A New Update on COVID-19

A Blog by INTELITY

At Your Service

The latest innovation and trends in contactless guest experience and the products that are revolutionizing the service industry.

Alex Papke

Recouping Losses from a Drop in Occupancy

Short-term and long-term strategies for hoteliers to future-proof their properties and position themselves for a bounce-back

The COVID-19 pandemic has plunged the travel sector into a cloud of uncertainty. As the result of worldwide travel slowing to a near standstill, US occupancy rates have declined over 67% compared with the same time period last year, with average daily rates (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR) seeing similarly drastic drops.

However, there is some silver lining. The hotel industry is cyclical and has shown its ability to come back from every major downturn it’s experienced in the past. Two relatively recent events, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and the 2009 financial recession, severely impacted hotel ADR and RevPAR in a similar way to the current coronavirus outbreak. In both cases, though, these average performance metrics for hotels quickly rebounded and exceeded their pre-event levels as economies recovered and mass traveling resumed.

The strength of the hotel industry lies in coming together in the face of hardships, and this current situation is no exception. Here are some steps hoteliers can take — both today and in the future — to position themselves for a future bounce-back once travel and hospitality resume on a global scale:

Do Now

1. Stay top of mind by leveraging digital marketing channels.
People around the world are currently working from home and planning future aspirational travels. While working remotely, they are more likely to engage with digital advertising channels like email and social media. Hoteliers can keep their brands relevant through targeted messaging on these channels.

2. Email future-stay discounts to loyalty members.
Engaging with and showing appreciation to loyal guests through personalized discounts and offers can strengthen relationships with these valuable customers, further ensuring they remain repeat customers when they begin traveling again.

3. Offer direct booking perks and gift cards.
Gift cards and perks that can be redeemed for future stays provide ancillary revenue in the immediate while locking in future occupancy for the travel bounce-back. Restaurants, service providers, and other establishments are using similar methods to help lessen the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on their businesses.

4. Consider ‘staycation’ messaging and marketing promotions.
It is very likely that once daily life begins to return to normal, many people will be eager to get out of their homes, but may still be cautious about traveling on planes or to far-flung destinations. By targeting a local audience with staycation messaging, hoteliers can address short-term occupancy rates once social distancing measures are scaled back.

Future-Proofing Through Technology

From telemedicine to self-driving cars to remote work software, the coronavirus outbreak will undoubtedly lead to an increase in technology adoption across numerous industries. The same will hold true for hospitality technology; the outbreak is forcing hoteliers to re-think the role of technology in providing an optimal guest experience while ensuring the public health safety of staff and guests. In order to bounce back from the current occupancy drop and be best positioned for long-term success, hoteliers should consider investing in technology tools that:

1. Limit unnecessary guest-staff interactions.
While relationships with guests are at the core of nearly all hotels, future guests may want to avoid unnecessary face-to-face interactions, especially in the time immediately following a return to normalcy. Investing in technology such as mobile check-in and digital communication tools allows hoteliers to adapt to this new normal.

2. Capture more revenue from every booking.
Technology that drives additional revenue from each guest can help hoteliers accelerate the bounce-back from the coronavirus outbreak. For example, offering in-room dining through a mobile app or tablet can increase the average dining check size by up to 30% per order, and tools like digital storefronts unlock ancillary revenue streams by allowing guests to purchase the linens, pillows, and even wall art used throughout a property.

3. Maximize cost-saving opportunities.
In addition to increasing revenue, hospitality technology can also help properties save costs, primarily by automating many traditionally manual processes. By providing self-service tools to guests and capturing critical guest behavioral data, hoteliers can use technology to spend less and spend smarter.

These are challenging times for the hospitality industry, but past resilience has shown that hotels will bounce back from the current public health crisis. Implementing immediate and long-term strategies will become necessary as travelers change their habits in the face of changing norms. To learn more about how INTELITY’s solutions are built to maximize hotel ROI, schedule a demo with the INTELITY team today.

Leveraging Technology to Automate Hotel Operations

The right tools can help you do more with less

With the coronavirus outbreak causing dramatic shifts across the hospitality industry, many hoteliers may be faced with the unfortunate and difficult task of maintaining operations with a limited staff. While hotels may be asked to do more with less during this period of uncertainty, understanding how to automate hotel operations in order to run leaner can further drive down costs without driving down service levels.

Hospitality technology can reduce the time and effort involved with carrying out service tasks, allowing guest needs to be fulfilled more quickly and with fewer resources. Technology solutions allow properties to automate guest requests and other activities through a centralized platform, capturing detailed data performance metrics and ensuring that service doesn’t drop off with a reduction in on-site staff.

Providing Self-Service Tools to Guests

The simplest way to reduce the burden on a lean staff is to provide guests with tools and technology that empower them to ‘self-serve’ their basic needs. By offering mobile check-in through a guest app, inbound guests can verify their check-in information before arriving and skip the front desk upon arrival, reducing the amount of front desk staff needed. Once the guest is on property, it is important to provide multiple self-service channels for common requests such as in-room dining, housekeeping services, and more. For example, by allowing guests to request more towels through an in-room tablet, requests can be automatically routed to the appropriate department (versus routed manually by a phone attendant).

Tying automated service requests into a corresponding back-end platform ensures more efficient tracking and fulfillment, which requires fewer on-site staff resources to effectively manage. By automating hotel operations, staff can save upwards of three minutes of employee time per guest request. While this may not seem like a lot on an individual request level, processing thousands of daily requests can quickly lead to hundreds of hours of staff time saved.

Making Data-Backed Decisions

Not only can technology tools have a direct time-saving benefit, they can also unlock opportunities for efficiency optimization by capturing detailed performance data and informing operational decisions. By leveraging the data on guest behavior and staff performance generated through on-site technology, properties can staff based on real-time activity rather than heuristics. This is particularly beneficial in use cases such as in-room dining – by analyzing the types of dishes ordered by guests as well as the times those dishes were ordered, properties with on-site dining options have the information needed to scale down kitchen operations during times when in-room dining volume is low, or the dishes being requested at certain times require less preparation.

Capturing guest behavior data at scale and analyzing it in the context of staffing is especially prudent in times of difficulty. The coronavirus outbreak will likely have long-term effects on property management strategies and priorities, and hospitality technology provides scalable solutions that can seamlessly adapt to shifting operational needs.

Your hotel may be asked to do more with less. We can help. To learn more about how you can automate hotel operations, schedule a demo with our team today.

3 Digital Guest Communication Strategies to Implement when Practicing Social Distancing

There’s no way around it – the hotel industry, and the travel sector in general, are facing unprecedented times. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has effectively halted both business and leisure travel, dramatically reducing occupancy rates around the world.

At INTELITY, we understand the vital role that hospitality technology plays in increasing guest satisfaction and loyalty. Additionally, this same technology can be used to open up multiple communication channels between guests and staff at a time when social distancing is becoming the new normal. Effective digital guest communication is especially important in light of current events — not only will it allow properties to best ensure the safety of guests and staff while providing timely updates regarding an ever-changing situation, but it also provides opportunities for hoteliers to mitigate the long-term effects of the outbreak on the bottom line.

Strategy 1: Pre-Arrival Communications

Hotels that are still operating during the outbreak should implement clear communication plans for inbound guests. By sending a pre-arrival email to guests, hotels can ensure guest safety by clearly communicating the actionable steps being taken in public spaces and guest rooms to minimize the potential of viral transmission, including detailed cleaning protocols, hand sanitizer locations, staff health guidelines, and dining service changes.

Additionally, the pre-arrival email can be used to communicate any updates to cancellation/rescheduling policies. Guests’ travel plans are no doubt being severely impacted, and proactively messaging these policies can help assuage guest concerns while also reducing inbound call volume.

Finally, properties that offer mobile check-in can use the pre-arrival email as an opportunity to link to their guest mobile app. Mobile check-in technology allows guests to skip the front desk upon arrival and go straight to their rooms using a mobile key, which takes on even greater importance in the context of social distancing.

Strategy 2: Leveraging In-Room Tablets

In-room tablets provide another digital communication touchpoint between guests and staff. Guests can use tablets to submit service requests, order in-room dining, access property information, consume entertainment content, and much more. By allowing guests to communicate their needs through a tablet rather than a face-to-face interaction, potential transmission touchpoints can be reduced without a loss in service quality or timeliness.

In-room tablets can also be used to push personalized offers and promotions to guests. Given that guests may feel uncomfortable or unable to dine in on-property restaurants, offering a “virtual” happy hour or similar offer may still allow the property to capture lost revenue in a safe, guest-centered way.

Of course, tablets can also be a channel for sharing critical information around safety precautions, local updates, and more. The ability to manage tablet displays through a centralized content management system ensures that guests can receive relevant updates in real time.

Strategy 3: SMS Messaging

Increasingly, hoteliers are implementing SMS messaging into their guest messaging strategies. Similarly to tablets, SMS messaging can be used as a frictionless way for guests to request services, dining, and more, using a platform they are already familiar with. SMS messaging platforms are often scalable and can be either deployed to an entire database or be individualized to the guest, adding an extra layer of personalization to the interaction without putting guests or staff at risk. It also provides for timely two-way communication, which is critical in a fast-developing health situation.

By opening up a widely-used two-way communication channel, SMS messaging further empowers guests to do their part in ensuring public health safety. Guests who aren’t feeling well or who may otherwise require health assistance can communicate as such without needing to leave their rooms or potentially infecting guest room phones, minimizing transmission opportunities.

The hospitality industry has already been shifting to a more digitally-connected experience, and the coronavirus outbreak will likely accelerate the adoption pace for hoteliers looking to implement more robust multi-channel communication strategies. To learn more how to implement digital guest communication tools and best practices, schedule a demo with the INTELITY team today.

Using Technology to Increase Guest Satisfaction and Loyalty

Hospitality technology solutions are playing an increasing role in improving guest satisfaction, and subsequently, guest loyalty. Investing in experience and management technologies is an effective way of providing an exceptional experience before, during, and after a guest arrives at their destination. By improving guest satisfaction and loyalty, technology also plays a critical role in driving optimized profitability by reducing acquisition costs and increasing repeat bookings.

Pre-Arrival: Stand Out from the Competition

Before booking a reservation with your property, many prospective guests are evaluating where to stay based on the available technology. According to Software Advice and their research on guest preferences, “A combined 60 percent of respondents are ‘more likely’ to choose a hotel that allows guests to check in and open doors with a smartphone than a hotel that doesn’t.” That number is a clear indicator that offering technology solutions can set you apart from the competition before guests even arrive.

On Property: Personalize the Guest Experience

Once guests arrive, technology remains important for creating a positive experience and developing that coveted loyalty. According to Comcast Business, “Technology is a critical component in delivering exceptional guest experiences in hotels, conference centers, and other hospitality locations.” With an understanding of your guests’ preferences, such as desired room temperature and extra towel requests, offering personalized touches not only streamlines hotel operations, but also creates a unique and valuable stay for guests.

Providing a personalized experience with technology extends to hotel offerings. With custom messaging through in-room tablets and mobile apps, guests can receive targeted messages to encourage further participation in individualized options, both on and off property. These might include a night out at a restaurant for guests who indicated they are celebrating a special occasion or a discount on spa services for guests who reserved their rooms as part of a wedding block. Guests aren’t receiving an impersonal email after they’ve checked out; they’re receiving real-time invitations that are relevant to their stated preferences. This personalization leads to a better guest experience as well as an increase in topline revenue.

According to data from Gallup research, the most significant prediction of organic growth is customer engagement, defined as an emotional connection with your brand. Staying somewhere for a night and only interacting upon check-in is a vastly different experience than a number of positive interactions throughout a stay. According to a Gallup Poll, “Guests who are fully engaged spend 46 percent more per year than actively disengaged guests and represent an average 23 percent premium in terms of share of wallet and revenue compared to an average customer.”

Post-Stay: Keep Connected to Your Guests

A guest’s impression of their stay is not solely determined by on-property interactions. How and when you choose to communicate with a guest after they’ve left your property can also have an impact on their likelihood of returning. With loyalty-related bookings making up more than 50 percent of all bookings for the first time in 2019, staying engaged with guests is critical for acquiring bookings at the lowest cost.

If your property has a guest-facing mobile app, you have a direct line of communication to guests even when they’re not on your property. By sending timely promotions and offers, you can ensure that your property is top-of-mind for guests over your competition while creating relevant value for your audience.

Technology is a deciding factor for where guests stay as well as an effective driver for engagement and revenue, which means hoteliers cannot afford to limit the solutions they offer. Investments made in technology will continue to pay dividends in guest experience, loyalty, and the bottom line.

To learn more about the INTELITY platform and our client results, contact INTELITY to schedule a demo with our team.

From Boutiques to Big Brands: How to Make Smart Choices When Investing in Hospitality Technology

3 Key Factors to Keep in Mind When Making Your Next Tech Investment

According to the latest report from Hospitality Technology, 54% of hoteliers are planning to increase their technology budgets this year. Whether you’re responsible for managing a single boutique hotel or a large chain of branded properties, it is impossible to ignore the increasing role technology is playing in the hospitality space. From seamless mobile check-in offerings to digital access to services, amenities and hotel staff, it’s easy to see why guests find increased value from tech-enabled interactions. Meeting expectations in this area is often rewarded with higher guest satisfaction and loyalty.

While the advantages of offering a digital-first hospitality experience are clear, it can be difficult to navigate the sea of options on the market. Here are just a few strategies you can apply when looking to make smart choices that optimize your return on investment.

Look for Ease of Use

If you’re deciding which investments to make next, consider the importance of selecting a known platform that will make implementation a breeze. In a recent survey, 1 in 4 small independent hotels cited complexity as the biggest challenge for adopting new technology, and 1 in 3 indicated ease of use as the priority when choosing what tech to purchase. Regardless of the hotel or chain size, investing in any upgrades only to have them fall flat during implementation can be frustrating.

Embrace Mobile Technology 

Cost is also a key factor in making coveted technology upgrades, but there’s good news for hotels of all sizes. According to Scotland-based hospitality firm Criton, guests’ mobile devices are “recognized as an essential tool for delivering and improving their travel experience.” More than 60% of respondents report using a hotel’s app, and 74% state they would use this option if their favorite hotel offered it.

“Increasingly, today’s travelers are downloading apps that help them get around and stay connected with their hotel,” Criton founder/CEO Julie Grieve said in a statement. “That level of tech awareness or even dependency also raises expectations for information, guest services such as check-in, digital key and offers and incentives to reward their loyalty.”

Hold Out for a Multi-Point Platform

While it may be tempting to select the most popular one-point solutions and try to fit them all together, you could be setting yourself up for a tech stack nightmare. To ensure technology investments are worth their space in the budget, start with a platform that offers comprehensive solutions and exceptional support. Complexity doesn’t have to be an issue, and ease of use should be the expectation. Both components will lead to greater adoption and ultimately, value.

To keep initial costs down, consider the possibility of using guest’s smartphones with a branded hotel app. Not only does research show the devices are readily available, but it also confirms guests are interested in the option. A branded app can provide a lower entry point financially while engaging guests and increasing loyalty. With the branded app solution, you’re also reaching guests long after they’re gone, increasing the opportunities for a repeat stay.

To learn more about the INTELITY platform and how a branded app can benefit your property, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter or schedule a demo with our team.

The Mobile Connection Your Guests Crave

How to Implement Mobile Technology to Improve Guest Experience, Optimize Business Operations, and Stay Ahead of Your Competitors

Technology continues to play a crucial role in meeting the expectations of mobile-first travelers. According to a recent study conducted by American Express and Ebiquity, the top three expectations from travelers are:

  1. Excellent service
  2. Timely delivery of that service
  3. Personalized connections and experiences

These areas of focus should be top priorities for hotel operators of all sizes and scope looking to stay ahead of the competition.

Mobile technology is often used to deliver upgraded service offerings, including mobile check-in, mobile key, and in-app messaging, but investing in those solutions can be costly and not all solutions are created equally. Improving the guest experience remains a balancing act with real-world budget constraints. Before implementing a mobile solution at your property, it’s essential to consider its capabilities to determine if the investment is worthwhile. This not only includes expected improvements to the guest experience but also to business operations.

Streamlined Processes

With over 92% of guests carrying a smartphone (and 40% with an existing hotel app installed), implementing solutions such as mobile check-in, mobile key, and messaging through a branded mobile app just makes sense. Mobile apps not only better connect your guests to your property, but they also streamline daily workflows for your staff. Completing mundane tasks like finding reservations and distributing room keys does not necessarily elevate or enhance the guest experience, but quality social interactions between hotel staff and guests do. The right tech allows hotel operators to automate repetitive tasks, which lets staff focus on providing guests with more personalized attention and assistance. This streamlined model continues past check-in for requests such as in-room dining, extra towels, or reservations at the spa.

Increased Loyalty

Mobile technology offers guests access to great brand experiences in real-time, which helps increase guest loyalty. A recent Oracle study found that “when it comes to immediate benefits versus accumulating points as part of a loyalty program, 78 percent of guests preferred immediate benefits.” This means an immediate, personalized offer will engage guests and drive brand loyalty.

Guests today have high expectations for seamless and personalized service. With the right technology, hoteliers can deliver all of that and more, while also gaining workflow efficiencies and driving guest loyalty.

To learn more about the mobile solutions INTELITY offers, sign-up for our bi-weekly newsletter or schedule a demo with a member of our team.

6 Digital Pain Points Impacting the Hospitality Industry

How a Smart Digital Strategy Can Help Overcome Digital Pitfalls

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Difficulty sharing information and data across disparate systems
  • Costly and time-consuming training for (often) high-turnover staff
  • Maintaining a competitive advantage in a highly saturated industry
  • Engaging mobile-first guests
  • Providing access to connectivity at scale
  • Creating authentic, personalized experiences that resonate with your customers

If so… we have good news! Technology can assist in resolving many of the common pain points you experience in your daily operations. Solve these problems, and you’re exponentially closer to delivering on a truly exceptional guest experience.

Overcoming data silos

The data silo problem occurs when various teams at the same property use different systems that do not allow the cross-channel sharing of information. Data silos can limit communication and collaboration, create inefficiencies, hog storage space, and slow down overall efficiency.

When guest data remains trapped within a silo, not only does the guest experience suffer, but so does the ability to use that data effectively for business, communications, and marketing. To gain deeper insight into your guests’ preferences and what they want, you must implement technology that allows data to be easily shared. This allows you to more easily personalize service, improve the guest experience, and make better business decisions.

Training staff 

Using multiple software systems at your property means ensuring your staff is properly trained on each one. Implementing a single end-to-end platform or integrated solutions makes training, utilizing, and optimizing that tech much more straightforward. Look to solutions and platforms that emphasize ease of use and a clean staff interface, as these solutions typically require little training and provide a better user experience.

Maintaining a competitive advantage

From a marketing perspective, there are many ways integrated technology can help you maintain a competitive advantage. Be smarter about reaching your guests by sending timely, targeted offers in real-time, and you’ll see guest engagement spike.

A competitive advantage can further be achieved through increased operational efficiency. Streamline your company’s internal processes by using a back-office dashboard that allows you to organize and manage information in one central location. Whether you choose a single platform or a combination of systems that complement each other, incorporating solutions that allow information and data to congregate in one place will help you streamline operations and enhance guest interactions. Your employees will be more efficient and internal processes more effective.

how hospitality technology solves digital pain points impacting the industry

Providing a quality mobile experience

Most consumers are accustomed to using smartphones for just about everything. Mobile and in-room technologies help enhance the guest experience by allowing mobile check-in/out and digital payments. Guests can access their guest rooms using their phone as a mobile key, which allows them to avoid the front desk altogether. Providing access to mobile technology does away with front desk friction, which can be a major pain point for most hoteliers. A customized mobile app can also be used to integrate with existing loyalty programs to encourage repeat business and brand loyalty.

Creating connectivity at scale

Consistent and reliable connectivity is a continuous challenge. Properties must provide ever-increasing bandwidth, as well as performance, reliability, and security that allows for constant digital communication, for both staff and guests. Your property must have enough bandwidth to capture guest data and support your cloud-based, back-office dashboard.

Personalization

86 percent of travelers value personalized offers, particularly those that make them feel like a unique and valued individual rather than just a number in a ledger. To create this kind of feeling requires effective use of your guests’ data and shared preferences to enhance their overall experience.

Navigating the digital world can be challenging for hoteliers that are already juggling multiple tasks and projects. By investing in technology that helps connect you and your staff to your guests, you can simultaneously address these common digital pain points and elevate your guests’ experience.

INTELITY is the broadest platform available to seamlessly connect service industry workforces directly to its customers. If you’d like to learn more about how our complete end-to-end platform can help you address the digital pain points you’re currently experiencing, contact us today to schedule a demonstration.

3 Ways Your Hotel Can Benefit from a Mobile App

Given the worldwide increase in smartphone usage, it should come as no surprise that nearly two-thirds of travelers rely on mobile apps during trips. OTAs, rideshare companies, and airlines have embraced this trend and created seamless mobile experiences for travelers. For hotels, offering a mobile app can not only meet travelers’ technology-focused expectations but can also greatly benefit the property and its staff.

Here are three ways in which your hotel, casino, or resort can benefit from offering a mobile app experience to guests:

Streamline the check-in experience

A mobile app can dramatically streamline the check-in process and reduce the amount of time spent at the front desk. Implementing mobile check-in and mobile key solutions into your app not only increases guest satisfaction, but it also reduces front desk friction and frees up time for staff to focus on providing more personalized guest service.

By putting the power of check-in (and check-out) into guests’ hands, hoteliers can manage room inventory more effectively. By allowing guests to initiate the check-in process via their mobile app before stepping foot onto your property, room assignments and availability can be better forecasted to ensure that each guest receives their selected room preference. Inventory can also be updated in real-time as customers check out using your mobile app, allowing for more timely updates compared to physically checking rooms for occupancy.

Perhaps the most immediate benefit of implementing mobile check-in is the cost savings from plastic room key reduction. Given that the life of an average key card is just 2.5 days, digitizing your keys can have a significant impact on your bottom line. Assuming that, on average, a single room uses 292 cards per year (two cards issued per day divided by the 2.5-day lifespan of a card), a single 100-room property could save upwards of $14,600 annually in key card costs alone (assuming a $0.50 cost per card).

Create new guest communication channels

Once your mobile app is downloaded, you have a direct line of communication with your target audience before, during, and after their stay. While the guest is staying at your property, they will be able to submit service requests, receive timely notifications and messages, and submit feedback in real-time. Over 60% of customers prefer self-service over speaking to a staff member — a mobile app helps to meet this expectation.

When a guest is able to submit a service request (dining, housekeeping, concierge, etc.) through their mobile app rather than over the phone or in person, a more efficient operational process is enabled. Service requests can be routed directly to the relevant department through your integrated PMS, ensuring that requests are always accurate and timely. In addition, the hotel staff can initiate communication with guests by sending relevant information through the app’s push notification feature. This keeps guests informed and happy, and can create new opportunities for ancillary revenue in the form of property-specific promotions and upselling opportunities.

Enable guest feedback and service recovery

benefits of mobile apps for hotels

One issue plaguing the hospitality industry is a lack of real-time insight into the guest experience. A mobile app allows you to capture this critical feedback by implementing surveys upon the completion of service requests. Capturing feedback from guests before they leave your property provides opportunities for real-time customer satisfaction monitoring as well as instant service recovery by proactively resolving any potential issues.

Through your app, you can also encourage guests to leave reviews on third-party sites and OTAs by sending timely push notifications and easy-to-fill forms. Capturing your audience’s attention upon a positive service experience can both prevent bad reviews and induce positive reviews. 76% of travelers say they would be willing to pay more for a hotel with higher TripAdvisor review scores; improving your third-party reviews allows you to increase your average daily rate (ADR) without sacrificing occupancy.

To learn more about how your property can benefit from introducing a guest-facing mobile app, sign up for INTELITY’s bi-weekly newsletter or contact demos@intelity.com.

Apps for Hotel Management: How to Put the Guest First

This article was originally published on Hotel Tech Report on November 20, 2019.

Guests are increasingly interested in communicating with a hotel before, during, and after their stay via mobile apps for hotel management. They’re seeking an easy avenue to check-in remotely, explore amenities, and learn more about the property and surrounding neighborhood. Hotel apps are one way hotels have successfully met this growing guest expectation.

Intelligently integrating a hotel app within the guest experience allows your property to open a clear line of communication with guests. It’s a platform through which guests can access hotel information such as room services and amenities, check-in remotely, place service requests, book a spa service, and more. Mobile hotel apps increase guest engagement and provide a new channel for upselling ancillary services, ultimately improving the guest experience when deployed correctly.

Mobile app providers like INTELITY are leading the way in providing a thoughtful, tech-enabled guest experience. Here’s what you need to know about guest mobile apps to offer a great experience at your property.

Why use mobile apps for hotel management?

Today’s guest is mobile-first, meaning hotels must find a way to provide five-star service optimized for any device. The ability to book and edit reservations, order room service, learn about amenities and check-in remotely are all features that guests expect to manage through a hotel app. Some hotels have taken it a step further to add features that engage and surprise their guests further.

The core benefits that any hotel app must provide are the ability to increase revenue with ancillary offers; real-time marketing through targeted promotions sent through the app; and the capture of data to build guest loyalty through a tailored experience. Apps like INTELITY can do much more than provide these foundational benefits.

Great hotel apps centralize a guest’s digital experience through streamlined communication and messaging. An app should integrate with your guest messaging service and PMS to provide mobile check-in and facilitate other guest requests. The ability to skip the front desk reduces wait times and lobby traffic by 20%, which makes guests happier and frees up staff. Through INTELITY, guests enjoy easy and convenient access to staff via mobile messaging, and staff are more readily available to assist via the back-end dashboard.

Guest mobile apps reduce barriers between guests and the right on-site teams to resolve any issues as they arise and ensure requests get answered quickly. INTELITY’s guest messaging connects guests directly with operations teams through SMS, as well as in-app messaging services, like Facebook Messenger. All messages get routed through the INTELITY platform to make sure there are no missed connections. Whether it’s a request for late checkout, room service, or for extra towels, an app should be able to route these communications to the right team within your property.

And, most compellingly, the right hotel app can unlock new ways to increase guest spend. Send relevant offers through the app to capitalize on guest preferences. A great example is the James Hotels app, James Pocket Assistant. The app helps guests discover and access amenities and special offers on-site. Menus and other content are updated quickly depending on what’s happening at the hotel and guest preferences.

The changing market of hotel apps

This year, the hotel app market saw three big changes: the growth of internet of things hospitality, more personalization, and the introduction of artificial intelligence in the app experience.
IoT has taken the tech world by storm, and hotel apps are not exempt, Mobile apps now allow guests to customize their in-room experience. Lucy, the smartphone app of Virgin Hotels, has multiple features that allow guests to interact with the room. Lucy gives guests the power to adjust the room temperature, stream personal content to their room’s TV, and turn their smartphone into a remote.

Personalization options continue with the ability to map data across multiple guest touchpoints. Hotel apps can utilize smart learning mechanisms to personalize guests’ needs throughout their stay.

It’s important that any hotel app platform you decide to implement has an easy to use content management system so that you can make regular updates without contacting your vendor.  INTELITY’s content management solution, for example, enables your team to update availability across food and beverage operations on-the-fly. Management can sync changes immediately across all channels: web app, in-room tablet, and mobile app, as well as send through discounts and promos in real-time.

And, lastly, artificial intelligence will be able to dissect and analyze guest interactions, behaviors, context and language to intelligently respond and provide a more personalized method of communication. Voice activation has become more common in consumer’s homes, and hotel rooms are likely to follow suit. Voice technology offers access to instant information about your hotel and the surrounding area, as well as answers to common questions that create a backlog at the front desk.

Next year, we predict more apps to enter the market, making it vital that hotel owners consider how their app will add unique value to the guest experience. The market will consolidate, as we’ve already seen with major players like Aimbridge and Interstate merging. And, the use of mobile keys will continue to drive app adoption – Hilton guests downloaded 7.6 million mobile keys through the app in 2018.

What should hoteliers look for in an app vendor?

An app needs to provide a holistic experience at the guest’s fingertips. Here are some of the key features your app must include:

  • Mobile check-in: offer a frictionless way to skip the front desk while driving more revenue.
  • Mobile key: keyless entry leads to an average increase of 7% in guest satisfaction scores.
  • Guest messaging: SMS, Facebook Messenger, or and in-app messages to connect guests directly with your staff
  • Room service ordering: automate service request delivery, track order status, track request fulfillment time, and generate data
  • Loyalty program integrations: encourage increased engagement within your app between stays
  • Local services and content: recommend local services and POIs to market your location and help guests maximize their stay
  • Requests and ticket management: guests can make bookings with the concierge, arrange transportation or request more towels right from your hotel app
  • Room automation: control the lights, TV, AC and drapes right from your phone

Broadly, your app must integrate with your PMS, IoT provider, and service optimization software. Your property management system should be equipped relay guest info to and from the app easily and allow for guests to check-in from their phone. Integrate the app capabilities with in-room technology to control features (lights, thermostat, etc.). And make sure you control traffic with a service optimization provider that can communicate guest requests efficiently and seamlessly to your staff.

Questions to ask hotel app providers

There are more app vendors entering the market each day. Learn more about what each provider offers and make sure they can answer these three questions:

  1. Do you build that can integrate with my hotel brand app? Hotel brands need access to a complete SDK to make app functionality live within their branded app.
  2. Does your app include mobile key? Mobile key is one of the most in-demand features of a hotel app. Make sure the app integrates with many industry-wide lock vendors and hardware partners to provide a seamless experience.
  3. Does your app integrate with my existing loyalty program? Integrate your loyalty program to drive higher ROI by encouraging loyalty members to download the application. Serve more targeted offerings to increase revenue uptake and remove friction between guests and their desired on-property services.

Find out what other hoteliers are saying about mobile apps and learn more about pricing in Hotel Tech Report’s 2020 Hotel App Buyers Guide.

HX 2019 Recap: The Technology That Leads to an Excellent Guest Experience and Yields Return of Time

While at The Hotel Experience Expo in New York City, INTELITY CEO Robert Stevenson participated in a panel on “Measuring Funding and ROI of Your Technology Investment” alongside ALICE President & Co-Founder Alex Shashou, and Expedia Senior Director of Market Management Deb Surden. Moderated by AAHOA Secretary Neal Patel, the panel focused on how technology has transformed the hospitality industry and the all-important question of how to measure the ROI of tech investments.

The Impact of Tech in Hospitality 

The general consensus amongst the panelists is that without a doubt, over the past few years, technology has transformed the hospitality industry and the travel industry as a whole. All the panelists agreed that hospitality technology has helped even the playing field between branded and unbranded properties and that the focus of tech, from both the guest and staff perspective, is to deliver a great guest experience. Shashou noted that the value prop of a hotel is to provide great service to its guests and that is best achieved through the proper implementation and optimized use of technology.

Put Your Guests in Control of Their Stay

Shashou and Surden both pointed out that technology has empowered people to own their travel experiences and has placed the modern traveler in complete control of managing their trip. Stevenson added that guests expect this same experience when staying at a hotel. This expectation has increased the demand for self-service solutions, like mobile check-in and mobile key, that allow guests to bypass the front desk and better manage their experience with a hotel property or brand.

Personalized Experiences are Key

The panelists also discussed the increase in the adoption of guest experience tech, like mobile apps and in-room tablets. Surden pointed out that modern guests want a personalized guest room experience, which guest-facing technology helps provide. Shashou added that in-room tablets and other forms of guest experience tech should be the standard at four and five-star properties, a reversal on past statements where he indicated guest-facing tech was not worth the investment. Stevenson also noted that guest experience technology is increasingly adaptable and can help support staff and back-office software by automating and expediting tasks and guest requests.

Tech Should Augment Staff, Not Replace Them

The biggest takeaway from the panel is that hospitality tech is not meant to replace hotel staff, but rather optimize their performance by taking over mundane and monotonous tasks. Using technology to automate various tasks and maximize response time frees up staff time, so they can focus more on creating social interactions with guests rather than transactional ones. In turn, these social interactions are more valuable to the guest and help elevate their experience at a property.

The Gift of Time

The return of time is the most valuable return on investment that technology provides. By optimizing operational flows and streamlining guest and staff interactions, technology gives time back to both staff and guests. This means team members can oversee and manage processes rather than complete each individual task themselves, therefore becoming exponentially more efficient. It also means hotel staff is empowered to focus on creating more quality interactions with guests, investing in further training, or supporting fellow team members. Freeing up time for guests leads to a better overall experience and a higher rate of guest satisfaction.

Do you want to learn more about how you can enhance your guest experience with hospitality technology? Subscribe to INTELITY’s bi-weekly newsletter for industry updates or schedule a demo with a member of our team.

The Future of Hospitality: Giving Guests Control Over Their Stay

How the tech-forward brand, YOTEL, is crafting a first-class guest experience

Lodging Leaders recently published a podcast showcasing the innovative YOTEL brand, its ambitious plans to grow and scale, and its tech-forward approach to guest service. The podcast features YOTEL CEO Hubert Viriot and INTELITY Chief Technology Officer Christoper Grey, who weighed in on INTELITY’s partnership with the brand and how YOTEL is leading the future of tech in the hospitality sector. Here’s a quick recap…

In April, INTELITY and YOTEL announced that they’d partnered to develop and launch a custom brand app for YOTEL’s expansive portfolio of properties. This next-generation app, scheduled to launch early 2020, is designed to give guests complete control over their experience with the brand- before, during, and after their stay. “We want customers to download the app, retrieve their reservation, decide when they want to check-in and check-out, download their [mobile] keys, control in-room amenities…control their entire stay through their own smartphone,” said YOTEL CEO Hubert Viriot.

“YOTEL is one of my favorite customers as a technologist because they’re extremely tech-forward,” said Christopher Grey INTELITY CTO. “That [tech-forward thinking] gives us a lot of latitudes as we work together as partners for ways that we can use technology to better the guest experience.”

Technology is at the center of YOTEL. The hotel brand was one of the first to introduce free broadband internet across its properties and an early adopter of kiosk check-in. Viriot said he has always “considered tech a key element of [the brand’s] DNA and a brand differentiator compared to traditional hotels.”

“That’s one of the reasons YOTEL selected INTELITY and brought us into this engagement,” said Grey. “They know how tech-forward they are and they know they have to meet the needs of their guests… we’re helping them get to their next milestone.” YOTEL continues to look to tech to facilitate and elevate the guest experience as it prepares to launch its new brand app.

The new mobile app will feature mobile check-in and mobile key functionalities, provide guests with a direct digital connection to hotel staff, allow guests to place dining orders and control room environment, and give guests access to information about the hotel and surrounding area.

By automating aspects of the check-in process and providing immediately accessible information about the hotel, local area, and, in some cases, the airport, the mobile app streamlines operations so that staff can spend less time focused on tedious tasks and more time elevating guest service. As Lodging Leaders’ founder and host, Jonathan Albano pointed out, “The ultimate goal [of the app] is to give guests control of their stay and give YOTEL employees the opportunity to focus on guest service. The interaction between YOTEL crew members and the customers should be less transactional and more social.”

As the brand prepares to launch the app, they’re focused on training their staff to use and leverage the new tech to enhance the guest experience and improve satisfaction. Grey emphasizes the importance of staff understanding and adopting the tech, “It’s not good enough just to have the technology if the staff doesn’t know how to use it or if they use it poorly…If you don’t have staff adoption and your guests are trying to use it, then that creates a nightmare for everybody.”

How YOTEL is Driving the Future of Hospitality with Mobile App

An example that Grey called out is the free form chat function, which will exist in YOTEL’s new brand app. “Modern guests don’t want to fill out a specific request. They just want to open a chat window and say ‘I need more towels’…and that message has to go somewhere…somebody has to see the message, they have to be able to respond to it, track it, and be alerted if it hasn’t been addressed in a certain amount of time. Those are all the staff concerns from the other side of the equation that the INTELITY platform does a great job in handling.”

By properly training staff to optimize their tech, streamlining processes through automation, and placing the guests in complete control of their stay, YOTEL is pushing hospitality into the future.

To stay up to date with the latest industry news and for more information on INTELITY, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter. To listen to the full podcast, please visit the Lodging Leaders website.

Using Retail Psychology in Hospitality to Increase Revenue and Delight Your Guests

How Hoteliers Can Leverage Technology to Drive Incremental Revenue 

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a calendar of upcoming events and happenings that you’re juggling. This means your staff needs easy ways to send offers and promotions directly to guests. According to a new survey published by Kelton Research and SheerID, 84% of Americans say exclusive offers make them more likely to shop, which is good news if you can deliver relevant messages to your hotel and casino guests.

This positive research indicates guests react in real-time. The same survey shows that consumers who will use an exclusive invitation will use it quickly. 41% said it would likely make them seek out something to buy, just to use the offer. Utilizing push and SMS messaging to guests with these promotions becomes a powerful way to increase revenue, whether they’re tailored to individuals or groups.

Below are some great ways you can delight guests with special offers that drive revenue.

In-Room Dining

If your property has a high-volume IRD business, you need to seamlessly connect and track the full dining loop-from order placed, to order delivered-and everything in between. Guests need to access menus where they can immediately place (or schedule) their orders. Those orders need to route directly to the kitchen. You should know precisely how long the transaction took, and the bill should land automatically on your guest folio.

Humans are visual creatures, so feature high-quality photos of your menu items; this will increase engagement and check-size (in some cases, up to 30%). Automated up-selling also guarantees your guests get a consistent experience, and you don’t miss opportunities (think: would you like some fries with that shake). You cannot replace human interaction, but let your staff focus on what matters – timely and friendly delivery.

how to use retail psychology in hospitality to drive revenue

The best approach to manage in-room dining this way is by implementing in-room tablets in your guest rooms. In addition to dining menus, tablets ensure your guests have up-to-the-minute information about hotel amenities and offerings. Guests can quickly request hotel services, communicate directly with staff, or book a spa appointment from the comfort of their room.

Retail 

Do you have beautiful artwork throughout your hotel for purchase? Or, perhaps guests can take home some of the amenities they enjoyed during their stay, like spa and hair care products, or a luxurious robe and slippers set. Without technology, it can be difficult to highlight these offerings, but with the use of in-room tablets or a custom mobile app, guests can easily browse items and make selections. Integrated technology allows those exclusive offers guests love to occur seamlessly. For example, guests who dine in a certain restaurant filled with art may receive an invitation to purchase their own piece. Guests who visit the spa receive an opportunity to purchase spa products at a discount. Adding the purchase to a guests’ folio means shopping occurs with one-click. And instead of waiting a few days for delivery, a beautifully presented package can be brought in person by staff, creating an exceptional guest experience.

Reviews and Loyalty 

Although providing personalized opportunities and an exceptional guest stay is paramount, generating reviews and brand loyalty should be the result. Once a guest leaves your property, it can be difficult to reach them for comments. And yet, consumers are counting on those reviews more often than not when choosing their next hotel.

Make it easy for happy guests to leave happy reviews, as soon as possible. Guests can receive a simple prompt through a hotel app, which continues to engage them and grow loyalty, and allows you to capture valuable information about their experience. The right technology empowers you to engage with guests throughout their stay so if something goes wrong, you’re able to listen and resolve the concerns, rather than wait for a nasty review to go viral. All of those actions increase the guest experience and, ultimately, loyalty.

Using retail psychology and technology in tandem to send out exclusive offers and promotions creates new opportunities for you to simultaneously drive incremental revenue and delight your guests. Find out how the INTELITY platform can help you achieve these goals by scheduling a demo today!

G2E Panel Recap: Using Technology to Extend the Casino Floor and Increase Revenue

A recent highlight of INTELITY’s attendance at the 2019 Global Gaming Expo was the panel discussion on “Using Technology to Extend the Casino Floor and Increase Revenue,” moderated by INTELITY SVP of Sales Benjamin Keller. Richard Rader, CTO of Seven Feathers Casino Resort, and Jeff Wheatley, Assistant General Manager of Angel of the Winds Casino Resort spoke with Keller about how they have successfully implemented technology throughout their properties.

Using In-Room Guest Marketing to Increase Revenue

A primary topic covered in the hour-long session was regarding guest marketing and how technology enables casino properties to better target guests while on property. Both panelists discussed the success they’ve seen in implementing in-room technology to drive guests to revenue-generating activities like the casino floor and dining through timely, personalized promotions.

Wheatley noted that “in-room tablets are huge for us because they allow us to advertise to a captive audience,” while Rader added that “selling guest-facing ads helps us subsidize our WiFi and infrastructure costs.” Not only do in-room tablets provide direct revenue and cost-saving opportunities for casino hotels, but they also enhance the overall guest experience. “We get a lot of positive guest feedback [regarding our in-room tablets] even when we don’t solicit it,” said Wheatley.

Enhancing the Guest Experience with Mobile Technology

Another technology investment that both panelists discussed extensively was guest-facing mobile apps. Rader pointed out that the decision to invest in a mobile app should be made only after understanding your existing guest behavior and use cases. Given that his property’s guest population has a relatively high average age, his investment in mobile technology is evaluated around how guests respond to the tech: “We look at our business and use cases and build our technology around that… well implemented technology doesn’t need hundreds of pages of documentation. It needs to be intuitive.”

Both panelists noted the clear return on investment with their mobile check-in and mobile key solutions. Regarding mobile check-in, Wheatley said “[our guests] have become accustomed to ‘we want it and we want it now.’ Once we’ve set that guest expectation, we have to fulfill it.” Today’s guests increasingly rely on mobile technology and expect immediate access while traveling, and checking into their hotel room is no exception. Integrating mobile check-in into a casino hotel’s guest flow means guests can spend less time in line and more time on the casino floor.

Successful Tech Implementation Requires Staff Training

To wrap the session, the panelists talked about the challenges of training staff members on how to successfully use technology. Wheatley touched on the importance of making sure that his staff members know how to use and manage any new technology investment, and how that is a critical component for a successful implementation. By focusing on staff training, he mentioned that he is able to effectively control costs across his organization: “Our biggest expense by far is labor costs; we’re always looking at how to become more efficient.” Mobile technology that is implemented well also creates a more efficient workflow for staff. By automating manual processes and simple tasks, casino hotels can improve their staff efficiency without sacrificing the guest experience.

Overall, the engaging panel discussion provided clear opportunities for casino hotels to successfully implement technology solutions throughout their properties. To learn more about how INTELITY drives revenue and reduces costs for casino hotels around the world, contact the INTELITY team to request a demo today.

How Do I Connect With Connected Guests?

What to do when your guests are more engaged with their phones than your staff

Today’s guests are more connected than ever; they use their mobile devices to research, book, and even get to their destination. The modern guest also relies heavily on the internet, social review networks, and apps throughout their travels. In recent years, the travel industry has shifted to focus on better serving the connection needs of digital-first travelers.

Airlines were quick to adopt technology and ride-share businesses like Uber and Lyft implemented technology that is designed to streamline and simplify. While these airlines and car services once required staff interaction to function, consumers are now using online and app solutions to search, book, pay for, and review a trip. From the almost fully-automated check-in process at the airport to the seamless rideshare exchange, staff involvement acts as a complement to streamline customer experience-until guests reach their hotel.

Consumers who are empowered in other sectors of the travel industry often find themselves waiting in line at a hotel to check-in and receive room keys. At many properties, most service requests still require a visit or call to the front desk, including spa or dining reservations and room service, which often results in the guest being placed on hold or having to wait for confirmation. Yet studies show that 66% of guests have a better experience when they can use self-service technology to receive information and complete tasks, and an impressive 70% prefer to use technology to get what they want faster.

In today’s competitive market, creating a frictionless experience is one of the keys to client satisfaction and loyalty. Here are four ways you can use automation to better serve your connected guests.

Mobile Apps

Having your own branded app empowers your guests to control their experience before, during, and after their stay. Mobile check-in and mobile key features can be incorporated into your app, giving guests the ability to bypass the front desk and head straight to their room. Apps can also create revenue-generating and up-selling opportunities like room upgrades, the addition of dessert to an in-room dining check, and much more.

In-Room Tablets

Interactive in-room tablets can replace printed compendiums, alarm clocks, and other “clutter,” which offers more cost savings. What once took a phone call or a visit to the front desk is now at your guests’ fingertips, including ordering room service, requesting additional items from housekeeping, booking reservations at onsite restaurants, spas and more.

In-Room Casting

This TV-package alternative reduces the need to scroll through endless commercials found on real-time TV and local news stations (which often are irrelevant to your guests) and places the guests in charge of their entertainment by providing access to their favorite streaming service. With Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and more, endless entertainment is in the hands of your guests. At the same time, pay-per-view and satellite subscription expenses can be eliminated.

Guest Messaging

Real-time messaging is an effective way for guests to provide feedback and communicate seamlessly with your staff both on and off-property. Even escalated concerns are quickly addressed, reducing guest frustration and potentially negative reviews after a stay.

As the prevalence of technology increases in the industry, hoteliers are right to consider ways to stay ahead of the competition. Creating a seamless experience, from check-in to check-out, is the best way to exceed the expectation, elevate the guest experience, and provide the service the connected traveler craves.

To learn more about how to better serve the connected traveler and stay up-to-date on the latest industry news, sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter or schedule a demo with our team.

Is Your Hotel Ready for a Guest Experience Upgrade?

4 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Guest Experience Platform for Your Property

The MIT Sloan Management Review said it best, “Doing business digitally isn’t an ‘add technology and stir’ proposition.”  When choosing a hospitality technology platform to streamline your operations and bridge the connection between your guests and staff, it’s important to keep your end goal in mind.

You’ll need to consider where you want to be in several years and select the right tech that will help you future-proof your hotel. Selecting piecemeal one-point solutions at random or because they are the newest thing on the market can negatively impact the overall performance of your tech and become a burden for your IT staff to manage. Choosing and implementing solutions that integrate seamlessly with your existing tech is an essential part of the process.

To help you navigate through the sea of solutions out there, here are some questions to help you through the process:

Does it improve your guest experience and increase guest loyalty?

Your biggest goal, whether you are discussing back-of-house or guest-facing technology, should always be to improve the guest experience. The better the experience, the more likely guests will become loyal to your brand. Customer loyalty equates to an increase in revenue, both due to repeat guests and from guests sharing their positive experiences with their friends and social networks. According to a recent study performed by Brand Keys, a 7 percent increase in loyalty can boost lifetime profits per customer by as much as 85 percent, and a 3 percent increase in loyalty can lead to a 10 percent cost reduction.

Does it help you easily communicate with your guests?

Leverage solutions that streamline your guests’ experience with your property and make it easy for them to contact and communicate with your staff before, during, and after their stay. According to Travelport, 51 percent of travelers expect to communicate via text or messenger. Mobile and in-room technology give guests an easy way to make requests, place orders, make reservations or access information about your property, all without picking up a phone. It’s an elevated level of convenience and an opportunity for staff to manage requests effectively, delivering a better experience overall.

does your guest experience platform need an upgrade?

Can you access data that you can actually use?

Use data to make your staff more efficient and provide better guest service. Using the data generated by your tech platforms, you and your staff can make smarter business decisions, improve overall efficiency, and better manage your workflow and schedules. Use your data to anticipate guest needs, personalize experiences and exceed expectations!

Does it create a complete digital experience?

Your guests are booking online, using rideshares like Uber & Lyft, and getting through the airport with digital boarding passes. You need to give them the same experience when they get to your property. Give them access to check themselves in remotely, open their door using their mobile key, control their in-room environment, and easily stream content from their own Netflix account, all through one end-to-end platform. Not only will your guests consider yours a sophisticated property, but creating this kind of “tech ambiance” will appeal to digital natives and build more brand loyalty.

The right tech platform helps hoteliers to provide consistent, excellent service, which in turn creates brand loyalty amongst your guests. When satisfied customers become loyal and repeat visitors, it can drive increased revenue for your property. Bottom line: Delight your customers, and they will return!

With over 120 integrations across PMS, POS, room controls, locks and content providers, there is no other platform more built for seamless integration and implementation. To find out how to upgrade your guest experience today, Schedule a demo, sign up for our newsletter, or email us at demos@intelity.com.

A Case for Investing in Technology During the Design and Development Process

Considering technology during the design process of a new hotel property can only promote innovative ideation and save on installation costs

The discussion about technology has changed immensely over the past several years, and hoteliers worldwide have received the message: all guests, millennial, gen z, or otherwise, want mobile tech included in their experience. While the main conversation is about adjusting to consumer needs, there’s a more prescient matter on the table for properties in development: considering technology in the design stages to stay ahead.

Businesses should be ostensibly “future-proofing” their properties, considering that technology and user expectation for more privacy and a customizable experience have taken precedent. A guest’s hotel stay is no longer just about the brick-and-mortar aspects, it’s now extended out to an entire brand experience. When it comes to designing for the modern traveler, designers need to be up-to-date with the latest in emerging technology usage when crafting a space. It’s no longer enough to flaunt location or chic interiors, hotels need to be looking ahead to build out an extra level of functionality for their tech-savvy guests.

There are easy solutions for the future-proofing dilemma that hoteliers are facing, it takes finding the best tools for the property. There are now emerging platforms in the technology marketplace that can provide guests with instant control over their experience: mobile check-in, keyless entry, streaming music, and reservation management available through an accompanying app. If hoteliers install an in-room tablet component that marries all of the things, the user desires are met for a seamless visit. The additional perk of hospitality platforms is that they do all of the above while providing the hotel with numerous behind-the-scenes capabilities to manage operations, and stay ahead of guests’ needs.

It’s far more cost-effective to consider technology in the development stages of a new property than to make changes down the road. As it stands, more than 50% of hotels are making guestroom technology upgrades a priority, so why shouldn’t this aspect of the guest experience be factored at the design-level of development? According to HT’s 2016 Lodging Technology Study, 54% of hotels are devoting more of their spends on technology to match escalating guest expectations. If tech specs are factored into the construction as a proactive measure, the costs are far significantly lower than knocking into completed walls, dealing with lock upgrades, or the associated costs that go into redoing Internet and in-room controls infrastructure. Playing with these aspects in advance invites more creativity and can save money in the short term.

Once technology factors are integrated, new levels of guest experience can be optimized. The physical flow of mobile check-in, the casual sleekness of in-room design with the tablet- these subtle tweaks epitomize how people are defining and value luxury. Additionally, there’s money on the table when considering that technology can provide upsell points tied to geolocation or time of day, or analyzing the guest’s experience for potential recovery should any hiccups occur while they’re still on the property. The LBMA 2017 Global Transitions Trends Report found that 25% of marketing budgets are spent on location-based marketing, and over 50% of brands are using location data to target their customer base. There are literally 10s of millions in ad revenue up for grabs if hotels use localization and customer targeting with in-room tablets to connect guests with local culture- neighborhood dining, must-see events, and finding various hidden gems.

Considering investing in technology during the design process of a new hotel property can only promote innovative ideation, allow hotel brands to expand on their experience, and save on installation costs. With the rise of Airbnb and the litany of problems that come with its scattershot approach to “quality,” the designers behind tomorrow’s hotels have an opportunity to elevate the brand experience by factoring in how users engage with tech.

 

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