As the new era of travel starts, ensure your safety protocols, services, and amenities are top of mind to create outstanding experiences for your guests.
The hospitality world is currently in limbo—some guests are convinced the COVID-19 threat is over and it’s time for a full return to normal while others aren’t convinced we’re out of the woods. But many agree on one thing: summer isn’t canceled.
According to Deloitte research, 31% of consumers are planning to spend at least one night in a hotel for leisure travel this summer. And when the New York Times interviewed epidemiologists, they were even more comfortable with the idea. 56% reported feeling okay to vacation overnight somewhere within driving distance. Those are big numbers.
With travel bookings expected to rise over the next few months and safety remaining a key factor in every stay, hotels and resorts are looking for ways to reduce face-to-face staff interactions and contact between guests while at the same time ensuring great service, and that everyone is comfortable and satisfied with their stay. It’s a tall order—and the only way to achieve it is by prioritizing digital communication at every step of the guest journey.
Prepare Guests Before Their Stay with Pre-Arrival Messaging Through Email, SMS, or a Mobile App
Communicating with guests before they even walk in the door is your first big opportunity to reassure them from the start, as well as prepare them for the digital communication you’ll favor throughout their stay. This is where email and a hotel mobile app come into play. First, send them an email or in-app message soon after they’ve booked to let them know exactly what measures are in place for their safety, whether it’s hand sanitizer stations available in common spaces or a reduction in housekeeping visits to limit contact. It’s also important to include any restrictions you currently have in place, like reduced hours for restaurants or limits on how many people can be in common areas at once. You can also encourage them to make reservations at your restaurant(s), gym, and spa in advance to secure their spot.
Then, as their check-in date nears, send them a final message or SMS with information on their service options. The more mobile capabilities you have to offer, the more control you can give them over their stay. With that control, guests can create the experiences they want and select the level of contact they’re comfortable with—the importance of which can’t be overstated.
If you’ve implemented contactless services, such as mobile check-in and mobile key, encourage guests to check in from their smartphone and download their digital room key, so they can skip the front desk altogether. That way, they’re confident and in the know before they even walk in your door.
Keep Your Guests Informed During Their Stay Through In-Room Tablets and a Mobile App
On-premises, in-room tablets or a mobile app can entirely eliminate the need for printed collateral. Through a tablet or an app, you can communicate in two key ways: provide key information that guests can access as they please and send personalized push messages. Both are critical to a good communication strategy.
Equip Guests with Helpful Information
Start by updating hotel information to encompass key new services they can tap into. Change your homepage and add in property-specific resources for COVID-19 in case guests miss that information in your pre-arrival messages. But don’t stop at the homepage—it’s just as important to pepper in small updates throughout all of your content, whether it’s updating dining options to include touchless dining delivery or housekeeping information to reflect a change in cleaning frequency.
Not only does it create a cohesive digital guest experience, but it significantly reduces the amount of questions and help guests need from staff. And if they can’t find the information themselves, they can immediately chat with a service representative straight from the app or tablet. That’s great communication and great service.
Take Full Advantage of Digital Push Messaging Capabilities
Once self-service information is fully updated, push messaging comes into play. This should obviously be a smaller piece of your communication strategy—no one wants constant message notifications—but when used sparingly, it’s an extremely effective tool for communicating with guests and increasing revenue from on-property amenities. Send personalized messages with relevant offers and information at key points during their stay, like a dining message as dinner time approaches. The options are limitless, but the tailoring is key. Accurately predicting what guests want, and when they want it, leads to exceptional guest experiences and satisfaction scores. And that’s the goal.
Here’s the bottom line: you don’t want to overwhelm guests, but it’s never been more important to ensure they’re in the loop every step of the way. This summer’s hotel stays will usher in a new era of travel, unlike anything guests have experienced in the past. They’ll need—and appreciate—any extra guidance you give them.
Technology enables communication touchpoints during every part of their stay, so they’re never far from information or staff help, even if they’re uncomfortable with physical interactions. That leads to great guest experiences and great reviews, exactly what you’ll need to increase confidence in hotel safety and lift booking numbers.
Ready to learn how you can communicate well with guests at every step of their journey? Request a demo of the industry-leading INTELITY platform.