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The Contactless Customer: Which Digital Transformations Are Winning Over Hotel Guests

One survey found that 86% of people said they would choose one hotel over another if it had fully contactless mobile check-in, concierge, check-out and facility reservation services.
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With inflation and the cost of living reaching an all-time high, travelers expect hotels to make their stay extra special when they treat themselves to a getaway. Delighting guests includes ensuring a seamless customer experience enhanced by digital innovations. With staff shortages in the hotel sector, businesses and customers can no longer rely on the power of people alone to ensure their stay is memorable. Technological advancements such as mobile check-ins, e-keys, and contactless concierge will lessen the burden on staff and ensure an unforgettable customer experience.

Personalized digital experiences centered around speed and convenience are a rapidly growing demand for customers across all sectors. What was once an industry built on face-to-face interaction has now been transformed. Accordingly, when a guest feels the hotel understands them, they are 13% more likely to stay there again. Because travel and hospitality was one of the industries that was hit hardest by the pandemic, hotels that make their experiences memorable will be the ones that succeed in securing and maintaining long-term customer loyalty and engagement.

How Hotels Are Going Contactless

While the hospitality sector is still largely focused on personal connections, it is now obvious that tech-driven interactions and experiences can enhance these vital connections rather than replace them. Accordingly, 73% of travelers are more likely to stay in a hotel that offers self-service technology to minimize staff and other guest contact. There is a pressing need for hotels to change their business models, provide seamless experiences through technology, and increase guest satisfaction.

Hotels are now offering a contactless check-in through the use of apps. At traditional check-in, reception personnel must wait on visitors who may show up late, or not at all. Hotels are now allowing guests to check in prior to their visit through a link sent to their phone, effectively skipping the line and having to wait their turn in the lobby. Accordingly, a recent Deloitte study showed that 60% of travelers are more likely to stay at a hotel that allows contactless check-in. And they may completely avoid the front desk if the mobile check-in solution is coupled with an e-key. The time saved from not having to check-in every visitor as they come allows hotel employeees to concentrate on other, more pressing issues and providing excellent service.

Contactless concierge has become a hotel industry game changer. There’s no easier way for guests to locate their room and other facilities inside the hotel. However, some hoteliers don’t realize just how important a digital concierge is – 86% of people said that they would choose one hotel over another if it has a mobile application with a fully contactless mobile check-in, concierge, check-out and facility reservation services. Guests can inquire about a spare duvet or pillow, where to go sightseeing, ask for directions, or ask to book a ride. A digital concierge may access data from several sources to offer the best response to any question at the appropriate moment and keep an exhaustive record of a user's habits and preferences. Furthermore, requests for restaurant bookings can be made much simpler; rather than having to go down to the restaurant and get in line, or wait on hold over the phone, contactless concierges can also make reservations. Not only for reservations, hotels can also digitize the food ordering process by allowing guests to place orders similar to Uber Eats or DoorDash. It is fair to assume that if the road to purchase is shorter, customers are more likely to buy a good or service the hotel is providing.

Experience Is Key

The most crucial investment for business expansion is experience – and it always will be. So much so that 91% of customers said that a positive customer experience would make them more likely to return.

Although these digital innovations are here to stay, the human touch will always remain at the forefront of the hospitality industry. Businesses in the digital age still need to interact with their customers to forge genuine human relationships, while using digital to personalize their experiences in unexpected ways and locations. In the future, we will see which hotels have what it takes to win the game of achieving long-term customer loyalty. The time is now for hoteliers to start engaging with their guests’ need for a seamless digital experience to personalize their stay – one that they can’t help but come back for.

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