The hospitality industry has historically been bound to its traditions. Everything from the way guests were accommodated to how guest loyalty was build was the direct result of methods that had been tried and tested for many generations.
But this is no longer the case. The current hospitality landscape is one of constant change and innovation and as such, it demands a more cooperative approach to curating a better guest experience .
One main aspect of this process is hotel self-service, where the guest takes control of their stay via a host of tools provided them by the establishment itself.
Why Do Customers Prefer Self-Service?
With technology enabling increasingly convenient lifestyles guests have become more than willing to take control of stay which aids both the hotelier and the guest in several ways:
- It’s convenient – common inconveniences the guests might experience can be solved by allowing them the tools they need to help themselves, sparing them and your staff much time and unnecessary frustration.
- It’s consistent – Every issue your guests might experience will have as many solutions as the number of people aiding them in the process. This means that results will vary and so will guest satisfaction. By utilising improved technology in your hotel’s service, you would guarantee that there is no room for inconsistency in the service your guests receive.
- It’s fast – This is more of a result of the aforementioned, but once self-service has been streamlined into your establishment’s routine and the guests themselves know that they can rely to do things on their own, then many of the everyday duties of your staff will no longer take up as much time as they used to.
What are the Dominant Trends for Self-Service
All of the current self-service trends build on already existing procedures within the industry. Let’ take, for instance, AI self-service, which is most frequently used in the form of chatbots.
A chatbot is an automated system which can answer a guest’s query by using a database of answers at its disposal, effectively eliminating the need of round-the-clock customer support personnel. Online Travel Agencies are already using chatbots as a way of communicating with guests in regards to their reservations.
Another such example is Visual IVR, which in many cases has come to replace traditional IVR as users tend to prefer selecting from a menu of options on a mobile app, to listening to a pre-recorded message. This can lead to a greater level of customer satisfaction which in turn helps build brand loyalty.
But self-service does not mean a complete dismissal of the human resource involved. Some matters simply require the assistance of another person which is where personality pairing comes in. In such cases, algorithms using advanced analytics can determine which agent would be the best fit to a given caller and their complaint. This helps resolve issues with a much greater efficiency.
Choosing the Right Self-Service Solution
The influx of millennial travellers whose need to constantly outdo each other has created a niche for constant customisation of everything they experience. This has reshaped the nature of the hotel experience forever. Hospitality meets them halfway via a host of self-service solutions that are up to the task.
Travel, especially long distance can often have a disparaging effect on the guest so it would be a relief for them to know that they can use your hotel’s self-service app to order a transfer to your hotel and check-in in advance. Mobile check-ins have become a commonality amongst the more tech-savvy hoteliers who know that one of their guests’ top priority is convenience.
The guests can use the same app to further customise their stay. They can browse a gallery of your available suites and choose one to their liking, possibly upgrading to a better room.
They can make specific requests such as ordering room service or maybe booking some of the extra services your hotel has to offer. The app allows for online payments and the payment information is constantly updated, allowing the guest to keep track of their finances. The self-service app further allows your staff to cut time on in-person check-ins and focus their attention on creating a more personalised guest experience.
Upon arrival the guest does not have to wait at the check-in desk, but rather they could use your on-site hotel kiosk to register and pay for their stay. After which they can get their key card from it and proceed to their suite.
The in-room experience should match the process so far. Allowing the guest control of amenities such a the room temperature and lighting via a mobile device would certainly improve their stay. They can further use the same hotel self-service app to request anything they might otherwise have to call for.
More Options - Multiple Channel Approach
Creating newer options for your guests does not instantly mean abandoning the old. Utilising mobile solutions simply open up newer streams of revenue for your business. It is important for guests to have the options they need to choose your business regardless of the methods of communication at their disposal.
Still when it comes to innovation, mobile is the way to go. The number of mobile users grows every year and as such overlooking mobile reservations and check-ins would be a huge faux pas. As such choosing solutions which are easily adaptive across the greatest number of devices would give your guests the best chance possible to reach your business and go through a booking.
Employee Participation and Moderation
Hotel self-service has allowed your staff the opportunity to improve your establishment’s customer service and while guests are content with managing on their own and sending in the occasional request, your staff can use the opportunity to gather useful data on individual clients which can then be used to build a guest profile.
They can achieve this by using a property management system which allows them to gather the data they need while also serving as the base of operations for your entire mobile service. Your cloud PMS can include an integrated channel manager, a reservation software which would allow your staff to manage listings and bookings across all distribution channels.
At the same time, the PMS can include a solution on mobile housekeeping, which would allow your staff to use an app to notify the front desk which rooms have been cleaned and prepared for the guests minimising miscommunication and cutting down on check-in wait time.
The PMS allows you to select exactly which solutions are best suited to your business’ needs which would allow your staff to have the means to take your establishment into the forefront of hospitality.
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About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.