The Next Big Thing: A Practical Guide To Hotel Automation

Hotel technology isn’t about robot staff—it’s about automation. This article is your guide on why you need it, and exactly how to do it.
hotel automation

Guest expectations are sky-high.

They expect a smooth check-in, exemplary service, and a problem-free stay. And if they don’t get it, they’ll head to TripAdvisor and start leaving negative reviews.

But with staff shortages putting your business under more increasing pressure, how’s a hotelier supposed to cope?

Our answer? Embrace hotel automation. This article covers:

  • Why hotel automation is your secret weapon in the battle against staff shortages
  • How AI forecasting not only saves money but also drives revenue
  • Our step-by-step guide to implementing hotel automation

Let’s dive right in.

benefits of hotel automations

Discover The Power Of Hotel Automation

The hotel industry is constantly changing. Hoteliers have had to come to grips with new concepts like bleisure (business travel + leisure travel), digitainment, workcation, etcetera at an alarming pace. The hotel tech revolution is the latest in a series of changes the hotel industry faces.

Hotel automation allows you to use technology to do menial and burdensome tasks that your staff were previously doing. This not only frees them up to perform tasks that require a human touch (hospitality) but also helps you cope with staff shortages—you can get the job done with fewer people.

For Example: In the past, guests would check in at a hotel, and spend fifteen to twenty minutes doing administrative tasks like filling in their details, photocopying their passports, and registering their cars before they could finally head to their room.

Now, you can automate that process.

Guests can check in online before they’ve even arrived. It saves time, reclaims staff labor, and improves the overall guest experience as there are fewer queues at the front desk full of guests trying to check in and out simultaneously.

Learn More: Six Practical Tips For Surviving The Hospitality Labor Shortage Crisis

 

The Hotel Tech Revolution Has Only Just Begun

Hotel technology isn’t going away anytime soon. One study by Duetto that surveyed hoteliers discovered that 77% of respondents plan on increasing their hotel tech spending over the next three years.

“Tech adoption in hotels has been increasingly accelerating as hotels seek greater efficiencies in both front and back of the house. It’s promising to see that more industry leaders are focusing on tech adoption, tech upgrades, and creating an integrated tech stack.” — David Woolenberg, CEO, Duetto

But it’s not just about integrated systems and sales forecasts. Large hotel chains are investing huge amounts of money into new hotel technologies, and while they haven’t all seen widespread adoption yet, the possibilities are enticing.

These include:

  • AI-Assistant Integration. Upon entering a room a guest can control everything with their voice—lighting, TV, digital photos, air con, etc. The system can even remember individual guest preferences for use across chains.
  • Smart Mirror Glass. Like to think in the shower? Us too. Smart glass technology saves what you’ve written on the mirror and emails the notes directly to you, so you never miss a thing.
  • Advanced Digital Keys. We’re all familiar with digital keys. The Hilton’s latest twist on it allows multiple guests to have access to the same room. Which is great if you’re staying with a family in connecting rooms. And no getting locked out if your husband left his phone in the room.
  • Duve’s Advanced Automations. We’re hard at work implementing post-stay automations (reach out to guests with automated marketing messages once they’ve checked out) and anonymous guest automations (guests arriving at your hotel without checking in beforehand can be onboarded to your automation system without any fuss).

Marriott Bonvoy is even taking hotel technology into spaces it’s never been before: the NFT (non-fungible token) market. They launched The Power Of Travel NFT series to attract Generation Z Guests and Web 3.0 fans.

Here’s the thing: smart glass, robot staff, and NFTs are fun to think about, but they’re all prohibitively expensive outliers–and not actually that useful.
Luckily for us, there are much more practical (and profitable) forms of hotel technology available, like automation.

Next Up: why you should consider investing in hotel automation.

3 Reasons To Implement Hotel Automation

We reached out to our network of hoteliers and asked them how they’ve implemented hotel automation into their businesses—what’s worked for them, and what hasn’t.
Here’s what they had to say:

1. Do More With Less

To keep the staff you do have happy and stress-free, take the burden off their shoulders by automating monotonous and repetitive tasks that can and should be done by a robot, like check-in or check-out.
When you automate these processes, you let guests do it for themselves before they even show up. That frees your employees up to be deployed where a human touch can make a real difference i.e. hospitality and problem-solving.

2. AI Forecasting Is Scarily

Accurate (And Profitable)
When you have a smart AI system integrated into your Property Management System (PMS) it automatically collates data and can help make important predictions that drive revenue and increase hotel efficiency across the board.
Without hotel technology, it’s incredibly exhausting collecting the data points required to implement a smart overbooking strategy or profitable hotel room upgrade strategy.

3. It’s Good For The Planet

A lot of guests feel strongly about going green. That’s something hotel automation can help with—automate your lights, fans, aircon, or heating to turn off when guests leave their room, and you’ll not only save on electricity but help save the planet.
As you can see, there are a slew of benefits to implementing hotel automation into your business. In the next section, we’re going to tell you exactly how to do it. But beware, there is a wrong way to go about this. Check out the link below.

Learn More: Why There’s A Wrong Way To Implement Tech Into Your Hotel And How To Avoid It

Your Quick & Easy Guide To Hotel Automation

connectedHotel

Trying to implement multiple hotel automations at the same time is a recipe for disaster. You need to take it slow, understand the automation fully, and track your KPIs to ensure it’s working as intended.

That’s why we recommend proceeding in this order:

  1. Online Check-in
  2. Guest App
  3. Communications Hub
  4. Targeted Upselling

Here’s how to go about it:

1. Online check-in

Online check-in automation can be very basic, or extremely in-depth. Talk with your tech partner and make sure that it:

  • Syncs with your property management system
  • Adds guest documents to the booking automatically (passport, driving license, etc)
  • Gathers data for customer segmentation
  • Allow guests to opt-in for marketing
  • Collect and process payments

Not all tech partners provide this—but Duve does. Hotels in our network found that 75% of their guests completed online check-in, which frees up a lot of labor.

When you’re implementing online check-in (and all of these automations), you want to ensure that your tech partner works closely with you during the onboarding process—providing the relevant training and expertise to your staff to ensure error-free implementation.

2. Guest App

A guest app allows your guests to have everything they need during their stay on their phone—all without having to download an app.

A good guest app will include reservation information, a local guidebook (with images and videos), plus interactive local maps. With this basic information to hand, your staff won’t be swarmed by guests asking the same questions repeatedly.

Our guest app also includes a mobile door key that can be shared (or revoked) with guests at the tap of a button—a time saver when you have large groups of families or friends staying together.

3. Communications Hub

A communications hub unifies all the conversations you have with guests, regardless of channel. Whether that’s WhatsApp, email, or text, everything is on-hand on one screen for your staff to see and respond to.

It also gives you the power to:

  • Mass message guests with smart filters
  • Delegate and assign messages to different members of staff
  • View customer data to send custom upsells to specific groups of guests
  • Use canned messages to save time
  • Offer custom upsells via chat

For Example: One of your guests turns up at reception to check in with his family. They need a crib—something your staff were sadly unaware of and perhaps don’t have right now. The result? An unhappy family waiting for their crib while your staff scrambles to find one.

But if you had used the prescheduled message feature in your communications hub this could all have been avoided.

You could have sent a message to all guests arriving at the hotel with infants asking whether they’d require a crib in their room or not. This would not only prevent any problems but also provide a level of customized hospitality that guests with young families are sure to appreciate.

“Using Duve’s communication platform has taken us lightyears ahead in terms of guest communication”

— Dor Levin, Fattal

4. Targeted Upselling

Targeted upselling is ideal for automation—most of your staff are hospitality experts, not sales experts. It’s far more effective to automate this process than leave it to your employees.

Targeted upselling allows you to craft and send offers to specific customer segments. You might want to advertise the use of your conference room for business travelers—but telling newlyweds on their honeymoon about it would be much less effective.

It also allows you to send offers, deals, and other ancillary services to guests before (and during) their stay. A well-designed upselling automation would also manage payments and inventory—not to mention syncing all that data with your PMS automatically.

Keep Your Eyes On The Prize

As we mentioned earlier, the way in which you implement hotel automations is extremely important.

Adding too many features without taking the time to train your staff in their use and carefully track KPIs means you won’t be getting the full benefits of these automations.

“Duve was the turning point for our brand engagement, the ability to broadcast personalized messages to guests changed everything for us”

Dina R., Organizational Consultant, Setai Hotels

The key to implementing hotel automations successfully involves choosing the right tech partner. They should be supporting you every step of the way by:

  • Providing videos and training materials during the roll-out process
  • Suggesting key KPIs for each automation for you to track, and assisting you with the interpretation of results
  • Guiding you through the expansion process as you add new automations to your hotel, seeing what works for your business, and what doesn’t

Learn More: The Cost Of Cheap Tech Solutions Is Steeper Than You Think

Create Your Own Hotel Automations & Leverage The Power Of Technology

Don’t just take our word for it.

You can implement hotel technology into your business right now and see the benefits for yourself.

Duve is at the forefront of the hotel tech revolution. Our team is made up of hoteliers and hospitality-industry veterans that know what challenges you’re facing because they’ve been there themselves.

Ready to fight back against staff shortages and leverage the power of hotel automation? That’s something we can help you with.

I Want To Try Hotel Automation In My Business

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