Hoteliers already realize that competition in the hospitality industry has never been keener. So, it’s crucial for owners and managers to creatively consider how they can distinguish themselves from the crowd, while improving guest satisfaction, encouraging repeat stays, and generating a positive reputation. However, if you are still using an Excel sheet, a notebook, and a calculator instead of a hotel property management system (PMS), you (and your guests) are most likely missing out—and being left behind by your more tech-savvy peers.
According to the 2016 Lodging Technology Study, almost half of all hoteliers surveyed singled-out enhancing mobile solutions for guests as a main goal for 2016. The study also reported that the vast majority of these same hoteliers, 84 percent, will already either be using, upgrading, or planning to add mobile app capabilities by mid-2017, such as mobile advanced check-in and other services that interface with hotel management system software. The reason for this hotel technology push? Giving guests what they need, and gaining quality points of loyalty-building contact.
Mobile Guest Engagement and Touch Points
More and more frequently, guests are making reservations and checking-in electronically. This is being done with what is called mobile guest engagement software, and works in concert with the hotel PMS. Through this technology, guests have new choices, such as selecting their own room while viewing images of the actual hotel layout. The main advantage to the hotel is that this mobile software not only caters to what their guests want electronically, but as guest preferences, market behaviors, and social media habits are revealed, it serves to provide a clearer picture of what matters to each guest.
So, with just the task of picking out a room, you are giving your guests a smooth mobile experience and also gathering more information about what they like (and don’t like). By giving today’s travelers the technology they need and want, this can only help you and your business grow.
The More You Know
In addition to interfacing with mobile guest engagement software for tasks like checking-in, the technology behind a hotel PMS can help increase the volume and quality of guest data that is collected and used to further personalize the guest experience. Every time your hotel management system allows you to “touch” a guest, it is one more opportunity to make their stay more personal, memorable—in other words, better. And in building these points of contact via your PMS, you are also building more opportunities to improve your bottom line. This is because increased contact points means increased guest-directed notifications, which means gentle upselling opportunities like spa treatments, room upgrades, food and beverage pre-ordering, and other special touches. So, touch points give you both better guest experiences and possible new revenue streams.
For hoteliers who are proactive in adopting these technologies earlier rather than later, the results are likely to include improved customer loyalty and engagement. Because the more genuine, quality touch points you can create with your guests, the more opportunities you will have to interact with them and please them.
Touch Points Build Loyalty
Most hoteliers know that they need a great loyalty program. The latest study by Cornell’s Center for Hospitality Research shows that such programs encourage frequent guests to stay even more frequently. The study discovered a 50 percent average increase in revenue when guests joined up. The bottom line is, they work. And this is another place where the technology of a hotel PMS can help your business.
With the guest profiles now available within most hotel software, hoteliers have access to pointed information on guest preferences, raising the bar on customization to new levels. Smart properties can benefit from this data windfall, as well they should, because according to Gallup’s latest hospitality report, there’s a very strong link between guests’ feelings of well-being and customer engagement. And, also according to the study, this engagement corresponds directly to the amount of money they spend per visit.
With increased quality time from hotel technology can come improvements in the guest experience that allow for even more touch points, which means more personalized perks and promotions to reward loyalty in a truly meaningful way.
The Future looks Bright
As increasingly tech-smart guests manage most aspects of their lives from their tablets and smart phones, adopting the best in hotel technology will keep gaining in importance. Today’s customers expect such self-service capabilities, turning them from “nice-to-haves” into “must-haves.” Effective mobile engagement also means an opportunity for hotels to be there for their guests during all phases of their stay.
The bottom line? By taking advantage of both the mobile capabilities and the data the right hotel management system software can provide, virtually everything you do may now be designed to better serve your guests. And better serving guests can only benefit your staff, your business, and ultimately your brand.