The Contactless Hotel Experience: Innovate or Get Left Behind

Discover how contactless solutions are revolutionizing the hotel industry, enhancing guest experiences with seamless technology. From digital keys to virtual concierges, learn how to stay ahead in the hospitality game.

June 4, 2024
The Contactless Hotel Experience: Innovate or Get Left Behind

Welcome to the future of hospitality, where your guests' favorite touchpoint is... well, no touch at all! We at Event Temple, did some digging into the world of contactless hotel guest experiences that are more engaging than a five-star review.

The hospitality industry has always been about offering guest-centric, high-touch experiences delivered by caring and courteous staff. However, guest expectations have shifted dramatically, with 88 percent of customers expecting companies to accelerate digital initiatives that reduce the need for physical interactions. Your guests no longer want to wait in crowded lobbies to ask a question, touch laminated room service menus to place an F&B order, or flip through paper compendiums to find local activities. This shift is pushing hotels and casinos worldwide to seek ways to offer personalized, high-touch customer service in a touchless way.

Contactless solutions have become essential in creating seamless and engaging hotel stays. This article delves into the latest trends and best practices for designing a contactless hotel guest experience, leveraging data from leading industry sources.

What is a Contactless Hotel Guest Experience?

A contactless hotel guest experience uses technology to minimize physical interactions between guests and staff. This includes self-service check-ins, digital room keys, mobile payments, and virtual concierges. These technologies enhance efficiency and guest satisfaction by providing convenience, autonomy, and safety. Essentially, it relies on digital interfaces and Artificial Intelligence to allow guests to control their experience without needing human interaction. This means hotels can engage their guests through digital tools, putting guests in charge of their own stay.

Blog | MyStay | Global relationship platform for hotels and their guests
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The Tech Gap

Despite the push towards contactless experiences, many hotels find themselves in a tricky spot. Investment in hospitality technology remains strong, with 78% of hoteliers planning to increase their spending in this area over the next three years. Yet, 54% of operators say that what’s on the market tech-wise is not advanced enough to meet their needs.

Moreover, not all guests have the same expectations. Gen Z and millennials, for example, are spearheading the ‘bleisure’ trend, where a trip is primarily for business but includes leisure activities. The chance to explore new destinations and cultures appeals greatly to these generations, making them more likely to value digital concierge services that help them explore and make reservations.

Benefits of Contactless Solutions for Hotels

Enhanced Safety and Hygiene

Post-pandemic, contactless solutions reduce physical touchpoints, ensuring a safer environment for guests. According to a survey by Criton, 80% of hotel guests would download a hotel app that enables them to check in, check out, and access hotel information.

Improved Efficiency

Self-service kiosks and mobile check-ins streamline the check-in process, reducing wait times and freeing up staff to focus on more personalized services. Mews reports a 30% reduction in check-in times with self-service technology.

Guest Autonomy

Guests can control their stay experience through mobile apps and digital tools, offering flexibility and convenience. This autonomy boosts satisfaction and encourages repeat visits. Apaleo data indicates a 20% increase in guest satisfaction scores for hotels using mobile apps.

24/7 Availability

Digital concierges and chatbots provide round-the-clock assistance, ensuring guests have access to support at any time without needing a large night staff. Hotel Tech Report highlights that 85% of guest inquiries can be handled by AI-driven concierges.

Personalized Experiences

Advanced analytics and AI-driven tools personalize guest interactions, tailoring services and recommendations based on guest preferences and past behaviors. A survey found that 47% of travelers are willing to share more personal information with accommodation providers if it means receiving a personalized service.

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Implementing Contactless Technologies

Use the Power of QR Codes

Quick response (QR) codes are advanced 2D barcodes that guests can scan with their personal mobile devices. They can be used to send emails, open chat windows, and connect phone calls, as well as link to digital documents, websites, and customized URLs. Initially garnering hype in the early 2000s, QR codes were fading into obscurity until the pandemic—and better integration with smartphone operating systems—brought them back to life. In 2021, 75.8 million smartphone users used QR codes, and that number is projected to hit 99.5 million by 2025.

3 reasons why contactless event check-in is your safest bet - Sprintr

Capitalize on the Functions of NFC

There are nearly 4 billion smartphones worldwide, and most have Near Field Communication (NFC) as a standard feature. NFC provides secure wireless transmission between smart devices using electromagnetic fields. One device holds an “NFC Tag,” a low-cost chip that can be embedded or stuck on items. The tag transmits data within a reduced range—typically only a few centimeters—to a smart device capable of receiving that data. Unlike Bluetooth technology, NFC is instantaneous and doesn’t require pairing or permission to transmit data. Hoteliers can use efficient NFC technology similarly to QR codes, for accessing hotel Wi-Fi, specific hotel and area information, and as a secure mobile key.

Experience the Benefits of Beacons

Beacons are another form of contactless tech changing how guests interact with hotels and can be particularly effective when used in combination with hotel apps. Beacons provide a form of proximity or location-based marketing. They act like lighthouses, sending out low-energy Bluetooth signals that detect the presence of nearby mobile devices. Once detected, the beacon triggers preset actions to deliver a contextual and personalized message to the guest.

For example, a beacon can trigger a welcome message the moment guests walk through your hotel door, offering an upgrade to a suite or sharing the exclusive benefits of joining your loyalty program. A stroll past your on-site restaurant results in a message popping up with a mouthwatering image of your best-selling menu item and a list of specials. Or when a guest walks past your fitness center, a beacon can trigger an instant push notification to their mobile device, letting them know about available one-on-one training sessions or a sunrise yoga class for the next day, along with the ability to sign up right then.


Why Hotels need Digital Key?
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Mobile Check-In and Digital Keys

It’s now possible to check into a hotel without interacting with hotel staff. This might leave some traditional hoteliers puzzled: How do guests get their room keys without speaking to someone? Increasingly, guests are accessing their rooms using technology-based key solutions, such as OpenKey, which allows guests to use their smartphones as keys. This solution offers increased convenience and better security. Data shows that 74% of hotel guests would use mobile key technology if offered the opportunity.

Virtual Concierges

Virtual concierges and chatbots can handle a variety of guest requests, from room service orders to local recommendations, offering instant responses and freeing up staff for more complex tasks.

Contactless Payments

Implementing mobile payment solutions and contactless payment terminals speeds up transactions and reduces physical contact. Offering multiple payment options caters to diverse guest preferences, enhancing the overall experience.

Best Practices for Implementation

Make sure all your digital tools and interfaces are as smooth and easy as your guests' favorite vacation cocktail – complicated systems can frustrate guests faster than a misplaced reservation. Train your staff to be tech-savvy superheroes, ready to tackle any digital dilemma that comes their way. Even in a contactless world, having staff who can assist with tech issues is a must. Keep your contactless solutions fresh and fabulous by regularly updating them based on guest feedback and the latest tech trends. Staying ahead of the curve will ensure your hotel continues to wow guests and exceed their expectations.

Conclusion

Implementing contactless solutions in hotels is no longer optional; it is a necessity for staying competitive and meeting modern guest expectations. By leveraging technology to enhance safety, efficiency, and personalization, hotels can create a seamless and engaging guest experience that fosters loyalty and drives revenue. With the right strategies and tools, the future of hospitality is not just contactless but also limitless.

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