An in-depth look at how global circumstances surrounding COVID-19 have changed the hotel guest experience before, during, and after stays.
Almost overnight, the definition of a top-tier guest experience has completely changed. High-touch service isn’t the ideal; touchless service is. And cleaning standards—always important, but never a top marketing tool—are now the single biggest draw for many consumers. With guest needs and wants shifting so quickly and dramatically, the question for hoteliers isn’t whether or not the traditional hotel guest experience is done for. Everyone knows it is, at least temporarily. Now, the question is, “What’s next?”
For many hoteliers and guests, this is what the new ideal looks like—upon arrival, during the stay, and as guests depart.
Before Guests Arrive
Whether it’s email, text, or in-app messaging, communication with guests before they arrive on-property has never been more important. This is the time to communicate new policies, reassure the guest that they’re walking into a safe environment, and inform them of how they can contribute to safety. It’s also how you can notify them about contactless services, and encourage them to use those services from the start.
Mobile check-in is now the single most important tool hotels can implement, empowering guests to maintain physical distance and protecting front desk staff from interacting with a large volume of guests. With mobile check-in capabilities, guests can check in before they even step foot on property.
During Their Stay
Once a guest has checked in from their mobile device and arrived on-property, they can download their digital key, skip the front desk entirely, and head safely to their room. But keyless entry doesn’t have to stop there—it can also be the gatekeeper for common areas and amenities spaces like meeting rooms, pools, and gyms, keeping contact to a minimum throughout the property.
Enhanced Cleaning Standards
From the moment a guest walks in the door until they leave, they should be surrounded by a new level of cleanliness, one tailored to the threat COVID-19 poses. From wiping down frequently touched surfaces regularly to performing deep cleans between guests, hotels are expected to provide cleanliness safety standards. But it’s not enough to just implement these new practices; guests should be informed and urged to do their part as well—by washing their hands, wearing masks, and following new hotel policies. It not only leads to a safer hotel guest experience all around, but also increases guest satisfaction by ensuring they feel safer and more comfortable throughout their stay.
Low-contact service isn’t restricted to just check-in and entry. It can and should transform the entire stay. A guest needs extra towels? They’re now looking for a way to request service and receive their towels without direct staff contact. Room service? They’re now expecting contactless ordering, payment, and delivery. As a result, contactless service is a crucial piece of the new guest experience, eliminating the vast majority of face-to-face interactions between guests and staff without compromising service quality.
As They Depart
Keep things as simple and low contact as they started by giving guests the option to check out on their phone, at once notifying you of their departure without requiring anything more than a few simple taps before they’re on their way.
It’s not just global circumstances that have changed—travelers have changed as well. Even as travel resumes and they return, even as safety levels rise, contact will be regarded with more caution. Safety and cleanliness won’t be taken for granted. These priorities remain, and it’s the responsibility of the hospitality industry to provide an experience that satisfies those needs and rebuilds guest trust for years to come.
Ready to transform your hotel guest experience on every level? Find out how the INTELITY platform can help you reduce contact, increase safety, and rebuild trust post-COVID.