This post provides insight directly from a member of our executive committee, CEO & President David Adelson.
With the hospitality industry thriving, hotel construction on the rise, and the expansion of the sharing economy, hotels are facing more competition to accomplish the goal of heads in beds and establishing guest loyalty. It’s become extremely important for a hotelier to actively consider the unique points of value that his or her property offers target segments in comparison to others in the same market. The ability of a property or brand to be competitive is now about more than just price, although travelers are still definitely looking for great deals.
Mobility has had a major impact on the interaction between consumers and businesses, creating more opportunity for visibility and communication. It’s about listening to guests and providing them with the experience they want. Online social connectivity has revolutionized the ability of the consumer to communicate to brands what they’re looking for, which savvy brands can then use to determine how to improve positioning.
The best hotel brands and properties are the ones that can use new digital channels and tools to distinguish from competitors, reinforce brand awareness, and establish guest loyalty.
Here are a few ways technology can help you accomplish these goals:
Improve the guest experience
You can no longer deny that guests not only want the option to use technology during their stay, they expect it. No matter your target consumer demographic, mobile technology is going to be involved in your guests’ travel journey at some stage, and therefore is a powerful tool for you to utilize. Most importantly, it creates an open line of communication that helps you get to know guests better. Studies show that customers would rather text than place a phone call to solve customer service needs, so why not give them the option by making your staff available via mobile?
Technology can also allow guests to share information with a hotel about preferences and interests for a more personalized experience. Data has become a valuable component of technology use, and 73 percent of consumers are willing to share personal information if they feel they’re receiving sufficient benefit in return. As a result, hotels can apply data collected for more targeted marketing and advertising, and to efficiently push out information about relevant offers so that guests are left feeling more satisfied from interactions.
Monitor social conversations and guard brand reputation
These days, your customers are talking to you around the clock through a number of different channels, whether it’s Twitter, Facebook, TripAdvisor, Yelp, etc. Being an active participant in these digital conversations is vital to maintaining high levels of brand satisfaction and diverting potential crises. Nearly 8 in 10 guests reference online reviews before booking, and they are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher reviews if pricing is similar. When negative feedback is shared online, it’s absolutely critical that a brand quickly and appropriately responds in some way – 87 percent of travelers said appropriate management response to a bad review improves the impression of a hotel.
Connecting with guests via mobile provides the added benefit of allowing them to immediately and directly share feedback from their experience via an app or mobile messaging. For example, INTELITY’s hospitality technology platform features a guest feedback solution that guests can use to send a rating of their stay to the hotel. Staff can then be proactive in addressing issues more quickly, even before they leave the property.
Streamline operations for better guest service and staff productivity
Great technology can improve things on the back end as well, indirectly resulting in benefits for guests and improve the perception of your brand. Technology reduces the heavy lifting for your team, making it easier to get through repetitive, tedious tasks. It also increases productivity. About half of all adults with Internet access say they feel more productive at work thanks to technology (compared to only 7 percent who feel less productive), while 35 percent say it increases the number of hours and amount of work they are able to complete. To again use INTELITY’s platform as an example, it includes tools that allow hotel staff to track guest requests to fulfillment. This allows management to gather insight on service response times and adjust procedures as necessary. Similarly, digital systems can help management employ stronger strategies to streamline relationships with customers.