Previously we looked at the importance of hospitality tech due to the rise of the tech-engaged guest. In this next instalment, we’ll start to elaborate on some of the key trends arising as a result of the ‘always connected’, modern consumer.
1. Today’s guests are tech savvy
Today’s consumers use their smartphone for everything – from working on the go, to keeping in touch with family and friends and checking the latest news headlines. It’s like those shiny compact devices have become an extension of our arms.
Therefore, it’s perhaps not surprising to learn that this extends to their holidays – 45% of TripAdvisor users use their smartphone for everything to do with their break, and 53% of consumers have at least one hotel app on their phone. But while our smartphones are crucial to the booking process, in the digital era they’re equally important in your ability to meet guests’ expectations for a digitally enriched stay.
It starts as soon as they check in.
As soon as your customer crosses that threshold pretty much everyone (an impressive 98%!) expect high-speed Wi-Fi.
But they want more…
Over half of hotel guests want to transform their phone into a room key and a bank card for the duration of their stay.
Today’s reality is that guests demand an increasingly digital and tech-savvy experience. If you’re to succeed in this modern era of hospitality, you can’t afford for your establishment to fall short because innovative services create a competitive advantage for hotels, while increasing customer satisfaction and retention.
Reviewing the findings of one industry survey, nearly half of visionaries, influencers and executives are currently considering investing in tech that enhances the guest experience.
So what could they invest in?
The practical application
In no way an exhaustive or prescriptive list, the following are some ideas to give you food for thought…
Before they’ve even arrived, you could allow your guests to reserve a parking space online so that when they turn up, they have the smoothest possible check-in service.
Upon check-in, why not allow your guests access to their room before they step inside? By giving them control of the environmental factors, such as the lighting and temperature they can set everything to their liking while you take their bags to the room.
Then using occupancy sensors, you can inform guests about where/when certain areas of the hotel are busiest. Knowing this may encourage them to wait before heading straight to a crowded bar, or take advantage of an empty meeting room to take care of some admin after checking in.
And the pay off?
Engaged guests who are immersed in your overall experience will spend up to 46% more on ancillary products and services. They’re also up to 80% more likely to leave a positive review and are 40% more likely to return to your hotel in the future.
2. Hospitality companies are technology companies
If you operate in the hospitality sector today, like it or not, you are a technology business because when your guests check in, they want to carry on with their lives comfortably and seamlessly while staying with you. This can only be achieved through the smart use of digital technologies.
Analysts Mintel discovered that some of the most important ways that hospitality businesses are leveraging the power of digital tech is through self-service, location services and social listening – all are designed to make the guest experience simpler and more enjoyable.
The possibilities for how you incorporate hospitality tech into your overall experience are virtually limitless and it could be really easy to get carried away in the pursuit of crafting the ultimate experience. So the question you really need to ask yourself is – how far do you need to go?
The practical application
In one industry survey, it recommends hitting guests the second they step foot in reception to “make a bold statement with technology”. Hotel Zetta in San Francisco certainly gives the ‘wow!’ factor with its VR cube installation. But on the more realistic side, something simple like digital check-ins would speed up the process and get guests to their rooms quicker.
Then consider your building as a whole. A virtual reality tour of the facilities might increase use of the gym, pool, gardens or lounge areas. Then when your guests are in the room, ensuring that their smartphone can connect to other devices, like the TV, ensures they can access their favourite apps from home, such as Netflix.
And don’t ignore the opportunity that business travellers present – 69% of business travellers want to extend their trips for leisure purposes. Think about how you can get personalised ads in front of them based on their previous browsing history or travel purchases so you can make tailored recommendations on local experiences they may enjoy, like guided food and cultural tours.
Hospitality tech isn’t all about robots and flashy new innovations, it’s about delivering tailored messages to the right audience in order to create a personalised experience. Therefore, knowing how to adapt to the digital age is all about knowing your audience and knowing what’s going to ‘wow’ them. There’s no point investing in tech because it’s the new shiny thing, it has to add value by meeting your customer’s experience expectations.
In next week’s instalment we will look at how mobile devices are far more prevalent than desktops now, and how that’s shaping the way you need to interact with your guests, as well as considering how you can get closer to them in order to anticipate their needs and personalise their experience.
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