In-room technology is critical for guest happiness; hotel service is an area where hotels can continue to increase customer satisfaction
The J.D. Power 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index indicated that hotels are definitely getting it right when it comes to guest experience, and their guests are happier than ever. According to the annual survey, overall satisfaction of the hotel industry is up eight points to an all-time high of 825 out of 1,000.
Hotels got high marks all across the board, but one area clearly associated with higher guest satisfaction is adding technology in guest rooms. While 77 percent of guests surveyed said there was a large flat-panel TV in their room during a recent stay, only 10 percent noted a tablet that provides in-room information. A TV raised guest satisfaction 12 points, while a tablet raised it 47 points.
As in-room technology becomes standard, this increased guest satisfaction may start to plateau. In 2018, the addition of a mobile app to a hotel’s offerings brought a 58-percent increase in guest satisfaction, a considerable number but one that’s down from 65 percent the year before.
“Hotels in all price ranges have excelled at ensuring their customers have a top-notch experience,” said Jennifer Corwin, Associate Practice Lead for the Global Travel and Hospitality Practice at J.D. Power. “Years of capital investment in offerings such as higher-end televisions and in-room tablets have left their mark. Now, as hotels look to push customer satisfaction levels higher, their focus should turn to service areas, particularly when it comes to direct booking.”
Satisfaction with hotel services did go up in the 2018 survey but this was lower than the increase in satisfaction with hotel product. Satisfaction with product-focused areas such as guest rooms and hotel facilities are increasing at a higher rate than any other factor (13 and 11 points, respectively). Service areas with the highest level of staff touchpoints (check-in, check-out, and food & beverage) have improved the least (5 and 7 points, respectively), and this coincides with a smaller improvement in cost and fees (5 points). Even with the significant improvement the past few years have seen, there is still room to increase guest satisfaction in areas related to hotel service.
The 2018 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study analyzes guest responses to more than 150 questions regarding their overall experiences and includes 70 officially ranked brands in eight market segments. This year’s study is based on responses from approximately 55,000 hotel guests who stayed at a hotel between May 2017 and May 2018. The study was fielded between June 2017 and May 2018.
High tech has become the norm, and it may be growing faster in the global hotel industry than almost anywhere else. As you finalize your property’s 2019 budget, make sure you’ve considered this high-tech trend and have allocated the right amount of spending for the hospitality technology that will best serve your property, your staff, and your guests.
The New York Times quotes Scott Dobroski, who works in corporate communications for Glassdoor, as saying, “All companies are becoming technology companies to some degree, and this is especially true in the hospitality industry.”
And guests are taking notice. Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study found that 65 percent of guests said they would pay more and are more likely to return to a hotel that provides the technology they consider essential. Another study shows that 44 percent of travelers are more likely to book a smart hotel and 69 percent prefer to opt-in to smart-room features.
For 2019, this includes mobile check-in that allows guests check-in and out from a smart device, the ability to communicate with hotel staff through messaging, and access to high-tech features in guestrooms. Twenty-first-century guests expect to have access to the same sort of seamless technology in their hotel room that they have at home. They want to find easy-to-use, lightning fast Wi-Fi with Internet speeds that are as fast as at home—or faster. They want to be able to stream content from their phone right to the TV, and they want to be able to make requests without having to pick up the phone.
But let’s not forget about staff-facing hospitality technology. It’s invaluable having a mobile platform that allows staff members to respond to guests in real time, even when they are away from the computer. This type of platform also provides metrics on task management and request fulfillment timelines. Not only does this automated technology help streamline operational efficiencies, but it also frees up staff time to allow your team to focus on guests and create an exceptional guest experience.
With AAA’s newly revised Approval Requirements and Diamond Rating Guidelines, it’s important to incorporate technologies that connect guests and lodging operators so they can “interact on an increasingly personalized basis.” To qualify for one of the higher AAA Diamond Ratings in 2019 you need to make sure your budget allows for the appropriate technologies.
A 3-Diamond rating requires a hotel to have mobile technology that supports check-in and check-out.
A 4-Diamond rating requires that as well as remote guest-service access through mobile devices.
A 5-Diamond rating requires all that and mobile key access to guest rooms and advanced connectivity across all guest interactions.
Prioritizing tech spending in your 2019 budget will help you to remain competitive within the industry. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Lodging Technology Study, 71 percent of companies that consider themselves technology innovators plan to increase their IT budgets, and 40 percent that considered themselves “laggards” plan to do so.
Ask yourself: Are you communicating with guests from the moment they book their room? Do you have guest engagement and communication throughout the entire guest journey – before, during, and after their stay – and is that helping you earn guests’ loyalty for the long-term?
As for your staff, does your hotel provide tools that ensure five-star service and experiences? And do your digital systems integrate with the other important property management solutions you use?
INTELITY’s enterprise-level hospitality technology platform provides a one-stop shop that offers 20 of the 24 mobile functions that guests revealed wanting the most in that HT 2018 CETS report,” says INTELITY Founder David Adelson. The INTELITY platform also easily integrates with more than 100 other applications you might already be using – or wanting to add to your 2019 operations.
Make sure to think carefully about where you’re at with technology as you finalize your 2019 budget. The worst thing you can do is to fall behind the industry’s tech curve. Guests may stop coming, and it may become difficult or impossible to regain your relevance.
Studies show mobile solutions from INTELITY are high on guests’ wish lists for 2019
According to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study, 65% of guests say they are willing to pay higher rates and are more likely to return to a hotel that offers access to the technology they deem important. Guests’ technology demands for 2019 include having a hotel mobile app with a variety of features, the ability to check-in and out from a mobile device, and high-tech features available in guestrooms. However, travelers aren’t the only people demanding better hotel technology.
When AAA revised its Approval Requirements and Diamond Rating Guidelines in April of this year, it put connective technologies front and center so that guests and lodging operators could “interact on an increasingly personalized basis.” So, for a hotel to achieve a higher AAA Diamond Rating in 2019, it will need to budget for more engaging technologies…
A 3-Diamond rating will require a hotel to feature mobile technology that supports check-in/out
A 4-Diamond rating will require mobile check-in/out PLUS remote guest-service access through mobile devices
A 5-Diamond rating requires all the previously mentioned features PLUS mobile key access and advanced connectivity across all guest interactions
As hoteliers prepare their 2019 budgets, various studies in consumer travel behaviors are substantiating the need to incorporate mobile guest experience solutions.
“As the summer winds down and the 2019 budget season ramps up, hoteliers need to bring technology to the forefront of their capital plans,” said David Adelson, INTELITY founder. “Owners and operators need to ask themselves these important pre-budget planning questions: ‘Is our relationship with guests as strong as it could be? Are we digitally engaging with everyone from the moment they make a reservation? Are we increasing guest engagement and communication at all stages of the guest journey? Are we developing guest loyalty for long-term benefits? Are we empowering staff with tools to ensure five-star service and experiences? And, are we investing in digital systems that will integrate with other key property solutions?’
“If the answer is ‘no’ to any of the above, then it’s time to call INTELITY,” Adelson said. “We provide a one-stop-shop to the engagement solutions that guests are demanding the most. In fact, INTELITY provides 20 out of the 24 mobile functions that guests revealed wanting the most in the HT 2018 CETS report.”
The INTELITY platform gives guests fingertip connectivity to the hotel along every step of their journey, from the moment reservations are made until long after travelers check out inclusive of App, Mobile Web, Text, Social and In-App chat. By giving guests direct digital access to request things like room service, housekeeping or wake-up calls, hoteliers are revolutionizing and personalizing the guest experience. Budgeting for these solutions is an investment in guest loyalty and satisfaction. The result is a healthy financial future for owners.
Place tablets in rooms, including hardware, software, and installation
Eliminate more than $12,000 in annual in-room printing costs
Increase average monthly IRD revenue by at least 6%
Open two-way guest communication with 85% average usage
Provide daily business intelligence on operational efficiency
As technology continues to dictate travelers’ expectations and demands, INTELITY stands ready to equip hoteliers with the tools they need to deliver on those experiences.
Implementing voice technology can lead to an increase in guest satisfaction and elevate your guests’ overall experience at your property. Voice technology not only streamlines guest requests, but it can also save guests time.
Studies show that guests spend an average of 12 minutes adjusting the environment in their guest rooms but, by implementing voice technology and integrating it with your room controls, you give your guests back that time and the added convenience of controlling their guest room environment simply by speaking. Not only does voice technology save time, but it can also be used to create personalized experiences tailored to each guest. You can use voice technology to greet each guest and cater specifically to their needs, which goes a long way in creating an exceptional guest experience.
Many guests are used to interacting with voice technology at their own homes or through mobile assistants like Siri, and will be comfortable using it within their guest room. Voice-activated guest rooms can increase guest engagement by giving guests the ability to place in-room dining orders, make service requests, request information about the local area, and make reservations for your on-property restaurants or third-party partners.
So, how can guests use voice technology to engage with your property? Below, we’ve included a list of 10 questions your guests can ask Amazon’s Alexa. INTELITY’s voice solution, leveraged with Amazon’s Alexa, has unlimited possibilities for guest service requests. Check out some top examples below:
“Alexa, please turn on the lights.”
“Alexa, turn the AC to 70 degrees.”
“Alexa, ask the hotel to order me a Caesar salad.”
“Alexa, what time does the gym open tomorrow?”
“Alexa, please ask the hotel to retrieve a valet for me in 15 minutes.”
“Alexa, what are some local attractions?”
“Alexa, ask the hotel to bring more pillows.”
“Alexa, please send a check out request to the hotel.”
“Alexa, please set an alarm for 6 AM.”
“Alexa, ask the hotel to make a reservation at the Inn Grille tonight at 7.”
Interested in seeing a demo of the INTELITY voice solution? Schedule a demo with a member of our expert team today.
The most successful hotels use technology to track and measure results on an automated basis. Not only is having reliable business analytics important but in today’s environment, it is crucial in making intelligent business decisions. However, tracking data and creating metrics can indeed be tedious work, especially if you’re tracking across different programs.
Can you successfully manage what you can’t measure? Of course not. The issue faced by traditional marketing has always been its inability to properly track and measure results. Measuring your performance has typically meant many laborious hours of manual entries into spreadsheets, and quite frequently never even gets done.
Your hotel needs a system to automatically track and report your success and to identify holes in attracting new guests; increasing revenue; marketing campaigns; and existing patient retention, awareness, and increased per-guest revenue.
At INTELITY, that’s what we’ve done for metrics in the hospitality industry, whether you’re a small boutique hotel or an all-inclusive resort. Thanks to INTELITY Staff, we make it possible to manage multiple guest metrics through one system – without the pain and tedium of putting it all together.
INTELITY Staff was designed specifically with metrics in mind – and the fast-paced life of a hotelier.
What is INTELITY Staff?
The INTELITY Staff is a cloud-based software system that combines the functionality of four distinct tools needed by hoteliers including business intelligence, ticketing, in-room dining, and mobile dining. In other words, INTELITY Staff monitors hotel activity, tracks all incoming guest and in-room dining orders, automates guest marketing, and contains a customized guest-facing interface that bridges the INTELITY platform and the hotel’s back-end infrastructure.
Sounds like a lot, right? But there’s more. One of the most important functions INTELITY Staff can perform is the measurement of all the above. Here are just some of the metrics INTELITY Staff can provide in an automated report, sent straight to you and designated staff’s email inbox:
Active guests utilizing your tablet and mobile app solutions
App or Tablet Usage
Tracks your staff’s overall activities
In Room Dining Data
At INTELITY, we have built a platform that brings together all of the latest hospitality industry tools – and measures how they perform for your hotel. Our platform is on the cutting edge and it will enable you to attract more guests profitably. Contact us and we’ll show you a better way of measuring your results.
Sometimes a story is best told through pictures. Guests have come to expect technology in hotels and get excited when technology makes their stay easier – whether it be with mobile check-in and check out, messaging, mobile service requests, or room controls. For our Inteliversary, we rounded up the top Instagram posts featuring INTELITY products at our #INTELITYHotelPartners.
LODGE KOHLER HOTEL just named 2nd Place Winner Best New Hotel by USA TODAY in 2018 Readers’Choice Awards. Guestrooms featuring custom print SWAVELLE fabrics for chairs pillows and beds, designed by Kohler’s own Architecture and Interior Design department. https://t.co/xDamt3Jnzrpic.twitter.com/Otw1DhjAsz
Hospitality can often have several definitions, but one main theme that stays consistent is catering to your guests’ real needs and desires. As technology is becoming more central to guests’ lives, their needs have changed. Hotels that adapt their guest experience to technology the fastest will be able to reap the benefits from this trend.
8 years ago, no one thought to order a cab with the touch of their phone. Now, with Uber, it’s an expectation. 2 years ago, no one thought to pre-order fast food ahead online. Now, Starbucks. Panera. Chipotle. As the millennial generation has grown up with this technology, they will start to expect hotel services to work the same way.
Good Hospitality Never Goes Out of Style
The best technology makes your guest feel at home – whether that be placing an in-room tablet bedside so they can browse through articles, hotel information, concierge or a voice-activated solution where service is accessible with just a few voice commands. Any of these solutions means instant access to information as well as the replication of on-demand services guests are accustomed to at home.
But, removing the language barrier may be the biggest win in terms of guest comfort. No matter where guests are in the world, they will always feel at home with the ability to automatically change languages in seconds, on the solution that your guest chooses.
Technology Can Change Operations Too
Combine a staff-facing platform and guest-facing platform and you will see true value. When hotels begin to feed in an integrated back-end solution that blends in with the guest-facing solution, those efficiencies clearly show ROI.
Streamline guest requests – automated routing and integrations for guest request and order accuracy
Rich imagery and upsell options/features driving more sales
Reduce printing costs and consolidate in-room information
Reduce demand on the front desk and increase guest satisfaction by minimizing the time spent in lines
Business intelligence & analytical tools
It’s important to rebuild your operational practices and business model around your customer’s real needs and desires. Guests have changed over the last ten years with the adaption of technology. Have you?
Voice-activated hotels can provide a new era of customer satisfaction by saving time for guests and staff, giving guests a personalized experience, and becoming a new amenity that your hotel can market. Here, we break down the voice-activated hotel room and what it can do for your guests.
Saving time for your guests
From tablets to smartphones, people are spending more time in front of screens. The vast majority of Americans, 95 percent, now own a cellphone of some kind (Pew) Nearly 75% of Americans own a desktop or laptop, and 42 percent use voice assistants. (Pew). We can communicate with people on the other side of the world, look up the answer to a question in less than 30 seconds and stream entertainment almost flawlessly. While this is amazing as far as convenience goes, it’s leading to growing impatience in our society. We want things instantly.
A voice-activated hotel room is one way to save your guests the time they value so much.
On average, once a guest reaches their hotel room, they spend the first few minutes adjusting the temperature, figuring out the lighting, fiddling with the shower taps, and playing with the TV.
In voice-activated hotel rooms, guests can walk in and set everything just the way they want it right away. They can adjust the temperature and turn on the lights, find out the weather for the day just by speaking. This leaves them with more time to enjoy their stay. Couple that with the convenience of not having to figure out a new world of switches, and you’ve got a happy customer.
Personalization on a whole new level
To truly differentiate a brand, hotels must develop a strong service culture that makes a guest feel special and appreciated, in order for them to come back. With voice-activated hotel rooms, you have a powerful partner in helping them feel more at home in their rooms.
Having Alexas in the room lets hotels personalize the room experience with music, having the ability to request more towels rather than having to call down the front desk.
It’ll make the guests feel more welcome, more comfortable, and more impressed in their rooms. Which means that they’ll feel more like coming back next time they’re in town.
It can drive your hotel above the competition
Like several technologies, voice-activated rooms will probably become the norm way sooner than we may think. But for the now, it’s relatively exclusive — and things that are exclusive have lots of allure. Since they won’t find the feature elsewhere, future guests are going to want to stay in your hotel to experience it. That goes double for the type of guest looking for a luxury stay.
Plus, a good hotel room makes guests feel special and is a huge determinant of whether or not they enjoy their trip. So when they go home and tell everyone about their vacation, they’ll surely tell them about the fantastic hotel they stayed in and how the room was voice-activated. And when it comes to hotel marketing, we all know that a word of mouth review can do more than any digital ad or TV commercial.
A hotel app has great potential to aid in cultivating satisfied, loyal guests if hotels can figure out how to embrace innovation and prove to guests that the app is designed with their best interest at heart. Features such as direct messaging, mobile check-in, and mobile hotel room key are a step in this direction, but it’s up to hoteliers to become more forward thinking in taking advantage of the opportunity that mobile presents to create a much-needed refreshment in the guest experience.
Once your hotel has determined that you will create a mobile app, and go through the process of developing and fine-tuning it, it’s now time to promote. Below are three INTELITY Hotel Partners who thought outside the box for gaining usage of their mobile app and created excitement for their guests.
Unico Hotel Rivera Maya
Unico created a list to post on their website of 10 things you didn’t know you could do on their app. They personalized it to their hotel’s unique amenities, such as read about the Kimbai art pieces in the lobby, pointing out features within the app including sending a digital posted card to loved ones and even upselling their spa services, such as booking a Volcanic Stone Massage.
Unico was able to highlight the exclusive amenities offered to their hotel while giving their guest a reason to check out the mobile app. As well their homepage also features the app, telling guests to make the most of their stay and to download the UNICO 20°87° Experience app.
Conrad Hotels & Resorts
Conrad Hotels & Resorts looked to use their mobile app Conrad Concierge within the Hilton Honors app to reach guests directly and immediately, without being unobtrusive. They were the first service-enabled hotel brand app made available in 2012 and surpassed 180,000 users in the first two years.
Their main goal was to increase sign-ups for the Hilton Honors loyalty program and provide mobile concierge services to guests. They used access to a suite of mobile features to serve as an incentive to get guests to download the app. To promote the app, they used several marketing techniques so that it would be a consistent message and reminder throughout their guests’ stay.
Couples Resorts chose to announce the creation of their app along with their partnership with INTELITY in an informative press release. Their app focuses on amplifying the on-property experience to delight guests and provide additional support once they have booked a reservation with one of the brand’s resorts. Press releases often include images, videos and other multimedia which means they were able to convey their message in an interesting way. As well, the press release was distributed to millions of people around the world instantly through email and social media, expanding public knowledge about Couple’s new offering. Through the press release, Couples was able to create a buzz for the soon-to-be-released mobile app.
3 compelling reasons to choose Mobile Messaging over other service channels.
Welcome to the next era of customer service. Let’s start by taking a look at these statistics:
97% of Americans use mobile text messaging at least once a day.
Texting takes up 14.1% of cell phone users’ time. (Nielsen)
90% of all text messages are read in under 3 minutes. (Connect Mogul)
80% of people are currently using texting for business. (eWeek)
One in five consumers is just as likely to prefer a text message from a business to a phone call. (ICMI)
Today’s guests have come to expect personalized service wherever they are, exactly when they want it — and fast. While mobile messaging will not be your only service channel, here are three compelling reasons to choose it over other service channels.
24/7 service – Give Guests the Convenience of Messaging Without Sacrificing Luxury Service
Guests want personal attention, even on a business trip or a short weekend vacation. Mobile messaging lets your guests have the convenience of the technology, without compromising the staff’s standard of luxury. A guest can use their preferred method of communication – like SMS or Facebook Messenger – to connect with the front desk at any time and receive an amazing service experience.
For instance, your guest has checked-in early but would like to play a round of golf before his room is ready. He can text you as he finished up on the golf course so you know he is ready to check in his room.
Your Hotel Can Still Have the ‘Human Touch’
Be there for your guests the way a good friend is – with mobile messaging. At the time of check out, let each of your guests know that can have instant access to someone at your hotel with SMS. Your hotel can do this in a variety of ways:
At the time of check-in, give the guest a business card along with their room key letting them know the designated number to text. Add a token of personalization by having your hotel staff write the name of the guest at the top of the card.
Before the guest checks in, your hotel can send a “pre-arrival checklist” and list the phone number and other ways your guest can contact the hotel before and during their stay.
Drive service costs down and ROI up
By utilizing text messaging, your hotel can boost agent productivity with a solution that lets staff manage multiple text conversations at once – with all the context and intelligence they need to resolve cases and deliver a luxury customer experience, every time.
For example, your guest sees a light bulb is burnt out in the bathroom. He can simply text a picture of the item and let your staff know of the maintenance issue.
INTELITY’s Messaging solution is a central portal that combines text and messaging platforms into one interface that hotel staff can use to respond to guests in real-time. The Messaging solution, with the help of INTELITY Staff, can be used to open tickets for guests and create a more efficient workflow.
With INTELITY’s Messaging solution, now any hotel can deliver a connected guest service experience at scale. Messaging allows hotels to adapt quickly and easily to guest’s ever-changing needs, within the award-winning INTELITY Staff platform. Finally, your hotel can deliver an amazing and effortless service experience that fits your brand and bottom line.
Conversational service is here. Stay ahead of today’s guests and start engaging them in the channel and messaging apps they prefer.
Is your hotel looking to take your social media marketing to the next level? Hotels that consistently connect with their guests via social media have been found to increase awareness of their hotel and build stronger bonds with their guests, leading to a likelihood of higher mobile app adoption rates and long-term success.
In the modern travel industry, there has been a culture of sharing reviews and experiences online. Recently, EyeforTravel found that 70% of travelers update their Facebook with photos and text posts while on vacation. This percentage goes up to 97% for Millennials, according to Internet Marketing Inc.
Personal recommendations, through these shared travel experiences, have become the most trusted form of ‘advertising’, because, at the end of the day, people trust people – not brands, according to research by Neilson.
Hotels can smartly use social media to capitalize on these trends in order to see an increase in bookings, a return in clientele and encourage growth in their hotel.
Here are six social media marketing tips that hotels can start utilizing now:
TAKE TIME TO LISTEN THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA
When you consider your marketing strategy and evaluate your choices for addition to technology and new strategies, make sure you have a firm foundation with which to build on. Social media can provide a window into knowing what guests want – and be very useful for improving marketing, operations, and management.
Local Measure, who examined content via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for two months in 2017 looked at 300 hotels were popular places for guests social chatter. Here were the results:
Restaurant/meals – 11,700 posts
Drinks/ The Bar – 6,400 posts
View from the guest room – 4,000 posts
Key room features/condition of the room – 3,000 posts
The pool/swimming – 2,800 posts.
Clearly, dining and bar areas are popular locations to ensure a social media-friendly experience. Enhancing aesthetic features such as backdrops and soft lighting, without sacrificing other parts of the guest experience will lead to overall guest satisfaction and loyalty – and provide the perfect Instagram or Snapchat photo opportunity.
ENGAGEMENT IS CRITICAL
Engagement is essential for becoming a ‘social’ hotel. By engaging online, hoteliers can offer greater personalization and lead guests toward those incredible customer service experiences that have come to define luxury hotel guest service. Here’s how you can engage socially:
If the guest does engage on social media while on property, make them feel extra special by engaging back
Use collateral to recommend hashtags for your location then keep your social media team on the ball by looking out for guests that engage with that property
Thank guests for any posts and keep an informal friendly tone that is in line with your brand
ASK FOR ONLINE REVIEWS
It is clear that reviews are critical both in influencing guests during their path to purchase and inspiring loyalty for returning guests. Asking people for online reviews and making it easy for them to fill out, will likely increase the opportunities for positive reviews of your property.
INTELITY’s Mobile App and Messaging solutions can serve as a convenient bridge for conversations with hotel guests. An increasing number of guests carry a personal mobile device and are enthusiastic to use their mobile device for active digital engagement with hotel staff.
Specifically, INTELITY’s Mobile App comes with built-in features, such as digital comment cards or the ability to send a push notification or text message which you could use to request guest feedback after they have checked out.
Guest responses can provide insight into their behavior and preferences and can be leveraged to increase overall hotel guest satisfaction and loyalty. This is can be critical for appealing to modern travelers, who place more value on personalized guest experiences.
CATER TO THE ‘EXPERIENCE SEEKING’ GUEST
Guests are becoming “experience seekers.” They are actively looking for something new and different that might be photo or Facebook-worthy. Ask yourself what kind of guest experience you want to provide, then think outside-the-box to come up with strategies and technologies to implement at your hotel.
We admire Conrad Hotels’ desire to continue to be innovative in their approach to content marketing, as well as, a useful service for its guest through the Conrad 1/3/5 campaign. This campaign was built with local travel itineraries for 1-, 3- and 5-hour time frames in destinations from all around the world. For your own private tour, visit StayInspired.com.
Conrad 1/3/5 or the StayInspired campaign has inspired trust in the Conrad brand by becoming an invaluable resource for travelers and guests. As a member of the hospitality field, carefully consider your hotel’s location and what you think will improve or enhance your guests’ experience.
USE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS TO BOOST YOUR BRAND
One thing that guests are more loyal to than social media itself are the influencers that they subscribe to in their daily lives. Influencer marketing is currently one of the fastest growing customer acquisition methods out there today.
Influencer marketing is a powerful way to connect with larger audiences with the added touch of a trusted voice – which is especially valuable for lifestyle and boutique hotels aiming to define and build their identity. One main factor that needs to be considered in choosing an influencer for your hotel is the influencer’s audience demographic. The audience you want to choose should match both the hotel’s distinct personality and target market.
Influencers don’t always have to be social media celebrities. They can simply be users with a significant following who are representative of your target market, such as a social-savvy corporate traveler. Followers will be more likely to relate to these down-to-earth personalities, which could lead to higher bookings and better social brand loyalty to your hotel.
Consider a Marketing Strategy that Focuses on Guest-Curated Content
A solid social media strategy should also include more than your hotel’s professionally photographed images. You can amplify a sense of trust in your brand by promoting content created by your guests. Help your guests and potential guests find the things they are interested in, whether it be a local area attraction or event, and show those interested in your hotel that you are the go-to for all things in your area.
Re-share a recent guest’s Instagram photo where they discuss how amazing the hotel decor is, how delicious their complimentary breakfast was, or how they cannot get over how good the view from their hotel room is. Make sure to thank your guest for their lovely comments for that personal touch. When reposting, use direct quotes if possible then tag and give photo credit to the Instagram user. Through social media, consumers are more likely to notice things like guest iPhone photos over professional photography.
Were you able to keep track of all of the innovations in hospitality technology that have been released over the past year?
If you did, give yourself a round of applause. Last year, there were more announcements regarding hotel technology development than we, here at INTELITY, have witnessed in a very long time.
INTELITY expects the industry to grow leaps and bounds in 2018 for guest engagement technology based on current hotel technology trends. More guests embraced technology in 2017 and they have now come to even expect and demand technology to be an integral part of their travel experiences.
“Today’s guests expect to be able to use their smartphones to do almost everything,” said George Corbin, senior vice president of digital, Marriott International. “They’re more mobile than ever and consider technology to be a central part of their lifestyle.”
Hotels constantly trying to improve their guests’ experience are now putting their money towards tech – by spending as much as 6% on of total revenue on technology, according to Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study. We should start to see some amazing technological updates become apart of the norm for guest experience in the coming years.
Here are our 2018 technology bets:
CONNECT | Mobile Messaging
Texting is the most widely and frequently done activity on a smartphone, with 97% of Americans texting at least once a day according to Pew Internet. Hotels are realizing the importance of messaging to build loyalty, increase guest engagement, and enhance the overall guest experience. Hotels now want to be where their guest is – in the palm of their hand.
We see hotels investing more time and resources into messaging guests – via SMS, branded apps or through social media messengers. Over the next few months, we expect to see more hotels offering guests the ability to text or message their staff directly, whether that be through their own proprietary apps, the use of third-party technologies, or through established messaging channels like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Last year, INTELITY released its Messaging Solution, a unified messaging portal that provides hotels with a way to communicate with their guests through SMS and Facebook Messenger.
CONNECT | Mobile Key
Today, a growing number of hotels worldwide are already meeting guests’ expectations and demands using Mobile Key, a solution in the INTELITY Guest platform. Mobile Key works within the Mobile App solution and enables mobile check-in and mobile check-out, and keyless entry functionalities that today’s hoteliers are looking for and today’s guests are asking for.
Presented through a mobile app, guests can book a hotel, skip traditional front-desk check-in by checking-in remotely, and use the Bluetooth capabilities of their smartphone to unlock their hotel room door. 3 out of 4 consumers surveyed in the 2017 Customer Engagement Technology Study say they would like to use innovative and new technologies to interact with hotels and that it would positively impact their overall experience.
Hoteliers budgeting for a hypermobile, personalized engagement strategy in 2018 will find that Mobile Key equips them with the avenue to meet their guests’ expectations and demands while satisfying their staff needs.
ENGAGE | Voice Request
eMarketer projects that by 2019, there will be 52.8 million smart speaker users in the U.S. As homes become smarter, so will hotels. Hotels will start adopting this technology to allow guests to use voice commands to control room lights, room temperature, submit guest service requests and more. Many hotels are already taking the leap to include this technology in rooms: According to Bloomberg, Marriott International is testing iPads running Apple’s Siri and Amazon Echo’s in its Aloft hotel in Boston; Wynn Las Vegas plans to outfit more than 4,700 rooms with Amazon’s, artificially intelligent, voice-activated assistant, Alexa.
SERVICE | Enhanced Staff Software
Technology can play a huge part in maintaining a higher level of organization and accountability. The benefits of using software to help hotel staff run the hotel will become a huge asset in maintaining a seamless guest experience. By using INTELITY’s mobile version of INTELITY Staff, hotels can increase efficiency and improve their ability to track and deliver services to guest anywhere on their property, as well as, allowing guests to make requests that go directly to the appropriate department and staff member. Technology will become so standard that we wonder how hotels survived before.
It’s safe to say all these technologies will take the travel experience to a new level and give excitement to guests, driving loyalty, repeat business, and increased revenue.
Although Millennials continue to dominate the hospitality industry, staying atop of trends and hotelier’s minds, there is another demographic that has come into the limelight. By 2025, seniors will account for 11% of the world’s population, and industry research finds that Baby Boomers spend a whopping $157 billion on trips every year.
Since the Baby Boomer generation is so large, their impact on the hospitality industry definitely should not go unnoticed.
With Technology, Baby Boomer Travel On The Rise
Technology has arguably made travel an easier prospect for everyone – Baby Boomers included – from the ease of booking travel to the ease of researching and comparing trips, to staying connected on the go. In fact, 84% of Baby Boomers book their travel online.
Millennials aren’t the only guests hotels should be focusing on. Generations play a major role in shaping traveler research habits and priorities – and research shows that technology is a prevalent demand in each generation.
While vacation is a perfect time to unplug and get away, that does not necessarily apply to the entirety of a trip. With 59% of younger Baby Boomers (aged 51-59) and 46% of older Baby Boomers (aged 60-69) owning smartphones (according to Pew Research), it comes as no surprise that 55% of Boomers say having their smartphone is essential while traveling.
What does this mean for your hotel?
Here’s how your hotel can attract and optimize their experience for this generation:
Most Boomers are looking for a laid back and relaxing trip to give them the opportunity to spend time with family and friends, so creating fun-focused offers can keep your Baby Boomer guests happy.
By offering seamless, easy-to-use booking experiences, hoteliers can make sure they capture Baby Boomers. Hoteliers can also make sure that the Baby Boomer guest continues to have a seamless experience before they arrive by offering pre-arrival guest requests.
41% of Baby Boomers will book online at the hotel website and most Baby Boomers are a part of at least one loyalty program. By having a loyalty program, you can improve guest retention. Baby Boomers also appreciate loyalty programs because they often provide added incentives for booking again, with rewards increasing linearly with more purchases.
Create an experience tailored to them by giving Baby Boomers control over their entire experience. With INTELITY’s in-room tablets, it makes it easy for Baby Boomers to have access to room controls or order room service via their in-room tablet.
99% of baby boomers will take at least one trip leisure trip a year. Between traveling 5 or more times per year (with at least 1 international trip), spending upwards of $157 billion on travel, and controlling more than 70% of disposable in the United States by 2017, Baby Boomer travel will continue to make an impact on travel and tourism.
Your hotel can be a part of your guest’s happiness by taking just a little extra effort to make your guests feel at home during the holidays
Hoteliers must do whatever it takes to get travelers’ attention during such a busy time of year for travel. Your hotel can be a part of your guest’s happiness by sprucing up your hotel with festive decorations and by having special offers. But sometimes, it takes just a little extra effort to make your guests feel at home during the holiday season.
Here are some tips on how your hotel can stand out from the rest:
Consider the Details
Being a good hotel is all about those few, important details that let your guests know you are happy they are there and that you want them to be comfortable. INTELITY’s In-Room Tablets can be used to create a more personalized guest experience. The guest’s name will be featured on the dashboard and the landing page holds a collection of selections, including newspapers and magazines so that your guests do not miss anything while they are out of town.
Your hotel can have a personalized video introduction appear on the in-room tablet, letting your guest know that you appreciate them for choosing your hotel during this holiday season.
Your hotel can provide a space for some of the same traditions that your guests do during the holiday season while simultaneously getting a boost in revenue.
Leading up to the holiday season, Boston Harbor Hotel ran a pop-up whiskey bar special to boost revenue. Push notifications were sent out to guests via the hotel room tablets stating, “Tell your friends you are going to be late to dinner,” along with the bar’s hours. Within an hour, the hotel recorded revenue intake of over $700.
Prepare Early to Make Your Guests Feel At Home During the Holidays
By using your mobile guest app, you can check in with your guests before they arrive for their stay and see if there is anything that they might need or if they have questions. You can help your guests take care of last-minute holiday shopping needs or make dinner plans. During the holiday season, most shops and restaurants have special holiday hours. Be ready to answer questions like: “How late will the stores be open on Christmas Eve?” or, “Which restaurants are open for brunch on New Year’s Day?”
By anticipating any potential needs beforehand, your hotel can be better prepared for your guest’s arrival.
Embassy Suites Denver Southeast hid an Elf on a Shelf doll around the hotel common areas during the 2013 holiday season. They asked guests to take a picture of the doll when they saw him around the hotel and post it on the hotel’s Facebook page. The hotel marketed this campaign through Facebook, flyers at the front desk, table toppers in the dining room and organically gained 21 new fans through the short campaign. The Elf on a Shelf post also increased their reach to 2,669 people!
Know Your Area
The holidays often inspire a barrage of special events. Know what is going on around your hotel and assign someone to research all local events to provide guests with a complete list of activities available during their stay using the hotel’s mobile guest app. Remember, during the holiday season most shops and restaurants have special holiday hours. Being able to keep up with current events makes your hotel seem more alive and organic.
As travelers gear up to hit the road this season, the tips outlined here will your ensure your hotel is ready to provide a memorable holiday experience. Your hotel will present a personality of cheer, which will allow guests who are excitedly preparing for the holidays, to identify with your brand and feel more at home.
As the tech boom continues to roll out, the hotel industry has gotten into the game as well, offering the best for guests in the latest gadgets, services, and conveniences. Hoteliers are able to play up the luxury aspects of technology while doing away with inconveniences customers have gotten used to over time. While updating an old school business model, hotels are finding ways to create more efficient operations through new tech innovations.
Curious as to what you’ll find in a hotel of the future? Check out some here:
Direct to Room – Mobile Key & Mobile Check-in
Smartphones have the potential to do away with one of the biggest pain points of staying in a hotel: Remembering their hotel key. Guests having access to their hotel room key through the use of their smartphone allows them to go straight to their room once they arrive at the hotel – no more waiting in a long line at a kiosk to pick up their key after a long plane or car ride to your hotel. At Park Hotel, in Valkenburg, guests are able to securely access their hotel room, check-in ahead of time and notify the hotel of their arrival time – making late check-in manageable for hotels and allowing guests to feel right at home once they walk in.
Streaming Their Own Device
The key is to integrate technology in the hotel experience as naturally as it is integrated into our everyday lives. With INTELITY Casting, a casting solution for hotels, guests can have the freedom to stream content from their own device or log into their personal Netflix and Hulu for the duration of their stay. No longer will guests be barraged with the in-house channels or have to pick from limited on-demand video options
At the Aloft hotel in Cupertino, California, guests who request a toothbrush or razor from the front desk will find Botlr, a short servant-on-wheels, delivering it to their door. 22% of hotels in Hospitality Technology’s 2016 Study said robots have real potential in the hospitality industry. Relay robotic concierge from Savioke was named first runner-up “Most Innovative Hospitality Technology” at HTNG’s 2016 TechOvation Awards. Relay autonomously delivers amenities to guest rooms, and the technology is already being used at select Aloft Hotels.
Hotels are using more technology to enable a higher level of service. When it comes to reaching their guest, sometimes it’s just as easy as saying “Send us a text.” Guests can easily use their phone – using SMS or Facebook Messenger – to request items, services and ask questions seamlessly. With more and more hotels looking for ways to create a more personalized experience for their guests, this is just one way for them to drive two-way communication.
According to Hospitality Technology, interactive walls received 36% of respondents votes for futuristic technology most likely to take hold. The Renaissance New York Midtown Hotel will feature gesture-controlled, interactive digital displays in public spaces. Using a variety of technology including motion detectors, projectors, and 3d cameras, the firm created a “living” wall that interacts with guests and responds to their movement.
Is it too late for the hotel app to catch on among travelers or is there still hope for hospitality to use mobile for innovation?
There’s an app for that! The phrase became popular after Apple introduced the App Store in 2008 (the same year Intelity went to market), signaling the start of the golden age of apps. Years later, hotel apps have finally become a major focus for investment among the hospitality industry. But has the hospitality industry waited too long to embrace the mobile hotel app?
There has been recent speculation about the role that apps will play in the future.
There are more mobile devices than humans on the planet.
But mobile technology itself is more popular than ever. There are more mobile devices than humans on the planet, and the number of devices is growing more quickly than our population. Not to mention, the average smartphone user checks their phone incessantly throughout the day – an average of 85 times per day in fact.
In reality, apps are NOT dead. Mobile users are still spending a lot of time within apps, and not only on their smartphones. Apps are also popular on many other devices, even TVs.
What has died is an easy opportunity for app developers or brands looking for a mobile connection with consumers. With about 4 million different apps available, mobile users are selective with the limited real estate in memory on their devices. Most use an average of only 26 apps in total. In fact, 70 percent of all app usage is spread among only the top 200 apps.
“You’ll still interface with wearables/robotics and features using apps.”
Current interest has shifted to chatbots as a means to open two-way communication between brands in industries like hospitality and customers, enhancing the significance of hotel apps.
One industry commentator observes, “Apps become ever more important in a smartphone-centric wearables/robotics/voice-controlled/artificial intelligence-dominated world. You’ll still interface with those wearables/robotics and features using apps.”
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the incorporation of bots into popular video and text messaging app Skype, he said, “Intelligence is infused into all of your apps.”
Hotel apps must have obvious value. They must be worth the time it takes to download and engage with them. They should provide a fluid, thoughtful experience that serves the best interests of the end-user by providing them with convenience, benefits, and a voice that is heard by the brand they want to interact with.
A hotel app has great potential to aid in cultivating satisfied, loyal guests if hospitality can figure out how to embrace innovation and prove to guests that this category of apps is designed with their best interest at heart. Features such as Messaging, Mobile Check-In/Out, and Mobile Key are a step in this direction, but it’s up to hoteliers to become more forward thinking in taking advantage of the opportunity that mobile presents to create a much-needed refreshment in the guest experience.
Guests don’t just want the usual benefits during their stay. They have begun to actively voice a desire for investment in hotel technology that supports a high-tech, high-touch hotel experience.
Knowing what today’s hotel guests want is not a guessing game at this point. They’re clearly saying, “We want more hotel technology!” Don’t believe it? A recent survey of travelers by Oracle and Phocuswright revealed that two-thirds said investment in hotel technology that enhances the guest experience is “very or extremely important.”
This shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who’s been keeping an eye on travel trends over the past decade.
64% of Hotel Guests: Investment in Hotel Technology is “Very or Extremely Important”
Technology plays a heavy role in the travel experience from beginning to end.
For instance, travelers rely heavily on using various mobile devices for research and trip planning. Online searches provide a ton of valuable information, and social media and online reviews are now considered the first go-to for most people looking for authentic feedback about not only hotels but details about destinations as a whole. After a stay, half of all guests post about their hotel stay experience on social media as well.
And, of course, the utility of technology, and mobile technology, in particular, extends to during the hotel stay as well.
Nine in 10 business travelers and 8 in 10 leisure travelers value use of smartphones to request hotel services or communicate with staff.
Other key findings from the report about the ways guests want to use smartphones to interact with hotels:
A third of guests are interested in using a complimentary hotel tablet provided in guest rooms
Forty-one percent of guests want a message to their smartphone when their guest room is ready
About 21 percent of guests want the ability to stream content onto the in-room TV
Hotel guests are leaning toward more independence as opposed to the traditional hotel experience where the staff is very visible throughout the entire stay. Guest preference is for staff to maintain a constant digital presence, where they can be conveniently contacted if needed or serve as a virtual concierge with suggestions and information to help guests make the most of their time at a destination.
More than 60 percent of guests currently go to sources other than a hotel concierge for suggestions about how to improve the guest experience, but surveys such as these reveal that hotels could reach and serve more hotel guests if they expanded to include a virtual concierge and digital guest services for better communication and messaging with guests.
Read about this hotel technology love story in the heart of Boston at the iconic Boston Harbor Hotel.
Arching majestically over the Rowes Wharf, the Boston Harbor Hotel is renowned for impeccable service and personalized attention to hotel guests that rivals any other luxury accommodation in the city.
The property boasts a number of different awards in recognition of the high priority placed on guest satisfaction TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Winner, Conde Nast Traveler’s Readers’ Choice Awards, U.S. News & World Report Best Hotels in the USA, etc). It’s also got the distinguishing credentials of both five stars and four diamonds.
In other words, it’s the embodiment of a love letter to its guests.
Stephen Johnston, Managing Director and General Manager, says, “We listen to our guests a lot. We’ve very engaged as a Five-Star hotel.”
It was an interest in maintaining this high level of guest engagement, and even deepening the connection, that led Boston Harbor Hotel to invest in new hotel technology through a partnership with industry innovator INTELITY. What better way to woo both new and returning travelers who wound up in the hotel’s lobby than with modern touches that facilitate communication, service, and engagement?
“When INTELITY was first sold to me, I liked it because we didn’t have much technology in the hotel, but we knew it was time to introduce some,” Stephen says.
And following the release of a customized hotel app, in addition to the installation of hotel in-room tablets in each of the guest rooms, the Boston Harbor Hotel has already noticed dramatic improvements.
Increased in-room dining revenue, reduced operational costs, and positive guest feedback was only the start of the benefits realized.
Read more about how we helped foster hotel technology love among staff and guests at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
For example, out of this year’s 175 Forbes Five-Star hotels, about one out of four are Intelity partners and utilize some form of guest engagement hotel technology, whether it is mobile hotel apps or in-room tablets in hotel rooms. Out of the 22 first-time Five-Star hotels making an appearance on this list, 18 percent are our hotel technology partners.
1 in 4 of the 2017 Forbes Five-Star Hotels is an INTELITY hotel technology partner.
INTELITY has hotel partners in the four United States with the largest number of Five-Star hotels (California, New York, Florida, Massachusetts) and the four international cities with the largest number as well (Macau, Paris, London, Hong Kong).
Only 11 global properties won Five-Star Awards in all three categories for Hotel, Restaurant, and Spa, and one of those, The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, is one of our celebrated hotel partners.
“This year’s Star-Rated properties — the largest and most global group in the company’s history — achieved an impeccable standard of excellence in hospitality, underscoring our overall mission of positively contributing to the international tourism industry as well as the individual hotel experience,” said Gerard J. Inzerillo, Chief Executive Officer of Forbes Travel Guide, in an official press release.
“We are excited to recognize the 2017 Star Rating recipients, an exceptional collection of hotels, restaurants, and spas with a strong culture of service.”
Millennials travel more than other demographics (4.2 times per year for leisure, 4.7 times per year for work).
Marriott estimates 50 percent of its guests will be Millennials by 2020.
Beyond just catering to Millennial hotel guests, hoteliers will also have to create the kind of workplace that will appeal to this demographic.
Hospitality accounts for one out of 11 jobs in the world, making it the largest employer in the world. And Millennials are already joining the hospitality workforce, not to mention the fact they will be the industry’s future leaders and decision makers.
Turnover among Millennial employees results in total costs of $30.5 billion annually.
Hilton Worldwide CEO Christopher Nassetta said that one of the industry’s greatest priorities moving forward should be embracing Millennial hotel workers and aiding to ease unemployment among the 71 million global adults under 29 years old, who account for more than half of the world’s population.
Nassetta said, “These young travelers add so much value to our business [but also face] serious and unprecedented challenges, namely the worst youth unemployment crisis in modern history.”
Creating a workplace that engages Millennials is a key consideration for hoteliers moving forward, especially as turnover among Millennial employees results in total costs of $30.5 billion annually. Here are 3 points of insight on engaging your Millennial hotel employees:
Flexibility: Having flexible options is a top priority for Millennial employees, with 66 percent saying they would like more adjustable schedules and hours. It’s so important in fact that nearly half of Millennials would prefer flexibility to more pay.
Innovation: In the same way that hotel technology and apps are used in guest rooms and as part of the guest experience to engage tech-savvy hotel guests, it can be a crucial tool in bridging the gap between “old” and “new” hospitality. A survey showed that 93 percent of Millennials value technology as one of the most important aspects of the workplace. Guest-facing technology has not been the only focus on innovation. Millennial hotel staff can benefit from cutting-edge enterprise hospitality software that increases productivity, automate tedious processes, and provide useful analytics to improve performance.
“We all want to do more meaningful work in less or with the same amount of time. Technology enables us to optimize how we spend our days,” said Jeff Vijungco, vice president, Global Talent at Adobe.
“Companies can have the most amazing perks but if you’re not able to produce work efficiently with the help of great people and technology, then massage rooms and roaming ‘cookie cart’ are meaningless.”
Transparency: Open communication is necessary to integrate Millennial hotel staff. Almost 85 percent said they appreciate honest feedback and open communication policy. Currently, 23 percent of Millennial employees don’t feel they have a manager who effectively communicates. By strengthening connections between your staff of all ages, you can improve performance and retention rates across the board.
Forward-thinking hoteliers will begin to strategize around updating employee policies and the workplace environment to fully engage Millennial hotel staff. Speaking to hoteliers, Nassetta added, “We have an amazing opportunity to use our engine of opportunity to make hospitality a top career choice of the future.”
Read more about how Millennials are shaping hotels and the hospitality industry in general.
For more information on how hotel technology can benefit your staff and operations, schedule a free consultation with our industry experts.