There is a wrong way to implement the latest tech into your hotel chain. This article is your personal guide on how to not mess it up.
Believe it or not, there is a wrong way to implement tech into your hotel.
The hotel tech revolution has brought in some amazing changes that make your day-to-day that much easier and more profitable. Think online check-in, personalized upsells, and unique guest experiences.
But here’s the problem: anyone telling you that hotel technology is just a click away is being less than honest with you. These things take time.
In this article we’re going to discuss how to implement the latest technologies into your hotel the right way, plus:
- Why clear KPIs are the key to successfully integrating new technologies
- How to up your online check-in rate to 75%
- Our three-step process to optimizing the tech integration process
Let’s get straight to it.
Step One: You Can’t Implement Anything Without Clear KPIs
Hoteliers often say, “That which doesn’t get measured, doesn’t get managed”. So before you add that exciting new integration you need to define your process.
Here’s how to do it:
- Define your KPIs. What will this technology do for your business and how will you know if it’s successful or not? You’ll get the most accurate results by testing things one at a time. Don’t try to do it all at once—if you’re trying to implement online check-in, a communications hub, and custom upsells at the same time your team might get confused and your data muddled.
- Dive deep. Going to the supermarket and deciding what to make for dinner on the fly is never the most efficient way to do things. You need to know what they’re selling before you decide what’s on the menu. You need to go beyond the demo that you were sold, understand it completely, and then decide what KPIs you need to track.
- Spread the word. How are you going to keep your employees in the loop? Don’t just drop a new piece of tech in their hands and expect them to run with it. Make sure they have the proper notice and training to succeed.
- Give it time. If you were to start by implementing online check-in a good KPI might be % of guests who successfully completed their check-ins online. Give yourself a period of time (1 to 2 months) to see the effect it’s had on your operation.
Up next: how to actually implement new features and see if they’re working.
Step Two: How To Test Tech Innovations
Testing everything at once is a surefire recipe for failure. Pick one technology to try out and resist the temptation to change everything at once. Changes across the board require a lot of training and things can go wrong. Keep it simple and your employees will thank you.
This phase can be split into two parts: implementation and testing.
- Implementation. Your technology partner should provide you with a technical expert who knows the product inside out. They should be responsible for installing it and onboarding staff about how it’s used. Try to resist the urge of handling this yourself and let the experts do their job.
- Testing. The product is fully installed and ready to go. What next? Testing. But you don’t have to make all your clients into guinea pigs—start by focusing on a small subset of potential users.
You also want to look at the users who didn’t do it and try to understand why. We realized that with online check-in, the 25% of users who don’t attempt it usually cite the following reasons:
- The email notifying them went into their spam folder
- They couldn’t understand the email due to language differences
- They don’t understand the benefit this will give them i.e. they don’t realize it means they won’t have to wait in line as much when they get to the hotel
- They’re wary of trying out new technology
Some of these are fixable—some of these aren’t. But if you hadn’t defined your KPIs and tested them thoroughly then you’d have no idea what was and wasn’t working for you at this stage.
Learn more: Why Integrated Technology Is Not The Solution
Step Three: Rollout, Rinse And Repeat
By now you should have enough data points and feedback from your testing phase to begin a full-fledged roll-out. That means implementing it across all your systems and your entire hotel. Here’s what you need to do:
- Roll-out. Your technology partner should have provided videos and training materials to get your employees up to speed fast. These should cover basic usage scenarios like how to respond to guests who did or did not check-in, etc. You get the idea.
- Analyze KPIs. Did implementing online check-in (or whichever technology you were implementing) increase your check-in % by the amount you expected? What problems did you experience? What feedback do your employees or guests have about the new feature?
- Expand. This stage marks the end of one experiment and the beginning of the next. Now you’ll want to go back to phase one, choose another technology or feature within that technology to implement and repeat the process from start to finish.
If you started out with online check-in then you might want to follow our suggested sequence for tech implementation:
- Online check-in
- Guest App
- Communications Hub
- Targeted Upselling
Like we said earlier—adding a dozen features without taking the time to understand, test, and onboard your team properly means you won’t be getting the most out of them and you won’t truly have any idea if they’re running at their full potential.
They say that most receptionists have about 7 minutes of time with their guests when they arrive and check-in. How much of that time is wasted on form-filling, red-tape, and bureaucracy—rather than giving guests a personalized experience and a taste of the hotel’s brand.
Hotels using Duve find 75% of their guests use online check-in. That means 75% shorter queues at reception. And a lot more labor time freed up for things that matter—like getting to know your guests and focusing on the true spirit of hospitality rather than spending those 7 minutes of time getting them set up.
By following the process outlined in this article you can take a measured approach to tech advances and see the benefits for yourself. Not sure where to get started? Our success team is just a click away.