I remember the first time that my family and I stayed at a hotel. I was 5 years old and we were in Darjeeling for summer vacation. My father hadn’t booked a hotel beforehand so when we reached Darjeeling, we were told that almost every budget hotel was booked. This was before the time of internet and smartphones and it took about three hours to find a small bed and breakfast type hotel where we finally got a room for accommodation. Thinking about that incident 20 years later, I thank my stars that the internet exists because I can’t imagine running around to find a room when I can simply look through hotels online.
But it isn’t just me who’s thankful about technology and its advancements. Hotels all over the world have been able to broaden their horizon and expand their reach using the internet. The emergence of Online Travel Agencies (OTA) like Make My Trip, Yatra, etc. and hotel aggregator websites like Booking.com, Trivago have made it easier to discover for hotels to reach out to their prospects.
While hassle-free discovery and booking is certainly a huge win for hotels, providing outstanding guest experience involves a little more. As a hotelier, you want your guests to feel pampered and relaxed during their stay. Here’re some of the ways in which you can use technology for a better guest experience.
Be Mobile Phone Accessible
India’s mobile internet users are steadily increasing and are projected to As more and more users find their way to the internet, it’s high time that hotels ensure their online visibility for users to find more about them. Listing the hotel on common travel and booking platforms, being present on social media and having your own website, are necessary practices for any hotel to stay competitively viable in today’s world.
Mobile phones are also becoming the preferred mode of using the internet among most users. Consequently, hotels need to make the mobile experience adequate for customers by making their website device optimised. Device optimisation also goes a long way in getting customers to book online. Additionally, hotels can leverage information (IP address, GPS location, etc.) obtained through user’s mobile phone to provide customised offers and localised deals.
Deploy Chatbots on Website
When users visit a hotel website, they don’t always know where to get all the required information. At this point, they seek support from the hotel’s end which includes email and call support. While these forms of support are common, having a chatbot feature on your hotel website can seriously do wonders.
Chatbot is much like live-chat with the key difference being that chatbots run on artificial intelligence to simulate a conversation via text or voice. Chatbot is a support system that operates in real time and it is also a much faster and easier way to handle customer queries. Chatbots are programmed to use algorithm and code to answers customer queries. It removes the need for human intervention in answering queries by and large, making it possible to assist visitors on your website even during off-work hours.
The quicker and better your customer support is, the better impression it forms, leading to higher booking chances. It also helps in building a lasting impression, which many a times results in positive word of mouth publicity.
Personalise Their Stay Experience
Curating a personalised stay experience for your guests requires a combination of technology and service. Not only is personalisation a beneficial benefit but it also helps in differentiating a hotel and its services.
Furthermore, if the user is making a booking directly through the hotel website, you can include questions about their likes and preferences to better serve them. For example, if you find out that a guest is on vacation, you can provide personalised tour packages for local sightseeing. You can also provide them a discount on local food that your restaurant serves and give them a taste of the local flavours of life.
After their stay comes to a close, you can ask guests to share their thoughts and suggest areas of improvement. Not only will it help in serving them better during their next visit, but also help your overall guest service.
Ensure Wi-Fi Availability
If your hotel doesn’t provide Wi-Fi, be ready to say goodbye to a lot of potential customers. What was once seen as a perk by customers is now a necessity whose availability decides whether a customer will make a booking or not.
Wi-Fi connectivity is important to customers as most of them travel with one or more devices and they expect internet connection for work or leisure-related purpose. But there’s a catch. It isn’t simply enough to have an active Wi-Fi network, you need to make sure that it’s fast and reliable even when several devices are connected at the same time. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you invest in a good Wi-Fi connection as well as update it periodically to keep up with the latest advancements in network technology.
Invest in Voice Assistant Technology
Voice assistants like Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri have become revered technological advancements, used by millions all over the world. Voice assistants are useful for scheduling, shopping, exploring, using the internet and a whole lot of other valuable tasks. Voice assistants are the equivalent of having a butler like Jarvis or Alfred but with a woman’s voice instead. As a hotelier, you should seriously consider setting up a voice assistant service in your rooms. Guests can use it to communicate with the hotel, explore local options, sync calls etc. It’s a nifty little tech to have, that will seriously make your hotel stand out among the rest.
The impact of technology on customer experience has been so significant that no matter how big or small the technology you employ, it will still have an impact on your customer’s stay. So, saddle up and start inculcating technology into your hotel to stay ahead of the competition.