time flight tracker map on screens, as well as an end-to-end contactless experience – the travellers’ smartphones can be used for check-in, selecting in-flight entertainment, and payment options.
With the tourism industry boasting technology usage, what do all of these mean for the hotel industry, and how can they utilise the advanced technology to enable better service?
The benefits of digitalisation
With the rise in popularity of smartphones, travellers have become accustomed to carrying their phones with them at all times. This allows for accessibility and convenience, especially when travelling abroad and not being able to use their usual setup.
Technological enhancements are becoming a staple of the modern travel experience, even for hotel brands under the category of upscale and luxury. From booking hotels on the go to checking in before arriving at the hotel, the future of hospitality is looking very smart indeed.
An example of digitalisation and its impact can be shown in the way guests initiate their stay through hotel mobile check-in. Guests can simply pull their phones out of their pockets and check themselves in, no matter their physical location. It is a great way to truly welcome your guests with a great first impression, as they no longer have to wait in line for check-in.
In addition, the implementation of guest service platforms that provide digital services offers guests an alternative way to communicate needs to the hotel contactlessly. A well-designed platform will allow them to request items such as extra towels or make room service orders without needing to call and wait for a busy staff to pick up on the other end of the line. Guests can also view information about amenities available to them, read notifications from the hotel, and get directions to attractions near the hotel.
Manual methods of fulfilling simple tasks carry many opportunities for errors to occur, and this might result in a decline in guest satisfaction. For example, when a guest calls the reception to place a meal order to his room, miscommunications could potentially take place when verbalising the order by the guest, noting down the order by the receptionist, and misreading of order by the kitchen staff.
Contactless technology significantly reduces such human errors by eliminating the need to input information manually. When the guest makes a request for services on the platform, the message is routed to the relevant department directly and displayed as submitted. This means less wasted manpower resources for hotels, a shorter time required to fulfil requests, and more accurate orders to happier guests.
Exceptional Digital Guest Experiences
The hotel-guest engagement doesn’t have to end when guests retreat to their rooms. Via an online chat platform, your staff can continue to converse with guests contactlessly while they remain in the comfort of their rooms.
Besides the reduction of human errors, as mentioned previously, automation of non-essential tasks will also aid hotel operations in the enhancement of productivity. As the team gets familiar with this new and improved work processes, staff will find more flexibility and freedom to go above and beyond in creating a memorable experience for guests – something that operations staff might not find the time or resources to do when they are bogged down with endless manual work.
With the digitalisation of guest communications comes powerful knowledge on guest behaviours which can be tapped on for stay personalisation. When a guest expresses interest on the platform for a particular tourist attraction, the hotel can delight the guest with a discounted promotion on entrance tickets if this is part of their concierge service. Similarly, when a guest requests a baby cot, an automated text could be prompted to inform him of in-house babysitting services, which parents might appreciate when looking to explore the city on their own.
There are myriad ways that technology paves the way for the new generation of hotel guest experience. Digital Transformation is an important trend for modern hotels looking to operate sustainably. The pace of change in the digital world means that hotels need to embrace new technologies to stay competitive in the market.
Vouch provides a new definition for exceptional hotel guest experience that hotels worldwide, including Singapore, can use to increase customer loyalty and satisfaction. From check-in to room requests and contactless dining, Vouch provides a holistic solution covering every digital touchpoint during the guest journey. This is just the beginning of a new chapter for the hotel industry in Singapore and globally.