Service: More Important Now Than Ever Before
At the core of hospitality lies positive guest experiences, and this remains true across most service industries. Research shows that hotel guests who are positively engaged spend up to 140% more than those who reported undergoing negative experiences. Additionally, as a hotel’s reputation grows through word-of-mouth and public reviews, it also enjoys lowered costs for customer retention and increased brand loyalty – a benefit that translates into savings of up to 33%, according to some studies. As a result, companies that excel in delivering high quality customer experiences outperform the rest by nearly 80%.
The reason behind this phenomenon is that decision-making behaviour of the modern consumer has seen drastic change. Gone are the days of consumers choosing hotels solely based on price or brand familiarity; guests today are now choosing hotels that are committed to creating positive stay experiences – even when shopping on a budget.
Changing Guest Expectations
So, what exactly do contemporary guests want? A survey by Deloitte identified 5 key guest needs and their corresponding attributes as a foundation for improved guest experiences at hotels.
It found that typical guest expectations had surpassed mere accommodation needs, and that to ensure satisfaction, hotels and their employees would have to evolve beyond being simple providers of food and lodging, to become curators of positive guest experiences.
Yet, achieving such change requires more than just willingness and determination. Better tools are needed to allow hoteliers to understand their guests and execute plans that score satisfaction points more efficiently.
Technology That Enables
The time saved by automating low-impact activities with the help of technology can be put to better use, allowing staff to focus on more meaningful guest interactions, without the need to add headcount to the operations team.
Technology can also help furnish real-time knowledge of their guests’ preferences, enabling hotels to plan thoughtful and memorable experiences tailored to the individual desires of each guest. Hotel chatbots, for example, can be set up to create guest profiles, e.g. couples, family, business etc, and identify guest needs according to their chatbot responses. Such digital profiling could serve as a valuable source of data for hotels looking for ways to impress and delight guests during their stay and help foster better guest relationships over the long run.
As technology advances, guests increasingly expect technological enablements from hotels to assist them in designing their stay. The onus is on hoteliers to understand what information their guests are likely to search for, and deliver the answers the way they would like to receive. For example, though many modern travellers plan their trips primarily around information found on the web, travel information curated by hotels can serve as an additional trustworthy, authentic source of local insight, presenting yet another way for hotels to add value to their guests’ experience.
Choosing the Right Vendor
Because not all digital technologies are suitable for all hotels, when assessing new technologies for implementation, it is important to consider the value they bring to guests, as well their cost and ease of adoption. This is one area in which a trustworthy and knowledgeable technology partner can greatly speed up the selection and adoption of new digital solutions.
Before making the decision on which technology partner to engage, understand that it is typical for many vendors to bundle different functionalities into a proprietary system, some of which you may have no need for. To avoid buyer’s remorse, hotels should foremost be clear about their objectives and the gaps they wish to address, and aim to purchase only the solutions that will help achieve those results. Software that successfully supports automation, reduces manual labour and saves time for staff, will ultimately be important assets to integrate with the hotel’s existing workflows and processes.
If you are interested in a holistic digital solution which will benefit your hotel across various departments, you will want to learn more about Vouch’s Digital Concierge. Find out how Vouch has helped hotels from Pan Pacific Group, Hyatt Group and IHG by getting in touch with our Business Development Team.