Before the pandemic, adoption of guest-facing mobile technology to enhance customer service in hotels were quickly rising. Features like mobile check-in and auto messaging solutions gained traction and were becoming the norm at many hotels. With the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, the need for these applications have soared tremendously to facilitate a new age of hospitality: where social distancing is a necessity and your tech stack is now the face of your organization.
Guest-facing mobile technology was never meant to replace the warm hospitality provided by a person. There are things that even the most sophisticated AI won’t be able to replicate: like a warm smile greeting you as you enter a hotel. Mobile applications like self-check in and messaging tools were meant to elevate the customer experience and improve workflow by cutting down on arduous administrative tasks, leaving more room for your team to deliver that ‘TLC’.
As this demand grew in travellers, hospitality tech went under a bit of a revolution and is now being able to keep up with this shift in demand. But despite this technological advancement in the industry, guests still are expecting that warm human touch every time they visit a hotel. Small talk, authentic greetings, and personalized touches made their trips memorable.
How can your guest-facing mobile technology deliver that warmth during a time where we are forced to physically stay apart?
In a pre-pandemic world, communication started from the moment your guests booked the hotel until after their stay. This communication strategy is integral to keeping a guest well informed and engaged throughout their visit and building engagement post-stay. During the pandemic, hotels needed to step-up their communication game to reassure, inform and connect with their guests. Aside from logistics and trip confirmation messages, pre-check in communication has become more important than ever to ensure guests are feeling safe and comfortable during these times.
Helpful information should be sent pre-stay like new hotel protocols and policies designed to help keep guests and staff healthy and safe. In addition, communicating things like changes to hotel amenities and how to use certain facilities during the pandemic should also be sent to ensure there aren’t any unpleasant surprises upon arrival.
Most importantly, since hotels are limiting physical contact as much as possible during this time, ensure to include contactless check in and out instructions for guests. Apps like Whatsapp are going to be integral at this time as your main guest-facing mobile technology. It allows instant two-way communication and replaces direct physical contact with staff in this instance. Let them know to message if they need any assistance or if they have any questions or requests during their stay. Touch free check-out instructions can also be sent through there and remember to thank them for their stay.
It’s important to note that many hotels are operating under new health and safety protocols and clients will appreciate being asked for feedback that will further improve the customer experience. During a time when businesses are trying to limit physical touch points, connecting with your guests through digital communications and platforms throughout their guest journey is a great measure to ensure your guests are feeling comfortable and connected.
Touch-free touch points
Online communication has started to replace many human touch points in our new touch-free world. What makes the difference here is the ability to personalize your digital communications to be effective. It’s as essential as welcoming each guest walking through the front lobby with a smile, and learning their names instead of just treating a guest as a reservation number. It’s important to translate that hospitality into your guest-facing mobile technology.
Many of todays’ hotel tech enables hotels to personalize their guest communications on a level that surpasses what was traditionally possible. Typically, when a new guest arrives, the front desk staff would ask for their name or confirmation number. However, with integrated messaging and check-in software, communications are automatically personalized with guest information and triggered by guest reservation data, creating personable, relevant messaging that makes guests feel catered to and attended to at every touchpoint in their customer journey.
What makes this whole process seamless is data integration with a PMS and hotel CRM. When a CRM is integrated with a messaging solution or hotel app, reservation data from the PMS is then used to automatically personalize messaging and trigger message delivery at the appropriate time. On the flipside, messages from guests (like requests or inquiries) can then be synced to the guest’s reservation for quicker service and resolutions. Data transparency and automations that are integrated with hotel systems increase customer engagement and reinforce the human touch. As managing communications with guests becomes easier through these automated channels, hotel staff can focus on keeping the property clean & safe, while thinking of ways to make their guests’ experience special.
The landscape of hospitality has rapidly changed. Hotels are navigating through the ongoing challenge of delivering hospitality when forced to adhere to social distancing and limiting touchpoints. Delivering personalized digital communication and allowing two way messaging throughout the guest cycle helps replace some parts of human connection, especially during these socially distanced times. Having a robust data integration allows hotels to automate most of these communications and triggers at key touchpoints to maintain engagement. Lastly, having a PMS and hotel CRM integrated solution will be key in achieving the highest level of guest personalization to elevate their experience, improving staff workflow and maintaining that human touch in this touch-free world.