Give Hotel Guests What They Demand: The Best Digital Experience
For years, hotel operators have focused on enhancing the guest experience from the moment a guest walks through the front door to the time the guest checks out. They’ve employed a variety of high-touch and high-tech strategies to eliminate friction points and make every aspect of their guests’ experiences as smooth and positive as possible.
Smart hotel operators now are casting their eyes further, with the understanding that omni-channel guest experiences start long before visitors check in. Indeed, the guest experience starts when potential customers pose the question, “I wonder if I should stay in a hotel?”
Today’s hoteliers have a wide variety of technology-based strategies and tools available to enhance the full continuum of the guest experience. To enable and optimize these tools and strategies, they need the right kind of network infrastructure — one that is speedy, secure and scalable enough to meet future applications that are just coming to the drawing board. This article from Comcast Business will discuss what hoteliers need to know in order to appeal to future guests.
Modern-day travelers — especially millennials, who make up the largest percentage of the travel market — shop for and interact with hotels the same way they shop for and interact with brands in other market segments: largely online. They’ve come to expect on-demand functionality and personalized experiences from the moment they search for a hotel and logon to a hotel’s site.
Before guests visit your property, they’ll undoubtedly visit your website. That’s why a hotel’s online brand experience needs to feature the right technology infrastructure that makes it easy for consumers to research, plan and book travel via web-based desktop and mobile tools including:
- Photos, videos and maps to preview property accommodations and features.
- Personalized, relevant and timely deals based on location, travel purpose and rewards program status.
- The ability to review and post reviews.
- Easy online booking and reservation management, including the ability to make service requests.
- A branded, feature-rich omni-channel app.
During the Stay
Seamless, technology-enabled service continues when guests arrive at a hotel, with technology and mobile devices enriching the overall experience.
Check-in systems via self-service kiosks, roaming tablet-based systems, and guests’ mobile devices can speed guests on their way and provide a means for hotels to offer personalized promotions, coupons and special messages. Those same devices can be used for quick and efficient check-out as well.
Wi-Fi is a key driver of guest loyalty and satisfaction. Free, fast and reliable Wi-Fi throughout the property lets guests watch their own programming, listen to their own music, play their own games, get business done, and connect with friends, family and social networks.
Cloud services accessed through mobile devices allow hotel staff and resources to be dedicated to core guest services without being tied to the front desk. The cloud also lets hotels capitalize on the Internet of Things (IoT) to manage and control property security, mechanical and lighting systems, signage, in-room and food-and-beverage appliances, and more.
Last year, Hospitality Technology surveyed its subscriber base and found that two-thirds of hotel executives were engaged in customer experience management (CXM), the discipline of tracking, overseeing and organizing every interaction between a guest and the brand to drive loyalty, advocacy and revenue.
Big data is the cornerstone of CXM efforts, and hotels are mining and analyzing big data to obtain 360-degree views of each guest, drive dynamic room rate pricing, conduct bookings forecasts and monitor compliance, among other revenue-management strategies.
Strong Network Infrastructure Needed
A robust website presence, the use of mobile devices by guests and hotel staff, and cloud-based back-office, CXM and operational systems all have one common requirement: a strong network infrastructure that’s scalable, secure and capable of delivering the performance necessary to power ubiquitous connectivity and data-driven decisions.
Increased network traffic can quickly overwhelm hotels’ legacy networks, leading to guest frustration, complaints and bad reviews — the type of friction every hotel wants to avoid. A high-bandwidth network with the capacity to identify different types of traffic and prioritize them allows large amounts of data to be sent and received with low latency.
Advanced connectivity via robust networks solutions give hotels access to new software and services that help them run their business more efficiently and cost-effectively. They also make it possible for hotels to meet and exceed the expectations of today’s modern travelers by creating positive experiences from the moment they consider a visit to the time they walk out the door, planning their next stay.