Today’s hotel guests have little in common with the guests of just a decade ago. Today’s travelers are digital natives with increased mobility thanks to their constant access to smartphones, tablets, and phablets. They are insta-travellers who want total control over their travel experience. Savvy hotel managers know that the best way to keep these travelers satisfied is by empowering them.
Technology offers incredible opportunity
Technology helps hotel managers to better understand the desires of guests and to quickly adjust so their guests can feel connected at all times. New IoT devices include sensors to allow for easy understanding of the ways and moves of guests while connected objects enable customers to take control of numerous parameters of their rooms. There are two roles of mobile apps in the hotel world: enriching the experience of guests before and during their hotel stay.
The role of mobile apps in the pre-stay experience
An effective app enhances the guests experience by empowering them with many options. A decade ago there was no question that superior service meant attentive, personal interaction with the hotel staff, but today’s guests want to decide when and how they’ll interact with the staff. For example, apps can give guests the option of bypassing the front desk and going straight to their room upon arrival. Consumers, by and large, prefer booking rooms online rather than over the phone. Likewise, they appreciate having control over self-service transactions during their hotel stay.
Generation Y and millennials prefer room service over waiting in line to interact with hotel staff, or even engaging in transactions over the phone. New empowerment options allow the hotel to rethink their public spaces and come up with new ways to attract millennials. Whether it’s new interior design innovations like digital art or interactive activities, hotels must be creative to get millennials excited about leaving their rooms.
The role of mobile apps in the hotel
Apps help provide a full personal experience, even in big groups with standards of service, but empowering guests isn’t the only reason for hotels to embrace these apps: they significantly streamline efficiency and boost revenue opportunities for the hotels. Hotels can offer promotions, upsell rooms, and even push discounts at their restaurant.
Will apps really play a long-term role in empowering guests?
At a minimum, a hotel experience must provide at least the same level of technology guests enjoy in their own homes. According to a 2015 survey by Hotel Management on behalf of Samsung Business, more than 20 percent of hotels have plans to integrate smart guest room features in the next 18 months. This includes lighting and drapery that adjusts automatically based on guests’ preferences. Hotels like the SLS Las Vegas offer smart televisions that allow guests to arrange for laundry pickup, interact with valet to have their car ready, and even check out of the hotel.
At the moment these changes apply only to private rooms, but how far will these evolutionary changes toward customization go? By adding digital screens within hotels, every public space could become both personal and intimate.
Challenges to empowering guests with apps
The main challenge lies in the fact that hotels must work to invite guests to discover the hotel world while also keeping them connected to their own world. It’s essential that hotels stick to a human experience and remember that empowering guests isn’t about replacing humans by robots and deleting human links within the hotel experience. It’s about giving the opportunity to the guest to feel at home and better enjoy the atmosphere of the hotel around them.
The return on investment of the technical improvements must be taken into account. The easier it is for guests to discover the services available in the hotel – and the easier it is to use them – the better the ROI will be. As guests become more autonomous, hoteliers can deploy personnel much more efficiently. The fewer interactions there are between guests and staff, the more attentive hotel employees can be to the tasks in front of them. This allows better customer focus with fewer workers on the job at any given time.
If hotel management stays aware of the human relationships challenge, this digital empowerment can be a true opportunity for the hospitality industry to better anticipate and meet the needs of every guest in their hotel.
Daylighted is a startup company located in San Francisco, CA, founded in 2013 by Alex Cammarano, Elisabeth Mouchy, and Alban Dumouilla. Daylighted provides a contemporary portfolio of thousands of images, videos and animated art. Daylighted plans to bring the artistic diaspora to even more spaces, beginning with high-end venues— because art should be everywhere.
Visit www.daylighted.com to browse collections, view featured artwork and to receive more information.