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 Key

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.

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.

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.

6 Digital Pain Points Impacting the Hospitality Industry

How a Smart Digital Strategy Can Help Overcome Digital Pitfalls

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Difficulty sharing information and data across disparate systems
  • Costly and time-consuming training for (often) high-turnover staff
  • Maintaining a competitive advantage in a highly saturated industry
  • Engaging mobile-first guests
  • Providing access to connectivity at scale
  • Creating authentic, personalized experiences that resonate with your customers

If so… we have good news! Technology can assist in resolving many of the common pain points you experience in your daily operations. Solve these problems, and you’re exponentially closer to delivering on a truly exceptional guest experience.

Overcoming data silos

The data silo problem occurs when various teams at the same property use different systems that do not allow the cross-channel sharing of information. Data silos can limit communication and collaboration, create inefficiencies, hog storage space, and slow down overall efficiency.

When guest data remains trapped within a silo, not only does the guest experience suffer, but so does the ability to use that data effectively for business, communications, and marketing. To gain deeper insight into your guests’ preferences and what they want, you must implement technology that allows data to be easily shared. This allows you to more easily personalize service, improve the guest experience, and make better business decisions.

Training staff 

Using multiple software systems at your property means ensuring your staff is properly trained on each one. Implementing a single end-to-end platform or integrated solutions makes training, utilizing, and optimizing that tech much more straightforward. Look to solutions and platforms that emphasize ease of use and a clean staff interface, as these solutions typically require little training and provide a better user experience.

Maintaining a competitive advantage

From a marketing perspective, there are many ways integrated technology can help you maintain a competitive advantage. Be smarter about reaching your guests by sending timely, targeted offers in real-time, and you’ll see guest engagement spike.

A competitive advantage can further be achieved through increased operational efficiency. Streamline your company’s internal processes by using a back-office dashboard that allows you to organize and manage information in one central location. Whether you choose a single platform or a combination of systems that complement each other, incorporating solutions that allow information and data to congregate in one place will help you streamline operations and enhance guest interactions. Your employees will be more efficient and internal processes more effective.

how hospitality technology solves digital pain points impacting the industry

Providing a quality mobile experience

Most consumers are accustomed to using smartphones for just about everything. Mobile and in-room technologies help enhance the guest experience by allowing mobile check-in/out and digital payments. Guests can access their guest rooms using their phone as a mobile key, which allows them to avoid the front desk altogether. Providing access to mobile technology does away with front desk friction, which can be a major pain point for most hoteliers. A customized mobile app can also be used to integrate with existing loyalty programs to encourage repeat business and brand loyalty.

Creating connectivity at scale

Consistent and reliable connectivity is a continuous challenge. Properties must provide ever-increasing bandwidth, as well as performance, reliability, and security that allows for constant digital communication, for both staff and guests. Your property must have enough bandwidth to capture guest data and support your cloud-based, back-office dashboard.

Personalization

86 percent of travelers value personalized offers, particularly those that make them feel like a unique and valued individual rather than just a number in a ledger. To create this kind of feeling requires effective use of your guests’ data and shared preferences to enhance their overall experience.

Navigating the digital world can be challenging for hoteliers that are already juggling multiple tasks and projects. By investing in technology that helps connect you and your staff to your guests, you can simultaneously address these common digital pain points and elevate your guests’ experience.

INTELITY is the broadest platform available to seamlessly connect service industry workforces directly to its customers. If you’d like to learn more about how our complete end-to-end platform can help you address the digital pain points you’re currently experiencing, contact us today to schedule a demonstration.

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.

G2E Panel Recap: Using Technology to Extend the Casino Floor and Increase Revenue

A recent highlight of INTELITY’s attendance at the 2019 Global Gaming Expo was the panel discussion on “Using Technology to Extend the Casino Floor and Increase Revenue,” moderated by INTELITY SVP of Sales Benjamin Keller. Richard Rader, CTO of Seven Feathers Casino Resort, and Jeff Wheatley, Assistant General Manager of Angel of the Winds Casino Resort spoke with Keller about how they have successfully implemented technology throughout their properties.

Using In-Room Guest Marketing to Increase Revenue

A primary topic covered in the hour-long session was regarding guest marketing and how technology enables casino properties to better target guests while on property. Both panelists discussed the success they’ve seen in implementing in-room technology to drive guests to revenue-generating activities like the casino floor and dining through timely, personalized promotions.

Wheatley noted that “in-room tablets are huge for us because they allow us to advertise to a captive audience,” while Rader added that “selling guest-facing ads helps us subsidize our WiFi and infrastructure costs.” Not only do in-room tablets provide direct revenue and cost-saving opportunities for casino hotels, but they also enhance the overall guest experience. “We get a lot of positive guest feedback [regarding our in-room tablets] even when we don’t solicit it,” said Wheatley.

Enhancing the Guest Experience with Mobile Technology

Another technology investment that both panelists discussed extensively was guest-facing mobile apps. Rader pointed out that the decision to invest in a mobile app should be made only after understanding your existing guest behavior and use cases. Given that his property’s guest population has a relatively high average age, his investment in mobile technology is evaluated around how guests respond to the tech: “We look at our business and use cases and build our technology around that… well implemented technology doesn’t need hundreds of pages of documentation. It needs to be intuitive.”

Both panelists noted the clear return on investment with their mobile check-in and mobile key solutions. Regarding mobile check-in, Wheatley said “[our guests] have become accustomed to ‘we want it and we want it now.’ Once we’ve set that guest expectation, we have to fulfill it.” Today’s guests increasingly rely on mobile technology and expect immediate access while traveling, and checking into their hotel room is no exception. Integrating mobile check-in into a casino hotel’s guest flow means guests can spend less time in line and more time on the casino floor.

Successful Tech Implementation Requires Staff Training

To wrap the session, the panelists talked about the challenges of training staff members on how to successfully use technology. Wheatley touched on the importance of making sure that his staff members know how to use and manage any new technology investment, and how that is a critical component for a successful implementation. By focusing on staff training, he mentioned that he is able to effectively control costs across his organization: “Our biggest expense by far is labor costs; we’re always looking at how to become more efficient.” Mobile technology that is implemented well also creates a more efficient workflow for staff. By automating manual processes and simple tasks, casino hotels can improve their staff efficiency without sacrificing the guest experience.

Overall, the engaging panel discussion provided clear opportunities for casino hotels to successfully implement technology solutions throughout their properties. To learn more about how INTELITY drives revenue and reduces costs for casino hotels around the world, contact the INTELITY team to request a demo today.

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.

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.

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.

Crafting a Smart Guest Experience with Hospitality Technology

It’s no secret that expectations surrounding the digital guest experience have changed. With more than 96 percent of modern hotel guests carrying smart devices, the obvious next step is ensuring that you provide your guests with a smart experience.

What Does a Smart Guest Experience Look Like?

A smart guest experience is one that anticipates and meets your guests’ needs by providing what they want when they want it. While this is partly achieved through excellent customer service, it also requires making the right technologies available—those that improve your guests’ experience and streamline your service delivery.

A “smart hotel” provides robust Wi-Fi, offers a mobile guest app that allows remote check-in and -out, mobile key, direct messaging, and the ability to control a guestroom’s environment and entertainment. Smart hotels also incorporate in-room tablets to increase guest engagement and back office solutions to track guest activity, send personalized offers, and connect staff more directly to guests.

How do You Create a Smart Guest Experience?

A smart guest experience should be crafted around a robust mobile strategy that extends beyond a mobile guest app. Your mobile strategy should include everything from a mobile version of your website to a strong social media presence, direct digital messaging, and in-app chat. These channels should all be available on a single, easy-to-use platform where travelers can choose how they want to communicate and are able to move seamlessly between secure digital solutions, so they feel comfortable sharing and accessing personal data.

Having a comprehensive mobile strategy is only a starting point. In order to create a truly smart guest experience, you will need to take your digital strategy up a notch. This means leveraging network-connected technologies such as data analytics and business intelligence, customer relationship management programs, AI, targeted guest marketing, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Because these advanced technologies don’t work without a robust technology infrastructure, it’s critical to have that in order first. When creating a smart guest experience, you need to make sure all the software and technologies utilized at your property integrate seamlessly. Only then can you create the ultimate smart guest experience that improves your guests’ stays without feeling intrusive.

Implementing a Smart Guest Experience

It’s not enough to only have smart technologies in place. Your employees must be well-trained on how to best use those technologies to create a superior guest experience and streamline their daily tasks. Once your employees have been trained on how to effectively use the technology and software implemented at your property, you’ll be able to personalize, maximize, and monetize your guest experience.

Interested in learning more about how you can use technology to provide a smart guest experience at your property? Contact us today to learn more about the INTELITY platform and how it can help you increase guest engagement and streamline your daily operations.

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.