How Technology Impacts The Entire Guest Journey – Part II: The On-Site Phase
Our most recent eBook, The Hotelier's Tech Stack Guide: Must-Have Technologies That Impact The Guest Journey, serves as an inspiration for our blog series, thoroughly discussing the importance and impact that technology has over every stage of the guest experience. The first part of the blog series is all about the software and systems that hoteliers should rely on during the pre-stay phase - and it can be found here.
We are now continuing our journey and breaking down the order, importance, and outcome of the necessary technologies that are used while the hotel guest is on site. This particular phase is considered to be the most important one in the guest journey since this is when the guest gets to experience the hotel and its services and forms an opinion, which is later on turned into feedback.
Gaining a customer doesn’t mean that the quest is over. Successful hoteliers also work towards keeping a guest, rising to their expectations, and building brand loyalty, which pay off in the long run. A personalized experience, seamless communication, and constant nurturing efforts - these are all factors that contribute to any hotel’s top goals: brand loyalty, spotless reputation, and more revenue.
A customer relationship management (CRM) system helps hoteliers create strong relationships between their business and their customers in order to ensure a seamless, personalized experience and build brand loyalty.
Modern CRMs are generally cloud-based, for easy access and high security. This particular software stores vast amounts of customer information and documents; in order for hoteliers and hotel staff to have easy access to valuable data. A CRM is meant to constantly optimize the customer details, track interactions between them and the business, and store any relevant guest information so that communication is more personal and the experience more meaningful. Through the use of the CRM system, the tracking of communication between the hotel and the guest becomes automated, which saves time and improves operations.
Also, for hoteliers, a CRM system is the best way to go when it comes to upselling. In order to target guests with the right amenities and services and get them to upgrade their stay, the staff needs to know who they are addressing. When they have access to a customer profile, a purchase history and any other relevant information, such as personal demand or preferences, it is much easier to provide a personalized offer.
A CRM helps communications be more personal and the guest experience more meaningful
A CRM represents a smart and easy-to-use solution that helps create a better understanding of the guest with more meaningful connections. By using a modern CRM system, hoteliers get an overall insight into travelers’ needs, expectations, behaviors, and interests. Data is automatically used in order to provide valuable insights into the guest journey and determine which strategy and which channel will work best for each. The right message is delivered at the right time, in order for the hotel to upgrade and upsell the services, get more bookings, and a stronger ROI.
One of the best modern CRM systems available is the one provided by Cendyn: a cloud-based software that helps hoteliers build meaningful relationships, as well as increase their profits and ROI.
During the guest’s on-site experience, many things have to be considered and many situations can take place - all of them needing a central place to be overlooked and managed. This is where the property management systems (PMS) comes in place, as a smart software platform meant to help internal hotel operations regarding the entire property. This includes everything from front-desk tasks, to housekeeping matters, to revenue management.
In other words, a PMS is basically the platform that stores information regarding the entire on-stay phase of the guest journey and its implications, in order for the hotel staff to have easy access to valuable information and increase the efficiency of operations and services.
It’s important to know that the PMS is not a standalone type of software and although it has its own features and purposes, any modern and effective PMS has to integrate with other systems, such as the booking engine and the channel manager.
From check-in and check-out to housekeeping, room service, and distribution capabilities, the PMS gathers all operations under one software
For example, if a reservation is canceled at the last minute, the PMS is quickly updated so that the data can be easily transferred to the booking engine and the channel manager, in order to register the newly available room. In this case, once the cancellation is registered in the PMS, the rest of the operation is done automatically, in real time and with no effort. Hoteliers have a way to quickly and effectively update relevant information, properly distribute their openings, and ensure that they don’t miss out on further revenue opportunities.
Smart, modern, and highly efficient PMSs are currently being provided by HIRUM, Cloudbeds, MEWS, SanhaIT, StayNTouch, and Welcome Systems.
Direct messaging is a relatively new mean of communications, which has already made an impact on the hospitality industry. While keeping up with modern and tech-savvy travelers, hoteliers need to constantly keep the lines of communication open and offer quality services around the clock - the time for letters and emails is of the past. Now, direct messaging is catering to the increasing need for immediacy. Travelers want their questions and inquiries to be addressed as soon as possible and in an easy-to-use way.
One of the most important applicabilities, of the direct messaging solution, is the on-site feedback. Checking in with guests and letting them know that they can contact the hotel staff in case of any issue is highly valued and the hotel staff can improve it on the spot. In our previous research, we discovered that on-site hoteliers are the preferred point of contact and guests are extremely likely (91%) to report service issues during their stay. By providing an extra way of engaging with the guest and allowing him to express any opinions or requirements, hoteliers also avoid negative post-stay feedback or unpleasant situations that are only brought to light after the guest leaves the premises. TrustYou’s Guest Messaging solution is a solid aid for busy hoteliers since it enables a quick way of answering to requests in an automated way: through saved replies. These are basically templates that respond to common questions and inquiries and can be sent automatically, in order to save time.
Direct messaging is a great way of getting on-site feedback and avoid issues that might develop into a negative post-stay impression
Taking things one step further, the TrustYou Guest Messaging solution also pairs with voice-enabled devices. For hospitality, messaging through voice-operated devices brings a world of possibilities, offering a new and more remarkable experience to hotel guests. Voice-activated devices such as the Amazon Echo ones are becoming more and more popular and this is why TrustYou’s Guest Messaging module can also be used with “Alexa”. Amazon’s voice-assistant makes it easier for guests to communicate their inquiries and questions, with a minimum effort - by only using their voices.
Volara is the provider of custom voice-based solutions for the hospitality industry and the link between our Guest Messaging tool and Amazon Echo’s “Alexa”.
Last, but not least, it’s important to acknowledge that modern travelers expect modern rooms. The Internet of Things is defined as the interconnection between everyday devices which have a computing element embedded, via the internet. This connection allows those devices/objects to send and receive data, basically creating an infrastructure of easily exchangeable information. The hospitality industry was quick to recognize the huge potential that IoT poses, especially when it comes to the on-site guest experience. It has been revealed that companies in the travel industry lead all industries in their investment in IoT, especially since younger generations of travelers (millennials, gen Zers) are tech-savvy and have high expectations.
In the long run, IoT can prove itself to be cost-effective - by automating processes and saving resources
With the aid of the IoT, guests can enjoy a more personalized and automated experience, which saves time and improves the overall stay. There are currently many hotel features and services that are based on IoT, such as the usage of guests’ smartphones as a way of opening the hotel door. This is basically a simple, yet highly effective way of ensuring that the guests are in control of their stay and are using familiar tools, which enhances the level of personalization. Making things even easier and ensuring that this is one “key” that won’t get easily misplaced, the IoT enables such a connection between the hotel room’s safety system and the mobile device, through an application installed on the smartphone.
Other examples of the use of IoT in hotels is the automated adjustment of the thermostat or the alarm clock set-up - operations which, in the long run, can prove to be cost-effective.
If you want more insights into the hotelier’s tech stack guide, you can download the free eBook here.