In the quest for guest loyalty, hotels must look to strengthen their unique capabilities wherever they can. Personalized guest experiences will always have value, and technology is providing richer and richer ways to achieve that. From before guest arrival through to checkout, there are opportunities to leverage new technological developments to more effectively and efficiently personalize each phase of the guest experience.
We can tell ourselves that the best check-in experience involves being greeted in person, but when we make this assumption for all of our guests, are we truly offering a personalized experience? For some individuals, the best check-in is one that gets them into their room as quickly as possible. With the proliferation of data, we can know what type of check-in a guest prefers and respond appropriately – whether that’s with mobile recognition and keyless entry, the option of self-check-in kiosks, or the traditional check-in with a staff member. By offering varied types of check-in, staff can work more efficiently while guests experience a higher level of personalization.
Better infrastructure and converged local area networks are helping to bring together various services such as wifi, TV/video, phone and other in-room controls like temperature. Internet is arguably the most important service for guests these days so having fast, free internet with strong in-room connection is essential to keep up with guests’ expectations. Food chains and retailers may have had something to do with raising the level of expectation. Your guests are likely to wonder, ‘If McDonald’s and Starbucks can offer free wifi, why can’t this hotel?’
If you can tell exactly where guests are in your hotel, not only can you better understand their habits and allocate staff, but you also have the opportunity to send guests personalized, contextually relevant messages via a hotel mobile app or other messaging platform. Wifi access points or beacons, placed around the hotel, connect guests’ mobile devices to identify their micro-location. When used in conjunction with a hotel app, it opens the door to being able to offer a virtual concierge service that follows the guest wherever they are. In a large hotel, location services can also help the guest find his way by providing direction specific to wherever he is going.