Excerpt from Hotel Owner
James Symons, CEO of LocknCharge talks about the difficulties faced by hotels when using tablets and digital devices to achieve a better guest experience
There is no doubt that in recent years the customer service experience has changed dramatically. In the past, face to face or telephone customer service was often the only contact a customer would have with a company. This was the tool that built trust, loyalty to a brand, and the personal touch.
In the last few years, however, a new type of customer has emerged. Online sources play an integral part of this customers booking experience, and planning – 66% of travelers now watch travel-related videos before booking their trip. 51% of travelers use online sources to decide on activities once at their destination, meaning that offering online solutions either in guest rooms, lobby area and good Wi-Fi facilities have become an important aspect of a guest’s stay.
This new breed of customer is not looking for good customer service, but a full ‘guest experience’. They like to continue enjoying their comforts they usually enjoy at home away from home. And with increasing competition from the likes of Airbnb and smaller boutique hotels with arguably a more personal guest experience, the larger hotel chains have to ensure they are keeping up with the trends!
New technology is playing a big role in this. Online and iPad check-ins are helping to reduce queueing and check-in times. Smarter rooms are becoming important, with room service ordering facilities, personalised welcome messages on screens, and fast Wi-Fi and broadband, so guests can connect as easily as they would at home.
However, with new technology there comes new challenges. When technology works well, it gives a great impression, but behind the scenes, the hotelier does have some work to do to make this smooth transition. Expensive investment in technology means hotels want the devices to be kept safe, especially when stored overnight. Hotels want to ensure devices are fully charged and ready for use at all times, which can be particularly challenging when you have hundreds of rooms all needing tablets.
Are the materials and resources the hotel is using tablet friendly – can the customer connect quickly to the internet or Wi-Fi? Does the hotel website integrate well with a tablet format? Can staff use the tablets quickly and efficiently? Are they trained to do this, and does this match their skill set?
Hotels need to adapt to this new customer by embracing technology, its challenges, and aiming to recreate a personal guest interaction within the hotel environment. Device management, therefore, plays a critical role in the future of digital technology, and in the future of hotel interiors, as technology shapes the new guest experience for the new type of customer.
See the original article on the Hotel Owner website.