Guests want you to use technology. “Only” 75% of millennial consumers want to have seamless experiences. Which involves using hotel technology to make a seamless guest experience. But seamless doesn’t mean humanless.
The hospitality industry is evolving all the time. Strangely, hoteliers seem to be one of the most stubborn to adapt to the changes. This time, though, you need to go through a fast reality check: pandemic brought us all closer to the digital world.
And using tech solutions in hotels is one of them.
I remember the times when in the reception, we were making shift notes in the paper logbooks. And where property management systems were a cool thing to have — tho not required since Excel worked well too.
(I wish that person who thought about that needed to handle overbookings).
Luckily, now you have so many solutions available. Sometimes, what’s left for the receptionist is smiling and chatting with guests. Because with the rest help automation and chatbots.
While hotel technology is brilliant, it will never replace the human touch, empathy, and kindness involved in the hospitality experience.
You see, you definitely should embrace technology but remember what’s the main reason to do so. That is: enhancing the guest experience.
Juggling hotel technology and human touch to deliver an outstanding guest experience
Before you get lost in all the tech wonders you can use, here is a gentle reminder: there’s the balance in everything, also in juggling hotel tech and human touch.
So how to use hotel technology tools, like Duve, for example, without losing the hospitality touch? And instead – taking the guest experience to the next level?
Because yes, hotel tech is here to enhance the guest experience, which, after all, is the end goal for hoteliers.
Here is the answer:
Start with your mindset.
Start with a positive mindset and accept that things have changed around here.
You see, I’m starting with mindset because it’s crucial within the hospitality industry. Outstanding hospitality means approaching your guests, staff, and problems with a positive attitude.
Christine Trippi, hospitality consultant and leader in her book “Yes is the answer,” highlights a positive mindset as key to the company’s success. It’s a must for winning the hearts of your guests and your staff.
Care for your people, so they care for your guests.
Using hotel tech: property management systems, guest experience managers, communicators, etc., make your staff better organized.
In simple words: it makes the job easier.
It allows for better communication between different departments and takes away repetitive tasks. Also, it helps in avoiding misunderstandings and helps solve problems faster with easy communication.
Remember: happy staff means happy customers.
Replace dull, repetitive tasks that don’t bring any pleasure neither to your guests nor the staff.
This involves eliminating the paperwork related to the check-in with online check-in.
Creating emails, delivered automatically to your guests, and preparing canned responses to the most popular questions (who likes to answer the same questions over and over again, anyway?).
What happens once the guest arrives and all the data required for the check-in is already there, and the reservation is prepaid? A receptionist can put 100% effort and time into building a meaningful connection with a guest, which goes beyond the transaction.
Instead of awkwardly staring at the screen, trying to figure out if there’s something left to pay or why the heck passport scanner is not working.
Use tech tools to personalize the guest stay
What’s the point of all the data that your system gathers if you’re not using it?
Let’s imagine for a second that your guest has stayed at your apartment five times already. She always books the same type of room, buys coca-cola zero at your bar, and books a table for dinner around the same time.
Now, you can either make use of that knowledge and leave a bottle of coca-cola in the room beforehand. And the receptionist can confirm that “the table is already booked, shall I confirm with the restaurant or you wish to cancel it?”.
Or you can ignore all this information and proceed as always, without acknowledging that she stayed here so many times; she probably doesn’t need the explanation of what’s the breakfast time.
Go beyond – ask for feedback.
You see, there are many ways you can enhance the guest experience. I don’t know a better idea to improve something than asking for direct feedback from the customers.
This is where technology comes in handy as you can create surveys and send them to the guests.
Connect with your guests before their stay
Meet customers at their preferred channels to communicate with them: maybe it’s an email, Messenger, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
Guests want to interact with a human, and when they chat with you, they know there’s a human behind the screen. The study by Trust You found that consumers are more satisfied with interactions via text messages. Since, in general, chatting is faster than calling.
Anyway, who likes to call and talk to the robot, repeating ten times what’s the reason to call? So the robot can direct you to the real person? I’ve never heard about a person who loves to talk to a phone robot.
It’s all about creating a guest like a person, not a number.
Isn’t that what we all want? Let’s not lose the focus that hospitality is about human beings. While technology, like Duve, is here to take the workload away and improve the guest experience, it’s not here to replace the hospitality flame. So use it wisely, starting with enhancing your staff experience so they can do the same for your guests.
Ewa Gabara is the founder of Don’t Mess With The Receptionist. Long-time hostel worker turned into a content writer and copywriter. She helps hospitality and travel brands with words on their blogs, websites, and digital marketing. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.