A New Update on COVID-19

A Blog by INTELITY

At Your Service

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

Mobile Check-In

Why Mobile Check-In is a Necessity in the Age of Social Distancing

With the meteoric rise of contactless delivery and contactless payments, expect contactless check-in to become a key differentiator for hotels across the world.

In the midst of unprecedented uncertainty for many industries, one word has become a near-magical beacon to consumers that companies are taking health concerns seriously and are safe to interact with: contactless.

The restaurant industry is the best example. As a response to national restaurant closures and social distancing measures in early March, Postmates rolled out contactless delivery to all 4,200 cities they serve globally, with other delivery services like UberEats and GrubHub soon following behind with contactless strategies of their own. Individual restaurants and large chains alike are doing the same. When choosing between two restaurants, one that offers contactless delivery and one that doesn’t, the choice for consumers is clear. Safety first—and companies that can deliver it are gaining more than just business; they’re also gaining consumer trust.

The same phenomenon is sweeping grocery stores, as Instacart and AmazonFresh offer contactless delivery of grocery and store supplies. In many areas, delivery slots are filled almost as soon as they open, with supply unable to match demand. But it’s not just contactless delivery seeing a rise. When the country re-opens, ApplePay and Visa are also expecting a boom of contactless payments.

Overall, the more companies can reduce physical contact between them and their customers, the better. For hotels and resorts, that poses quite a challenge. Traditionally, one-to-one human contact has been the backbone of hospitality. A smiling face greeting guests at reception or delivering food to their door could be a difference-maker for satisfaction and reviews. But now, guests will be more concerned with safety than a warm welcome.

Last week, we highlighted five predictions from industry leaders about where hospitality is heading in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Three out of the five predictions centered around how hotels can make guests feel safe through technology and distancing strategies.

In the face of consumer demand and possible regulations for safety, limited contact will become a front-and-center piece of hospitality business strategies going forward. Technology like mobile check-in and mobile key, once regarded as luxury purchases, will become increasingly necessary for hotels and resorts of all sizes. Contactless check-in displays a clear commitment to guest safety, one that guests will trust to permeate every part of their stay.

As a result, expect contactless check-in to be a clear differentiator for booking, especially in the first few months of travel after stay-at-home orders are lifted. Eventually, it will likely be a standard option for guests at every property. Hotels that have measures already in place—or that start implementing them now—will see a greater share of bookings than those who do not.

Beyond limiting staff and guest contact, mobile check-in technology has clear benefits for hoteliers. Find out more from the mobile check-in one sheet.

Get the Mobile Check-In One-Sheet

 

Prefer to see mobile check-in up close? Request a demo to see how it can make a difference at your property.

Recouping Losses from a Drop in Occupancy

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

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

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

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

Do Now

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

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

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

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

Future-Proofing Through Technology

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

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

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

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

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

Leveraging Technology to Automate Hotel Operations

The right tools can help you do more with less

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

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

Providing Self-Service Tools to Guests

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

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

Making Data-Backed Decisions

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

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

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

3 Digital Guest Communication Strategies to Implement when Practicing Social Distancing

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

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

Strategy 1: Pre-Arrival Communications

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

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

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

Strategy 2: Leveraging In-Room Tablets

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

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

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

Strategy 3: SMS Messaging

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

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

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

Using the Right Technology to Connect Casino Hotel Guests to the Gaming Floor

By Benjamin Keller, INTELITY Senior Vice President of Sales, West

As travelers become more reliant on mobile technology, it is increasingly important to make sure the right tools are in place for staff to effectively connect with guests before, during, and after their stay. Enhancing your operations with the right technology options not only improves the way that guests experience the property overall, but it also introduces opportunities to make the check-in process more efficient, allow staff to better respond to guest requests, and entice guests to the casino floor with special offers and promotions.

Today’s core customers are 45 to 75 years old, and are increasingly using their mobile devices to play online casino games, check their point balances, “card in,” and even connect to their favorite gaming machines on the floor. Because these customers are already familiar with mobile technology in the casino context, introducing hospitality functionality into the mobile experience can be a welcome addition for a more seamless connection. Casinos are unique in that many customers return to “stay and play.”

“Stay and play” guests represent the perfect use case for implementing advanced technology into hotel operations. As repeat guests become familiar with having access to the freedom mobile technology offers, they will show preference to properties offering mobile solutions. It goes without saying that guests who stay at a casino resort are often very interested in spending time gaming, so by streamlining the check-in process with mobile check-in, management teams not only reduce long check-in lines and front desk friction but can also increase the amount of time their guests spend on the casino floor.

As a result, casino-resorts often have a high rate of mobile check-in. For example, INTELITY customer Angel of the Winds Casino Resort has seen a high percentage of its guests checking in on their smartphones using the hotel’s guest app.

Angel of the Winds Assistant General Manager Jeff Wheatley said that incorporating the INTELITY platform throughout their property has helped them create a seamless, highly-connected guest experience. “It’s important that casino-hotels provide guests with a friction-free experience that allows them to move effortlessly between their hotel room and the casino floor. Incorporating INTELITY’s hospitality platform has helped us create this connection. We’ve seen our guests, especially the repeat visitors, quickly adapt to using our mobile guest app and mobile key solutions to expedite the check-in and check-out process and access their rooms.”

INTELITY’s mobile and in-room platform components can easily be integrated with existing loyalty programs and used to streamline a casino resort’s entire guest experience. In addition to providing guests with a digital connection to staff, mobile apps and in-room technology can also be used by management teams to serve guests customized, targeted offers and promotions that encourage them to visit the casino floor or engage further with the property.

The INTELITY platform includes in-room tablets and customizable mobile apps containing robust guest-facing functionality, as well as a back-office dashboard that enables casinos to capture detailed performance data and streamline staff operations. In addition, the INTELITY solution integrates with over 150 software and hardware systems, including PMS, POS, in-room controls, spa management, and loyalty programs. INTELITY is in use by major casino properties, including Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Angel of the Winds Casino Resort, and more.

Benjamin Keller and his team will be present at NIGA 2020. To schedule a time to meet with him at NIGA, click here to schedule a meeting or visit us at booth #806 during the tradeshow.

Using Technology to Increase Guest Satisfaction and Loyalty

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

Pre-Arrival: Stand Out from the Competition

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

On Property: Personalize the Guest Experience

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

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

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

Post-Stay: Keep Connected to Your Guests

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

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

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

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

The Mobile Connection Your Guests Crave

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

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

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

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

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

Streamlined Processes

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

Increased Loyalty

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

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

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

The Importance of International Adaptability

Connecting Hoteliers to Guests at a Global Scale

This article was originally published on Hospitality Technology on November 25, 2019.

The Pew Research Center recently reported that over 5 billion people worldwide now have mobile devices, and many people travel with up to three devices. In addition, the availability of 4G or better cell networks has increased at a global scale with 4G availability at approximately 80 percent across most countries.

The increase in cellular usage and availability has led to the need for the hospitality sector to meet the rising tide of digital-first travelers via the channels they’re most comfortable with—their mobile devices. We have already seen the airline industry adopt this type of mobile technology to great success and the ride-share industry was built using mobile, self-service technology as its foundation. Yet, the hospitality industry has been slow to embrace this technology, which has allowed entry for tech-leading competitors like Airbnb and VRBO.

The modern traveler wants to be able to book their flights to anywhere around the globe, check-in, access their boarding pass, track their luggage, catch a ride from the airport to their hotel, check-in to their room and order room service—all from their phone. The flow of information across international borders, currencies, languages, and even customs should feel seamless and completely natural.

While both airlines and ride-sharing companies have seen considerable success in utilizing mobile technology to the tune of billions of dollars in consumer and shareholder upside, why has the hospitality industry been slow to adopt mobile-first technologies at scale? Cost and ease of use are often key deterrents, along with high turnover rates that require training new staff and implementing new tech into an existing, often complex, tech stack. This list of barriers to entry gets longer when you add international brands and properties into the mix, as they also have to adhere to different regulations (such as GDPR) and various local currencies and taxes. Hospitality tech platforms need to be flexible and able to adapt to the industry’s wide range of needs.

Today’s mobile solutions and cloud-based platforms models make hospitality tech more accessible and affordable, reducing the barriers that hotels have historically faced. Mobile apps provide hotels with an instant connection to guests via the channel they’re already engaged on and create an opportunity to house many functionalities in a single location. Cloud-based platforms tend to be more flexible, customizable, and extremely easy to maintain compared to on-premise systems, which allows properties of all sizes to offer connected services and a guest experience modern travelers expect.

INTELITY offers customizable mobile app solutions designed to accommodate the needs of both smaller boutique properties and large enterprise brands across the globe. Mobile apps cross international borders by giving hoteliers a branded channel where they can connect with their guests before, during, and after their stay. Through INTELITY’s mobile solutions, hoteliers can offer mobile check-in and mobile key functionalities, as well as mobile dining, messaging, and access to existing loyalty programs, booking engines and more.

In addition to customizable enterprise mobile apps, the INTELITY platform offers cloud-based solutions that provide a seamless digital connection between hotel guests and staff. The solutions are multilingual, supporting all Western and character-based languages, including simplified Chinese, Spanish, French, Hebrew, and more. Guests anywhere can use INTELITY’s solutions to easily order everything from in-room dining to housekeeping requests in their own language. Language support not only makes it easier and more convenient for guests to interact with staff, but it also increases revenue opportunities for the property by leveraging promotional and marketing opportunities in guests’ native languages.

Multiple languages are also offered within the staff-facing solutions of the platform, allowing hotel staff to process guest requests, daily tasks, work orders, and more in the language of their choice. The INTELITY platform also supports local currencies and taxes and offers flexibility within its workflow management tools, giving hoteliers the ability to adapt the platform to their specific operations no matter where they are located.

The INTELITY platform is currently in use on six continents and in over 40 countries. We have gone to great lengths to ensure our platform is flexible and easy to implement into a brand or property’s existing tech stack. INTELITY’s platform currently integrates with more than 120 software and hardware providers, including PMS, POS, ticketing, and spa management systems that are popular in various across the globe.

To learn more about the international adaptability of the INTELITY platform, please visit our website or email demos@intelity.com.

3 Ways Your Hotel Can Benefit from a Mobile App

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

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

Streamline the check-in experience

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

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

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

Create new guest communication channels

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

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

Enable guest feedback and service recovery

benefits of mobile apps for hotels

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

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

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

Apps for Hotel Management: How to Put the Guest First

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

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

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

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

Why use mobile apps for hotel management?

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

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

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

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

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

The changing market of hotel apps

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

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

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

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

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

What should hoteliers look for in an app vendor?

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

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

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

Questions to ask hotel app providers

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

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

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

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

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

The Impact of Tech in Hospitality 

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

Put Your Guests in Control of Their Stay

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

Personalized Experiences are Key

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

Tech Should Augment Staff, Not Replace Them

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

The Gift of Time

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

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

The Future of Hospitality: Giving Guests Control Over Their Stay

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How YOTEL is Driving the Future of Hospitality with Mobile App

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

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

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

Mobile Tech: The Next Big Thing in Casino-Hotels

Why your property should implement a customized mobile app

Hospitality technology dates back to 1894 when the Netherland Hotel in New York City introduced the first in-room telephones for its guests. We’ve come a long way since things like telephones and even electricity represented impressive advances in hospitality tech. Smartphones and other mobile devices, like in-room tablets, have changed the way the hospitality industry communicates with and serves its customers. How can these technologies benefit casinos and casino-hotels?

mobile tech for casino hotels

Streamline Check-In

No one wants to see a long check-in line at their casino, no matter which side of the desk they’re on. Mobile check-in options are ideal for “stay-and-play” guests, allowing them to get checked in to their hotel room without standing in line. It’s also a boon for casino-hotels because it keeps your lines down and improves the overall customer experience. Plus, it quickly connects your hotel guests to the casino floor, which is why many of them are there in the first place.

If you already have a mobile app for your guests, regardless of its current functionality, you’ve laid the foundation for adopting technologies like mobile check-in and mobile key. Cut down on the front-desk friction and enable customers to go straight to their rooms so they can get out on the casino floor and play!

Highly Targeted Marketing Opportunities

Every modern smartphone possesses geolocation services. Most people use these for navigation or checking in on social media, but you can adapt them for your property to send out targeted promotions and special offers or to help your guests keep track of on-property events, sweepstakes and activities they might be interested in. Some states are employing this sort of technology for their lottery mobile app, giving users the tools to check winning numbers, purchase digital play slips before picking up their tickets at a retail location and even scanning tickets to see if they’re winners.

This tech is also useful for time-sensitive promotions, events, and activities. There’s nothing worse than seeing a customer who might have won a jackpot if they’d turned in their lottery ticket before the promotion ended. Again, you can incorporate this directly into your existing mobile app — or you can develop one to meet your new needs.

In-Room Customizations

Guests, especially those in the millennial generation, hate spending time talking on the phone. They prefer having access to messaging and mobile apps that allow them to engage with your property without ever having to pick up the phone. According to a 2018 survey, 75% say talking on the phone is too time-consuming, and 64% avoid this activity because they don’t want to interact with a person.

Because of that trend, if there’s something wrong with their room or they need something, millennials will avoid calling the front desk if at all possible. No matter how annoyed some people get, they often won’t do anything about it during their stay. Giving your guests a mobile app that allows them to request things from the front desk, control the environment in their room — from lighting to temperature and everything in between — or order room service without having to make a phone call will improve their experience at your property and encourage them to become repeat customers.

Cardless Interactions

No one wants to carry their debit or credit card in a casino if they can avoid it. Hotels are one of the biggest hotspots for credit card theft, from people skimming point-of-sale information to tech-savvy hackers who steal credit card information when guests log into unsecured Wi-Fi. Instead of insisting that customers carry their cards on hand, consider adopting a cardless system that works with your mobile app and the guest’s cell phone. Stations Casino’s Cardless Connect system is a perfect example. Guests sign up for a “boarding pass” through the app, and as long as they’ve got internet access, they can play at their favorite gaming tables and machines without having to worry about chips, cards or losing more money than they intended.

Next Steps

You might notice a trend with these suggestions: They all revolve around having a secure mobile app available for your guests to use. The hospitality industry may have been on the cutting edge of tech, but it’s time, and past time, for the casino-hotel market to start adopting these technologies to improve customer experience and retention across the board. INTELITY’s mobile solutions can easily be integrated with your existing loyalty program or brand app. In addition to streamlining guests’ experience and connecting them to staff, mobile apps can also be used by management teams to send targeted offers and promotions that encourage guests to engage further with the property.

To learn more about creating a customizable mobile app for your casino-hotel or to schedule a demo, contact the INTELITY team.

How Do I Connect With Connected Guests?

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

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

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

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

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

Mobile Apps

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

In-Room Tablets

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

In-Room Casting

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

Guest Messaging

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

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

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

Extending the Reach of Your Casino Floor to Your Guest Rooms

How to Use In-Room Tablets to Engage Guests in Their Rooms

In-room tablets can be game-changers, so to speak, for casino resorts. In addition to guests being able to use in-room tablets for all the more familiar uses—such as requesting services, making reservations, and communicating directly with staff, as they would at any hotel—casino hotels have the added advantage of a fresh, new way to promote gaming, and special events directly to guests while they are most captive.

Operators can easily use in-room tablets to send special offers, targeted promotions, and casino floor updates in real-time when their guests are most engaged. Depending on where the property is located, some guests can even use in-room technology to gamble right from their room as some casino hotels now offer sports and other types of betting through in-room tablets or a mobile app.

One way they do this is by adding popular gaming apps to the in-room tablets and information and tips on how to play some of the more popular casino floor games. At some casino hotels, guests can also use tablets to get real-time keno and bingo results in their room, as well as to see who won daily drawings and receive real-time jackpot notifications. Using in-room technology in this manner means guests don’t have to worry about missing out on the excitement of the casino floor while in their rooms.

extending the reach of your casino floor with in-room tablets

Today’s core casino customers are generally between 55 and 75 years old and increasingly comfortable using digital devices, including in-room tablets and mobile apps, which makes adding gaming to digital devices a logical, and smart, next step. Also, once they arrive in their room and find the mobile app and in-room tablet integrated with the property’s loyalty program, they are apt to take advantage of customized and targeted promotions and other offers that encourage them to visit the casino floor.

Ultimately, casino guests are eager to spend their time gaming — not standing in lines — so a streamlined mobile check-in process means more time they can spend on the casino floor, or using the custom-branded in-room tablet for gaming while they are in their room.

INTELITY® is the provider of the most robust guest engagement and staff management platform in hospitality. The platform features multiple customizable solutions designed to help operations optimize staff efficiencies, increase revenue opportunities, and further delight their guests.

A variety of casino properties, from the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas to smaller tribal casino properties, like Angel of the Winds and Black Oak Casino, now use the INTELITY platform, and 7 Cedars also plans to implement the INTELITY platform at its new hotel scheduled to open in the summer of 2020. To learn more about how you can extend the reach of your casino floor with hospitality technology, schedule a demo with INTELITY today.

3 Benefits of Using Mobile Key at Your Property

Mobile phones are practically universal these days with 77 percent of U.S. adults having a smartphone. Globally, 2.71 billion people use smartphones – about a third of the world’s population.

It’s no surprise that hotels, casinos, and luxury residential properties are starting to implement mobile key technology into their operations. Also known as a digital key, mobile key allows guests to unlock a door using an app on their smartphone, which is significantly more convenient and efficient than using a plastic room key.

When Travelport surveyed 16,000 travelers from 25 countries for its 2018 Digital Traveler Survey, it found that 50 percent of business travelers want to use a mobile key to unlock their guest room door.

So, why should your property convert to mobile key access? The answer is simple, incorporating this technology streamlines your check-in process, enhances the guest experience, and gives your property a competitive edge.

three benefits of incorporating mobile key technology at your hotel

Enhancing the guest experience

Mobile key technology makes it easier for a hotel, casino, or luxury residential property to manage guest needs better and can increase guest satisfaction by at least seven percent. Keyless entry, when combined with mobile check-in, gives guests the ability to skip the front desk and go straight to their guest rooms, which reduces check-in times and front desk friction.

By offering mobile key technology, properties can reduce the amount of time front desk staff must spend checking in guests and refocus that attention on providing more personalized guest service. Mobile key use also means employees do not have to physically replace lost keys, which increases efficiency.

Increased security

Not only does it increase guest satisfaction and give your guests the convenience of skipping the front desk, but mobile key technology can offer your guests increased security and reduce the risk of a lost or stolen room key.

Digital key technology eliminates the risk that comes with marking a plastic key card with a name, contact information, or a room number before handing it to a guest. If a plastic room key is lost that sensitive information can fall into the wrong hands, but a mobile key located on the guest’s own smartphone removes that possibility.

When a hotel or casino uses mobile key technology, they assign a key directly to each guest and any appropriate friends or family members. This process provides an added layer of security that lets the property better manage who has access to its building – one that isn’t possible when you merely hand out room keys that can be passed along.

Another layer of security with a mobile key is that guests must enter their phone’s password or use Touch or Face ID to access their key, meaning someone else cannot easily use it to gain entry.

If someone does misplace their phone, and therefore key, existing technology can help them find it fairly easily. Using the “Find My Phone” app or similar helps identify a missing phone’s location, whereas there is no such technology to find a lost key or keycard.

Hotel guests prefer mobile key technology

The modern traveler is looking for a digital-first experience. A recent study revealed that 76 percent of travelers said their smartphone is their most important travel companion.  Airlines have already adapted to this expectation by offering mobile boarding passes and mobile check-in through their own apps. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft give travelers the ability to request and track their ride via their mobile device.

Hotels can meet this need by providing mobile check-in and mobile key technology, which give guests the convenience of a digital-first experience that other sectors of the travel industry offer. Studies show that two-thirds of travelers want to use their mobile device as their room key and 46 percent of guests say mobile key is an important feature for them.

Because people keep their smartphones nearby at all times, a mobile key gives travelers one less thing to keep track of. Guests may forget to bring a plastic room key with them, but they are less likely to forget to bring their phone, which also reduces the chance of locking themselves out.

Converting to mobile key at your property not only allows guests quicker and easier check-in and access to their room, but it also means more efficiency for your staff.

Interested in learning more about implementing mobile key at your property? Contact the hospitality technology experts at INTELITY® to schedule a demo.

Why Your Hotel Should Include Mobile Check-In

Give your guests the self-service check-in experience they expect

Today’s travelers prefer to use self-service technology to streamline their travels. It’s no surprise that guests are more satisfied with hotels that are mobile-friendly, according to a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates. Another study conducted recently by Oracle shows that 90 percent of hotel executives believe that the guest experience could be improved by giving guests the ability to use mobile devices to manage the check-in and check-out processes.

Travelers are now reliant upon their mobile devices to check-in for a flight, catch a ride, and order from their favorite restaurants. They want to have this same convenience when checking into their hotel. Rather than waiting in line at the front desk, today’s travelers want a simple process that allows them to go directly to their room.

benefits of mobile check-in and why guests want it

A study from Software Advice shows that 60 percent of guests will choose a hotel that allows them to check-in and access their guestroom with their mobile device over one that doesn’t. Another study by J.D. Power indicates that guests who can take advantage of mobile check-in/out have higher levels of satisfaction than those using traditional plastic room keys that are easily lost.

Providing mobile check-in services not only benefits your guests, but it is also good for your daily operations. It streamlines your check-in process, reduces front desk friction, and allows front desk employees to spend more time assisting guests, which leads to more personalized guest service. Providing a streamlined, easy check-in process not only enhances the guest experience but it also frees up staff time to focus on delivering the next level of service.

There are additional forward-looking functions that can be implemented along with mobile check-in to further streamline the check-in process. Incorporating features like mobile ID authentication and mobile payment allows guests to have a completely digital,  “Uber-like,” experience with your property and give them the opportunity to engage through the channel they’re more comfortable with.

Being able to scan and verify a guest’s ID remotely means you have all the information you need to confirm a reservation or process payment and eliminates the risk of incorrect manual keystroke entries. These features can also assist in bridging language barriers between your hotel staff and foreign travelers and providing those travelers with the same easy check-in process your other guests’ experience.

Incorporating mobile key functionality at your property is the next step in creating a completely mobile check-in process. Using a smartphone to unlock the guest room door is quick, easy, and efficient. By offering keyless entry at your property, you eliminate the need for guests to spend time at the front desk picking up their room key, which can be lost or fail and require them to backtrack to the front desk.

Offering a streamlined mobile check-in process immediately gives your guests the ease and convenience they’ve come to expect from other sectors of the travel industry and automatically elevates their experience at your property.

Interested in learning more about how you can give guests access to the self-service options they crave, eliminate their time at the front desk, and enhance your guest experience with mobile technology? Contact the hospitality technology experts at INTELITY® to schedule a demo of our multi-point platform.

How Hotels Are Using Technology to Gain a Competitive Advantage

Contributed by Kacey Bradley

The world of business is inherently competitive. Every industry has companies trying to rise to the top, which means impressing consumers by learning what they want and finding ways to make those things happen seamlessly. Businesses that invest in delivering on consumer expectations typically see an increase in brand loyalty, which leads to an increase in revenue.

This characteristic is especially true of the hospitality industry. When guests stay at a hotel, they’re looking for a place where they feel comfortable, safe, and have access to the conveniences they’re accustomed to in their daily lives, and hotels are in a race to perfect this.

Technology has become a key component in giving one hotel an edge over another, especially with the increasing popularity of a digital-first approach among travelers. By implementing the right tech, hotels can impress guests, streamline operations, and generate more revenue. It’s critical for hoteliers to stay current with technological advancements, so they can keep pace with expectations.

Mobile devices are the easiest and best way to reach guests- the average hotel guest checks in with at least three mobile devices. Today’s travelers depend on them to provide information and easy access to essential features in their lives. Using mobile technology allows hoteliers to meet their guests where they’re already engaged.

Here are five types of technology that can give a property a competitive advantage:

1. A Branded App

Mobile apps are the perfect solution for engaging guests before, during, and after their stay, especially when integrated with a property’s existing loyalty program. Mobile app technology can also be beneficial in gaining insight into guest satisfaction and guest preferences, which can be used to improve the quality or types of services offered.

An app can track the most common types of guest requests, dining metrics and which menu items are the most popular, and how often they’re using the app to communicate with hotel staff. Management teams can use this information as a framework for making better business decisions and taking guest service to the next level.

2. Mobile Check-In

Mobile check-in is highly sought after by today’s self-service driven travelers. Giving your guests the ability to bypass the front desk not only enhances the guest experience, but it also frees up staff, allowing them to spend more time providing personalized guest service. Offering mobile check-in also incentivizes guests to download your property’s mobile app, which creates a further opportunity for upselling, pre-arrival communication, and to generally craft exceptional experiences.

3. Mobile Key

Major brands, like Hilton and Marriott, have already implemented a form of keyless entry into their hotels and its quickly becoming the leading hotel technology trend. Implementing mobile key technology provides guests the convenience of reducing time at the front desk and prevents guests from ever losing or forgetting their room key. Mobile key technology also saves hotels money on printing costs and increases efficiencies because staff don’t have to spend time printing keycards or replacing lost room keys.

4. In-Room Tablets

In-room tablets provide guests with easy access to hotel information and the ability to place service requests, order room service, control the in-room environment, and communicate with hotel staff. These digital compendiums can also be used to create upselling opportunities and promote upgrades and other special offers targeted to a guest’s preferences.

5. Voice-Controlled Rooms

Another popular technology hotels are embracing is voice. Guests can use this technology to turn on lights, control the TV, adjust the thermostat, and more. Voice technology can also be used to submit guest requests, make reservations, and provide guests with information about the local area. While voice technology may not be as necessary as some of the mobile technologies available, it plays a large role in enhancing the guest experience.

Staying ahead of the competition and remaining relevant is important in an industry as competitive as the hospitality industry. Successfully implementing the right technologies is an easy way to distinguish yourself from your competitors and cater to today’s tech-savvy travelers. Hospitality technology can change how guests experience a hotel and lead to repeat guests, positive reviews, and word-of-mouth referrals.

To learn more about how you can use hospitality technology to gain a competitive advantage, contact the experts at INTELITY to schedule a demo.

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.

Why Technology in the Hotel Industry is a ‘Must Have,’ Not an Extra

You will fall behind in your bookings if you fall behind in your technology, here’s why…

Technology is no longer just a nice “extra.” In the travel industry, using and providing the right kinds of technology has become an absolute necessity, so much so that AAA has revised its Approval Requirements and Dining Rating Guidelines in April 2018. The new requirements state that a hotel must incorporate advanced hospitality technology into their day-to-day operations.

In order to qualify for a 3-Diamond rating, a hotel must offer guests the ability to check-in and -out using mobile technology. A 4-Diamond rating will require a hotel to feature technology that allows guests to access guest-services through mobile devices AND the ability to check-in/out with mobile technology. For a 5-Diamond rating, a hotel must offer the previously mentioned hospitality technology as well as mobile key technology and advanced connectivity across guest interactions.

These new ratings now score hotels based on their ability to connect with their guests through advanced hospitality technology that goes beyond offering free Wi-Fi or USB ports. AAA now looks for hotels to offer content-rich mobile apps, mobile key technology, and self-check-in capabilities.

AAA Diamond ratings aside, guests themselves are demanding access to technology like mobile check-in/out and are more inclined to stay at locations that offer these options. The guest experience has always been the foundation of success in the hospitality industry, but in today’s review-driven society creating and maintaining guest satisfaction is paramount. Guests are looking for a seamless and personal experience that allows them to control every aspect of their stay and they’re looking for on-demand results.

Incorporating integrated connective technology into daily operations has become an important part of the guest experience. According to a 2017 Oracle Hospitality report, nearly 2/3rds of U.S. hotel guests consider technology “very or extremely important” to the guest experience and 80 percent of leisure travelers value the ability to use their mobile devices to request service from their hotels and/or message the hotel staff.

Guests not only want increased access to advanced hospitality technology, but they also want access to fully-integrated, content-rich, connective technology that provides them control over integral features of their hotel stay. Offering features like mobile check-in/out, mobile key access, and the ability to book activities outside the hotel or make reservations at local restaurants is no longer a nice “extra” for guests, it’s a must-have.

This is a massive shift for the travel industry and hotels must rethink their traditional approach, otherwise, these hyper-connected digital consumers will choose to stay elsewhere. Incorporating connective in-room technology and mobile check-in/out may also help increase hotels’ revenue and decrease their expenses by reducing printing costs and providing data on what guests favor on the in-room dining menu and other services.

Give your guests the option to check in online and use their phones to unlock their room door because many prefer to avoid the front desk altogether. Once in the room, guests should be able to stream their favorite entertainment to the TV and use their devices to request amenities, book reservations, and otherwise communicate with hotel staff.

Make sure you are offering the hospitality technology today’s travelers demand, or they will go elsewhere to find it.

Download the One-Sheet

For additional information about our Mobile & In-Room Dining features, download the PDF one-sheet after filling out this short form.

Download the One-Sheet

For additional information about our Mobile Check-In solution, download the PDF one-sheet after filling out this short form.