The year 2020 was really a shock for all the industries. The travel and hospitality trends were the highly affected among them. The hotel industry always took the technology disruptions as an opportunity to reassess and innovate their existing operations and the communication with the guests. The innovative experiences like computerized property management system, email and online booking, and smartphone adoption were born out of such situations. Now it’s happening once again with contactless technology — ranging from check-in kiosks to keyless entry and guest messaging platforms. Let us quickly look into some of the contactless hotel technology trends for the year 2021.
Real-time customer insights
For hotels, contactless is not just a way to deliver services: It is also a powerful tool to gather real-time customer feedback, leading to more satisfied guests and better service in the future.
The hospitality industry is now no stranger to feedback: After all, hotels have long relied on guest surveys, comment cards, and more recently, online reviews, to gauge satisfaction with their service. But with Covid-19 increasing the difficulty of guest interaction, feedback is at a greater premium than ever before. In reality, today’s contactless tools allow for much more immediate reviews, making hoteliers to make up for shortcomings when the guest is still in the hotel.
Best of all, more hotels are now finding that insights obtained with contactless also have an impact well past the end of every single guest’s stay.F or example, contactless also allows hotels to gather polls of guest tastes, try out different room or promotional deals, or gauge interest in new products and services. This aggregate knowledge can then be shared with staff and managers, who can also aid with training and coaching.
Over time, the feedback becomes not only something to respond to; it also becomes a competitive advantage to hotels, helping them better educate staff and adapt their offerings to the changing needs of customers.
Guest Messaging Will Stitch Together an Omnichannel Customer Journey
Contactless is also helping hotels elevate the service experience as well, opening the door to communicate with customers in a more seamless, consistent, and tailored fashion over the course of their hotel stay.
Contactless services offer hotels a lifeline, enabling staff to seamlessly link together many of the disparate details of the hotel experience—whether that’s check-in, concierge services, housekeeping, or room service—using guest texting. These messaging systems help offer reliable, customized, experiences that blend together the offline and online hotel experience in a customer pleasant way.
Artificial Intelligence and Personalization
Hotels have to elevate themselves and deliver a truly special guest offering. One possibility is leveraging automated features. By introducing artificial intelligence to further personalize those interactions, hotels can also do it in a way that feels human, helping to take customer experience to the next level.
Hotel executives are discovering that AI empowers their employees to more intuitively manage and automate specific experiences with guests. This frees them up to spend time where they can be most impactful, elevating the most critical guest interactions so they get the proper human touch they deserve. And best of all, this automation is a tool they can calibrate to fit their particular business and property needs, turning the level of AI assistance and automation up or down as circumstances demand.
If contactless technology and guest messaging help provide insight into any one guest’s experience, giving hotels a deeper understanding of how to improve service in that moment, AI tools are looking for trends within “regular” guest interactions to see the unseen. Automated messaging is a vital tool that opens the door to more personalized experiences, but a uniform harm than good. Ultimately a person is always going to be involved in the decision making and response process to help ensure the best possible experience.
Looking longer term, the effect of AI for hotels will go beyond what’s happening in the hotel at any given moment, helping create a better service model over time. For example, hotels can use insights gathered through artificial intelligence to create segmented customer personas as different customer interaction trends emerge.
Guide Hotels Through the Recovery
Hotels that choose to invest in a contactless platform are finding it creates a new sense of stability, continuity, and efficiency that will position them to succeed well beyond the current crisis.
Contactless payments, digital messaging, self-service check-in, and smartphone-activated room keys have been around for years. Consumer curiosity was there, and guests were open to trying what was made available. However, market demand to provide them was lacking before it suddenly skyrocketed in 2020 thanks to the pandemic.
Human-Focused Future for Hospitality
With its special blend of automation and personalization, contactless allows hotels to streamline activities, enabling them to concentrate where it matters most while serving guests.
The time intensive hotel functions like check-in, answering common questions about amenities, making reservations, are benefited from this automation, freeing up staff to focus on the tasks that really earn guests’ trust and appreciation, such as front desk, concierge, and other personal interactions. An additional benefit of this human-focused approach is providing communication and assistance for hotel staff, allowing them to complete their jobs safely during a moment of increased uncertainty.
The contactless is helping empower hotels to prioritize what’s genuinely urgent and relevant in a more complex, and more importantly, human way. Augmented by insights into guest behaviour, smart contactless tools help filter and prioritize response decision making, noting that “this form of phrase from a guest means this,” while “that form of phrase means that.” These forms of observations determine when to automate and when to behave with true warmth and treatment.
In an industry like hospitality where personal interactions is very important, The “contactless” concept may feel a little strange, and even uncomfortable for some in the hotel business. Contactless technology is not a replacement for human interaction. It’s an enhancement to our humanity.
Guests will always recall the service they received above all else. Contactless technology is not a challenge to personalized service, it’s an ally and an enhancement helping hotels to free up resources and concentrate on the things that really matter.
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