The “white glove” treatment is a staple of the hospitality industry, where catering to guests' needs, and promoting the best experience is paramount. However, in an age where medical gloves supplant white gloves, the personal touch of hospitality many need to pivot to “touchless.”
Touchless Hospitality Solutions and Service
Self-Service Kiosks and the Mobile Hospitality Experience
The beginning of the hospitality experience starts with check-in, and it is here where limited contact solutions should first be introduced. Self-service kiosks have become very popular as of late, and have allowed for the automation and expediting of the check-in process. Pioneered by hospitality providers like Yotel, these kiosks help reduce contact with others, eliminate lines, streamline the check-in process, and even help upsell certain extra features that guests can now choose from directly with visual prompts and appeal. Overall, these solutions can eliminate lobby traffic and congestion and free up staff to complete other tasks, allowing for a safer guest experience.
Another key solution that hospitality providers need to start drastically leveraging is mobile applications and smartphones. Over 2.87 billion people are expected to be using smartphones by the end of 2020, making them a vital asset to any company looking for direct engagement. With intuitive mobile applications created by hospitality providers, guests can enjoy a safer more convenient experience, using the app to directly contact the front desk, concierge, housekeeping, place orders with room service, leave feedback, and even plan their next stay. This eliminates the need for in-room hotel phones, as well as unnecessary contact to keep guests safer.
Key-less and Contactless Entry
Automatic doors are nothing new in modern hotels, but this idea of contactless doors will definitely expand in the future. Traditional magnetic swipe cards have proven more effective than keys, but are easily demagnetized, lost, and create an additional physical asset that will need constant sanitization. Key-less entry via a smartphone and smartwatches is far more convenient and secure. Through an app, guests receive an encrypted code to their device that leverages and sensors to automatically unlock the door as they approach.
Additionally, hotel designers and architects have started considering implementing automatic doors in hotel rooms that would ensure guests don’t need to touch handles. Once a guest swipes in, the door would automatically unlatch and open for the guest to reduce contact. This latest innovation would truly promote confidence in the industry and ensure any potential exposure is reduced.
In today’s day and age, the paper menu has been sidelined, as there are far more effective solutions with less contact available for use. Using QR codes, restaurants and bars have introduced digital menus to their establishments. Not only do these digital menus remove the need for constantly printing and sanitizing paper menus, but they can also be updated in real-time to ensure that once a food item is out of stock it is removed from the menu and no longer available to customers.
Best Practice and Deployment
The key to implementing this new, contactless technology is through a centralized approach. Hospitality providers need to have these new solutions connected and integrated with their current reservation management systems. This will ensure a seamless guest experience that will also reduce errors and wasted resources. Since many of these solutions are from different providers, it is recommended to leverage the expertise of a custom software developer with experience in hospitality services when integrating. This will guarantee that all systems are working with one another and that data silos do not form.
Training hotel staff is also an important aspect as they will need familiarity with the new solutions and understand how to use them properly. Investing the time to ensure that the staff at all levels understands this technology, as well as the new protocols, are crucial for continued success.
Ultimately, we have entered a new world when it comes to the hospitality industry, and adaption right now is crucial for those looking to succeed in the long term. Now more than ever, the future of hospitality needs to focus on leveraging touchless and mobile technology to not only provide a greater overall guest experience, but continue to reduce costs, improve efficiency, and promote a safe and healthy environment.
About the Author
Tyler Boykin is a Director of Sales at Chetu, a global provider of software development solutions and support services, and specializes in the hospitality technology space. Tyler has experience helping companies integrate the latest technology solutions, including POS software, reservation management systems, cloud-based solutions, IoT, and robotic process automation.