Chatting About the Future: A Post COVID Hotel Stay
In the past several weeks we have seen how technology’s ability to provide instant and consistent communication across easy-to-use mediums (i.e., Zoom, FaceTime, etc.) have played a vital role in making sure everyone still feels connected while keeping a safe distance. This same method of talking to each other embraced by people around the world has the potential of creating a safer environment without taking away from the experiences offered when it comes to hotels.
As properties begin to finalize their reopening plans, a key component on how they will be able to operate efficiently and effectively in a post-COVID travel climate relies on the support of suitable software solutions. To start, figuring out how to communicate with both guests and staff will be key.
Limiting the need to be physically present to meet guest requests throughout their stay is the first step, outside of implementing new cleaning protocols, in creating the new onsite experience for hotels. A two-way communication chat service opens the door for staff of a hotel to do this, allowing guests and employees to send texts in real-time. Chat service software and hotel apps will help properties engage with and manage guest services while remaining contactless and equip staff with the latest information (i.e., cleaning protocols, monitoring requests, etc.) the moment it is available.
When it comes to a guest communicating with the hotel, it's as simple as texting with their friends and family. The solution provides a sense of comfort, allowing them to communicate from their preferred modern channel about anything they need or any questions they have.
From the hotel staff perspective, a modernized guest chat holds the ability to create a centralized database where hotels can communicate with individual guests, groups of guests (i.e. group guest texting), and if necessary, the entire hotel at the same time (i.e. mass texting). Text reduces the need for hotel staff to physically interact while simultaneously providing a quick and efficient way to share updates and implement emergency protocol if necessary (i.e., in the scenario that someone on property becomes sick).
With mass texting, the hotel can communicate the most up-to-date information (i.e. security details, new safety measures, etc.) to an entire property of in-house guests within a much shorter timeframe. Using this already familiar messaging system will also enable employees to communicate any questions to their supervisors and share images if needed, reducing the traffic of staff walking around the guest hallways or common areas. The use of two-way chat systems within a hotel also holds the potential of replacing the need to hold in-person close quarters meetings to share important announcements.
What this means for guest services
The model of text chat for services and guest engagement within a hotel dives deeper into the kind of personalized experience a hotel can provide each visitor without breaching the safety barrier of staying back 6 feet or more. Providing toiletries, amenities, in-room dining, etc. to the guests without having to physically come into the guest room or conduct in-person interaction (i.e. texting the guests that their delivery/service request is outside their guest room door such as in-room dining trays or extra toiletries) is all manageable via two-way chat. This method also reduces the need to come to the Front Desk to request information, deliverables, or transactions like in-person check out.
There is no question that technology holds the key for hoteliers to reopen in a safe and guest-focused way. Providing guest services and equipping team members with a two-way chat system simultaneously opens the lines of real-time information while allowing hoteliers to track and manage service requests, daily tasks, etc. The use of familiar technology in this way is just the beginning of the power software systems hold to help hotels adapt easier. Hotels that establish themselves in the forefront of these initiatives and align with third party systems that focus on guest engagement and daily task management for staff will be at the forefront of regaining bookings in the new travel climate.