Part 3 of the Hotel Mobile Technology Series: Using Mobile Technology to Improve the Guest Experience
Technology, namely our smartphones, have become an extension of our lives. We use our phones to do just about everything; having the world at your fingertips is really all it’s cracked up to be. So it comes as no surprise that 90% of US travelers use their phones while they travel, according to TripAdvisor. With so many travelers on their phones, there’s a lot of value your property can bring to the guest experience. There are a number of useful ways to interact with your customers when they’re on and off your property. Here are just a few ways you can get the most out of mobile technology.
In 2016, most people want to talk about how apps are the go-to mobile solution for your property. While a mobile app isn’t a bad idea, it’s unlikely that the first interaction a guest will have with your property is through a proprietary app. Instead, your website is where most people will go to by default to find information like your phone number, address, and other information.
That’s why we highly suggest having a mobile-optimized website and testing every page on multiple devices. Not only does Google penalize non-mobile websites, it provides a bad guest experience. You can almost bet that people who access your website while already traveling are doing so on a mobile device.
Your website is also a great place to include information about local restaurants, attractions, and events. Your front desk staff and concierge can direct your guests to your website to access this helpful information. The first step to creating a useful onsite experience through mobile is pretty basic in terms of mobile, get your website mobile optimized and add some great content.
Today, most people would rather text than pick up a phone to ask a simple question or address an issue. Most hotels only offer an in-room phone to contact the front desk or order room service. Technology can now empower your employees to provide an extra level of service.
Platforms, such as TrustYou’s product - Checkmate, enable hotels to communicate with their guests via text. Not only is Checkmate a texting platform, but it’s a tool to help keep track of important customer information and compile a complete list of previous communications. With a texting platform like Checkmate, your staff has the infrastructure to complete tasks in a timely matter. No more lost messages or shuffling through endless emails to remember a request sent last week.
The best part about these types of texting platforms is that there isn’t any extra software for the guest to download. All a guest has to do is shoot a text to the number you provide them. We’ve seen plenty of proprietary hotel apps that enable some sort of text-based conversation; however, getting a guest to actually download the app and then use it has proven difficult. Using established text services provides the guest with the best experience.
There’s no better place to leverage mobile technology more than on social media. During their stay, guests are snapping, facebooking, tweeting, instagramming, and in all likelihood, your property will make some sort of cameo. That’s why it’s important for properties to create some sort of hashtag, and make sure their location check-ins on Facebook and Instagram are set up correctly.
You can also perform keyword searches, such as your property name, to see what your guests are saying about their travels. You can then use these keyword searches and property check-ins to comment, repost, and like your guest’s posts. For example, if a guest uploads a picture of their drink at your pool you can comment something like “it’s a perfect day to be poolside, let us know if we can help you out with anything ??” is a great way to interject your brand and show your customers that you’re listening.
Because social media is predominantly mobile-based, it makes sense to put some time and effort into building an infrastructure where you can find and respond quickly to your guests’ posts, especially if they include urgent requests.
Also, social media platforms, like Facebook are making it easier for guests to communicate with them. Facebook has made a lot of changes to their business messenger platform, and now it is easier than ever for guests to message you via Messenger. Guests can now scan a business’ messenger code, which operates like a QR code to quickly send a message. Facebook encourages businesses to post their Messenger code on their website as well as on physical promotional materials. Alternatively, your hotel can designate a username for guests to reach you directly through the messenger app. Both tools are a new way to help your business interact with your customers. You can read more about how to use these features here.
In sum, as smartphones and other mobile technologies continue to become more popular, it’s in your property’s best interest to embrace the trend. There are so many different ways for you and your employees to increase guests’ satisfaction through mobile. Your website, instant messaging, and social media are just a few ideas to help scratch the surface. Part of providing a great experience is being present wherever your guests are, and today, they are on mobile.