In the hospitality industry, understanding and delivering an exceptional guest experience is critical. While a brand’s reputation and bottom-line success are determined by the quality of a guest’s experience, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced hoteliers and multi-family property managers to navigate an ever-evolving landscape of safety expectations.
With increased awareness about health risks linked to close proximity and physical touch, guests increasingly expect a contactless experience in which they are not required to enter crowded lobbies, wait in long lines or interact face-to-face with a concierge in order to check in or out. In fact, McKinsey found that the U.S. has seen a 20% increase in preference for contactless operations as businesses across industries adapt to the age of the coronavirus — and hotels are scrambling to catch up.
Let’s discuss a few of the leading technologies that should be on every manager’s radar and can help turn your property into a smart building.
Offering a Contact-Free Experience from Curb to Counter
Contactless self-service, known throughout the industry as “curb-to-counter check-in,” was already gaining traction in multi-family and hotels across the country. As the pandemic rages on, the need for these services — and the technological advances that enable them — is taking on increased importance.
Fortunately, there are a range of IoT- and smartphone-enabled solutions that are commercially viable and present a range of benefits over legacy systems. Together, they can enable secure access (or prevent unnecessary or unwanted entry), build community and even preserve the sanctity of quiet hours.
From the moment a traveler arrives all the way through their departure, new smart lock technology makes it possible for hotels and properties offering homesharing to manage access to every touchpoint electronically, with no physical key or token required. Done well, these technologies can increase guest satisfaction while reducing operating costs.
With such systems offering 24/7 keyless convenience, guests can now bypass the logistics of working out a key exchange or going to the registration desk and instead go straight to their room using an access code or their smartphone. By leveraging smart lock technology, guests have the flexibility to check themselves in and out at their leisure without making an in-person visit to retrieve keys. Even better, many smart lock systems come equipped with remote control and monitoring capabilities, which enable hotel managers to keep an eye on arrivals and automatically update reservations when a guest stay is canceled or extended.
While every property carries its own challenges, we looked at the following factors and requirements to help us choose the right vendor (ultimately selecting RemoteLock, a cloud-based access control platform). These considerations include adaptability — smart locks that merge safety and security with smartphone-enabled convenience for guests; remote control functionality to manage smart locks and wired access control hardware across multiple properties; and hardware-agnostic design that could be used across different products from industry leaders such as Schlage, Kwikset and Yale.
Automated Decibel-Monitoring Systems
Noise complaints remain one of the thorniest issues for managers or hosts to deal with. At times highly subjective, noise complaints can increase friction between guests and staff — particularly in-person encounters — and they can ultimately manifest in terrible online reviews and lost customers.
Fortunately, advanced monitoring technology is coming to the rescue. This technology is designed to measure decibel levels and report them back to the system. Crucially, most systems do not record voice data — only the decibel levels, which can be a top concern to privacy-minded guests. Sensors measure sustained decibel levels over a set time period and, when triggered, will send an automated text message to the resident or guest in question.
At Daydream Apartments, we have worked with NoiseAware to set an 80-decibel limit over a 10-minute timeframe, which would generate a real-time alert to comply with accepted noise levels (for example, a loud dinner party might trigger the alert, but a barking dog or dropping a pan wouldn’t). We have found that in most cases the individuals weren’t even aware that they were in violation, and they took quick action to comply. In the rare instances when the noise continues, however, the alerts can also notify property teams to address the issue in person.
It’s clear that greater automation and self-service capabilities benefit both guests and managers — and have taken on a special urgency in the face of a global pandemic. Of course, because each property is unique, it can take time and effort to find the right solution that’s both cost-effective and simple to deploy.We believe that the investment is worth it.
About the Author:
As Vice President of Technology & Engineering at Daydream Apartments, Jason Cole manages the technology platforms that power Daydream’s best-in-class portals and applications for residents and guests across Daydream’s growing national portfolio. Guided by the “Give First” mantra, Jason is a passionate advocate for using technology to build connections and community. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Jason also serves as the CTO mentor at Boomtown Accelerator and has advised multiple early-stage entrepreneurs and mid-sized companies.