A Blog by INTELITY

At Your Service

Presenting the latest innovation and trends in hospitality technology and the products that are revolutionizing the service industry.

guest experience

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.

“Alexa, Connect Me to My Guests.”

Why Hoteliers Should Be Using Voice Technology to Engage Their Guests

Imagine going on vacation and having a personal assistant at your beck and call. With the rising adoption of voice technology in America, where usage among adults increased from 43 percent in 2017 to 53 percent in 2018, this is becoming more and more possible.

The hospitality industry is gradually adopting voice technology, too. Virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa have crossed over to the hotel business, making guest rooms smarter and more advanced than ever. But aside from the futuristic feel of the technology, perhaps its biggest benefit is enhancing the customer experience by offering hands-free assistance and personalization.

Hands-free assistance
When asked what they would like voice assistants to be capable of, guests’ top response was adjusting in-room settings and climate. Voice-activated hotel rooms can give your guests the ability to adjust room temperature, lighting, and ambiance to their liking through simple commands. This feature is already made available by Alexa and streamlines your guests’ experience in their guest room.

Unlike doing a manual web search, voice assistants also provide instant answers. For example, a quick voice search can give guests information about the local area or recommendations for dining options. What this does is provide a better travel experience, which guests can easily attribute to their hotel stay.

Personalization
According to MarTech Today, 81% of consumers “want brands to understand them better.” In other words, there is a need for personalization when thinking about customer experience as a whole. Voice technology naturally adds a level of personalization that doesn’t exist with other virtual tools, because requests are spoken rather than input into a device. This extra layer of personalization, combined with voice technology’s ease of use, leads to greater guest engagement and higher levels of satisfaction.

Personalization makes consumers feel special and more importantly, increases their brand loyalty. Moreover, voice technology can tailor the guest experience specifically to your guests’ needs. If they leave happy and are well taken care of, there’s a higher chance your guests will return and recommend the hotel to their friends, family and work colleagues.

To learn more about how voice technology can improve guest engagement at your property, schedule a demo with the experts at INTELITY.

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.

How to Use Technology in Hospitality to Engage Millennials and Generation Z

Technology has completely changed the way we travel. We now expect flexibility, freedom, and control over every aspect of our journey. When it comes to managing travel, a study by the GBTA Foundation shows that 78 percent of Americans prefer to use self-service technology. That number will inevitably grow as Millennials and Generation Z continue to enter the market.

So, how do hoteliers meet the expectations of these two highly connected generations? How can they ensure that their guests have a seamless experience at their hotel? The answer is simple – by embracing technology and incorporating it into their workflow. Effective use of hospitality technology can increase guest engagement, improve performance across operations teams, and give guests more control over their experience.

Here are four key features that can help you better cater to these travelers and generally modernize your hotel’s guest experience:

Mobile Check-In

We know that guests want flexibility, convenience, and control when it comes to travel. Incorporating mobile check-in at your property not only reduces friction at the front desk, but it also saves your guests time and effort. With an app customized to your hotel, you can enable mobile check-in and guests can make requests before arrival.

Mobile Key

Giving your guests the ability to access their rooms with their mobile phone gives you the ability to allow them to bypass the front desk completely. Following a remote mobile check-in, guests can activate their mobile key and head straight to their room. Mobile key solutions also give guests access to the gym and spa facilities, meeting rooms, and other gated areas of your property. This is exactly the type of seamless experience your guests are experiencing through other aspects of their travel journey, like with airlines and ride-sharing services.

Voice

Today’s tech-savvy travelers want immediate answers to their questions. They want to find and access information easily, just as they do at home. It’s imperative that you provide your guests with engagement tools that don’t require making a call to the front desk. Using voice technology, you can provide guests with information about your hotel and the surrounding area. You can also notify them of upcoming special events and let them manage the lights and temperature in their room, and allow them to make reservations and bookings. Giving your guests many touch-points for engagement puts the control right where they want it, in their hands.

In-Room Tablets

Once your guest is in their room, in-room tablets offer a plethora of information previously housed in the printed compendium. Not only does have a tablet in the guestroom add to your tech-ambiance, but it gives your guests digital access to dining menus and links to restaurant reservations and spa bookings. Your staff can update these menus and links in real-time while your guests never need to pick up the phone. Guests can also use their in-room tablets to manage their environment (HVAC, lights, curtains) and TV. In-room tablets can give you a direct connection to your captive audience and can be used to promote social events and experiences happening on-property as well as offers tailored to your guests’ preferences, which in turn can increase revenue and drive your bottom line.

Many guests are looking for accommodations that provide them with the seamless convenience they experience in their own homes. Incorporating technology that can deliver on those expectations and keep guests engaged has become a necessity in the hospitality industry.

INTELITY provides a complete suite of guest experience and staff management tools that can help you increase guest engagement and streamline your daily operations. The enterprise platform, the broadest in the industry, integrates with over 120 operational systems including PMS, POS, room controls and loyalty programs through INTELITY Connect.

To learn more about how the INTELITY platform can help you engage Millennials and Gen. Z travelers and provide them with the seamless connectivity they expect, schedule a demo with a member of our team.

How to Use Personalization to Increase Guest Loyalty

Today’s travelers want hotels to provide them with personalized experiences tailored to their preferences. This fact is extensively covered within the industry, but why should hoteliers care? Studies show that hotels that take the time to create unique experiences customized to their guests’ preferences generate increased revenue per guest and strengthen brand loyalty.

So, how do you give your guests the service and experience they expect? Use technology to engage with them before, during, and after their stay and use the data generated by these interactions to build stronger relationships with your guests.

Create a Seamless Connection

How do you ensure your guests want to come back again and again and encourage their friends to do the same? Start by giving them a way to connect seamlessly with your staff. Research shows that hotel guests who are engaged during their stay are 40 percent more likely to return and will spend up to 46 percent more per year than disengaged guests.

In-room technology like mobile guest apps and in-room tablets allow you to create this connection without being invasive and give guests control over when they interact with your staff. Give your guests the opportunity to submit service requests, order room service, or request additional housekeeping items through these digital solutions. Mobile apps and in-room tablets can also be used to promote specials at your spa, bar, or restaurant to the right audience at the right time.

At the end of a guest’s stay, invite them back, ask them for feedback on their experience, and request they review or rate your property online. Shortly after their stay, follow-up with a personalized offer or promotion that keeps your property top of mind and encourages guests to return.

Understand One Size Does Not Fit All

Just like no two hotels are the same, no two guests are the same. It is important to remember this and create experiences that are truly personal and tailored. This can be as simple as displaying a welcome message on an in-room tablet or ensuring that a guest is offered their favorite corner room.

Guests have a wide variety of options when it comes to choosing accommodations, so making personalized experiences a rule rather than an exception will set you apart from your competitors. In an industry where consumers have more choices than ever before, it is important for you to understand your guests, what they want, and how to deliver on those wants.

At INTELITY, we’ve created a complete guest engagement and staff management platform that allows you to build better relationships with your guests, gain deeper insight into what your guests want, and develop increased brand loyalty. To learn more about our platform, schedule a demo today.

How Does In-Room Technology Change the Guest Experience

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.

Here are some ways that in-room technology has changed the guest experience – for good.

Think Uber, For Hotels

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.

in-room technology changing guest experience

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.

Briefly:

  • 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?