The hospitality industry arguably took the hardest hit from the pandemic, but as we return to normalcy, hotels can expect demand to skyrocket this year. With a busy year ahead, coupled with expected staff shortages, hotels must strive to innovate with the times to offer a seamless customer experience throughout the rush of the hectic holiday season.
Hotels have to adapt quickly to deliver the rapid results that consumers now expect – tectonic shifts happening in a sector that was previously highly reliant on face-to-face communication. Customers across all industries have an increasingly high need for personalised customer experiences, to be delivered with speed and ease. In fact, according to a McKinsey report, a digital transformation with a customer experience (CX) focus can increase the revenue of a brand by 20-50%. Customer expectations have risen dramatically, requiring hotels to rethink their business objectives and focus on opportunities presented by new innovations. Hotels that work towards making their experiences unique will prevail in obtaining and retaining long-term client loyalty.
Automate to Attract
While the hospitality sector will always be dependent on personal connections, it is now obvious that automated exchanges and experiences may enhance these vital connections. As a result, hotels are enhancing existing experiences through a high-tech, high-touch strategy. This increases consumer involvement as technology is being used to shape the human experience.
There has been a raft of new apps aimed at improving the hotel experience for guests. The industry has seen apps that can provide personal and relevant recommendations for a user based on their location. Personal recommendations include dining in the area, and tailored excursions based on the users’ activity within the app. Additionally, guests are provided with information like driving directions to amenities and hotel features. They can also check in online before they’ve arrived at the hotel and continue to avoid any extra hassle with keyless room entry. Such a personalised and convenient experience ultimately increases hotel booking, as customers don’t have to suffer from long wait times over the phone or waiting in line when they arrive. These practices enable hotel businesses to better interact with their consumers.
Chatbots Offer Untiring Support
Many hotels now use chatbots with AI to respond to consumer inquiries, allowing them to provide help 24/7. Advanced chatbots are built on emotional detection algorithms that evaluate distress signs and reply to inquiries appropriately, making them the ideal ally for customer care employees. This yields the best result while simplifying the procedure and maximising convenience for both the consumer and the customer service provider. In fact, companies may handle more inquiries while reducing expenses by 30% per client by implementing chatbots. Automation may help firms release money that has been locked up in ineffective procedures by reducing handling times and increasing first call solutions.
QR Codes: A Gateway to Customer Service
A wide majority of hotels have started using Quick Response (QR) codes for booking reservations and understandably so as most customers today own smartphones. QR codes can enhance customer experience through multiple ways in hotels when used for faster check-in process for guests upon arrival or QR food & beverage menus or even feedback collection. QR codes are an easy and fun way to engage with customers all the while offering them the safety of reduced human contact.
Loyalty Apps Have a Role to Play
Loyalty apps can provide guests with better service of convenience, utilities and access, while also giving hotels more monetization options, and improved customer lifetime value. A well-designed front-end user experience can increase bookings and monthly active users.
Hotels are also starting to create an omnichannel experience where app features include a map element, leading guests to their hotel room. This results in a personally customized experience while maximizing speed, convenience, and minimizing any potential for inconvenience. These technological advancements not only propel the sector into the future but also free up personnel time for more effective customer service touchpoints. These applications undoubtedly improve the consumer experience, resulting in a pleasant, peaceful hotel stay that accelerates engagement and loyalty.
Great Experiences Require Focused Efforts
Research has shown that 91% of customers said that a positive customer experience would make them more likely to return. Experience has always been and will continue to be the most important investment in business development.
Guests can regularly expect to have a great experience thanks to high-tech, high-touch automation, which simplifies processes that used to take a long time. A hotel will become much more competitive while also reducing expenses and accelerating internal processes by providing technologically advanced services that result in quick fixes. Without sacrificing customer experience, automation enables customer support agents to devote more time and energy on the most complicated issues.
By incorporating a human touch at every point of interaction into each new digital experience, hotels may aim to transform their lacklustre customer experiences. Businesses in the digital age need to start connecting with their clients in order to create real human connections and tailor their experiences in novel settings. As 2023 approaches, we'll be able to tell which hotels are the best at retaining customers over the long term.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rahul Jolly is Teleperformance’s President, Travel & Hospitality. Rahul heads the global Travel & Hospitality Vertical at TP and is responsible for formulating organic and inorganic growth strategies - driven through value based client solutions. Part of Top 100<45 Global Leadership Advisory Board, driving company transformation strategy & solutions capability across travel practice. Rahul is a results-oriented global executive having managed diverse and progressive roles across his 24 years of work experience in outsourcing industry. Before Teleperformance, Rahul held leadership positions at Aegis & transformation consulting roles at IBM. He is a certified LSS Black Belt/PMP from Project Management Institute & holds an Executive MBA from XLRI, Jamshedpur.