We've all heard that impressing your guests with new experiences is a great way to get repeat customers. Digital technologies can be used to create new experiences and make existing processes more convenient and seamless for guests. Below, we take a look at the technologies that are revolutionizing the hotel industry.

1. Improved payment options

Imagine losing your wallet while traveling and being unable to book a hotel or check in to your room because you don't have your card on you. Inconvenient, right? Most customers think the same. That's why many prefer new payment methods that will save them the hassle of fishing out their card every time they make a purchase.

Mobile payment the biggest new payment trend gaining traction in retail and services industries, with the volume of transactions expected to increase to $503 billion by 2020. Its growth is most apparent across the Asia Pacific region, as platforms like Wechat Pay enable customers to make transitions without the use of a bank card. By 2022, it is possible that entirely cashless societies may even form as a result of market demand and regulatory pushes.

Cryptocurrency is another growing trend in the hospitality industry. Certain hotels have adopted this method of payment, hoping to draw interest from customers looking for alternative payment options. With hotels investing more in payment infrastructure, Bitcoin payment may hold a future in becoming a secure, fast and reliable payment method. However, with these advances cryptocurrency also poses certain challenges for lawmakers to widely accepting and legitimizing this type of currency. The volatile fluctuations in the value of a Bitcoin also make it challenging for businesses to accommodate cryptocurrency as a mainstream payment option.

 

2. Personalized check-in

Personalization has been recognized as a 2019 megatrend when it comes to nailing customer experience. This trend is all about identifying each customer's preferences and circumstances to inform your interactions.

When it comes to making a great first impression in this area, look at personalizing your check-in systems if you want to impress your customers from the point of their first real-life interaction with you. Remember that personalization in this context doesn’t necessarily mean having a human check in every guest! Many guests, especially business travelers, may prefer an automated check-in to save time and get straight to their room.

With the proliferation of data, you can offer various types of check-ins based on guests' preferences. Your guests can choose from self-check-in kiosks, traditional check-in with a staff member, or mobile check-in. Relevant data from your customers' previous check-ins can even customize their place of stay depending on their preferences like food, amenities, and more.

Needless to say, tech companies are quickly jumping on the personalization bandwagon in new ways. Google recently piloted its voice-powered translation services in hotel front desks to cater for overseas customers. By saying the familiar trigger phrase “Hey Google”, this interpreter mode enables each person’s responses to be automatically translated into the other’s language, to further personalize the guest’s hotel check-in experience.

3. Real-time feedback tools

In this era, the voice of your customer is something that can make or break your business. Then, it is extremely important for businesses to collect and act on in-moment feedback in a timely manner.

Thanks to new technologies, post-stay guest satisfaction surveys may become a thing of the past. Hotels are now looking at capturing feedback in real time, while the guest is on property. This helps the front line team address problems promptly, so that visitors are more likely to leave satisfied and subsequently write positive post-stay reviews. In addition, real-time feedback helps employees gain deeper fulfilment from the value of their actions by giving them the ability to close the loop with guests.

If you are considering implementing a real-time feedback tool, make sure it is unobtrusive to guests and integrated into your hotel systems. The best way to do this is to make it part of an omnichannel feedback strategy so your guests will have a consistent experience with your business through any of the various ways they choose to connect with you.

For best practices on how to create an omnichannel feedback channel for your business, check out our blog post on Capturing Real-Time Guest Feedback and Service Recovery.