Customer experience for hotels: Combining technology and human touch
Over the past few years, the hotel industry has been the witness of a digital revolution. With one hotel solution after another enhancing the market. This has a strong impact on the customer experience. Some see this as an opportunity to increase their appeal. But others take a more skeptical view of hotel software. They instead fight to maintain a more traditional system where human relations take priority. So, how can you combine the two in order to meet your guests’ needs and offer them a personalised customer experience?
What does the customer experience look like today?
The customer experience mirrors consumption habits; that is to say, it is increasingly impacted by digitization and all of the tools and innovations it encompasses. From having a tablet in the hotel room to using a conversational platform, there are various opportunities available for hotels seeking to attract a more “connected” clientele. Hotels are prepared to invest large sums here, because they are all aware that a successful guest experience will have positive consequences for their reputation and for guest loyalty.
Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study shows primarily that 41% of guests would like to have their room key available on their phone, while 35% of hotels are able to provide this service (1). This gap is certainly narrowing, but lots of hotels are still hesitant to take the first step towards this.
Guests want to have several options when it comes to personalising their experience. They want to experience the human relationship that lies behind the product or technology. Indeed, a study conducted by Voxpro found that 68% of guests say that they have not yet communicated with a brand via a chatbot (2). Therefore, just as eCommerce businesses for example, hotels have to pay attention to customer experience management.
So, then, what do guests want? Do we simply have two groups? Millennials in search of the ultimate digital experience, and others who are more sensitive to the human touch? Let’s now examine the subject of the guest experience and how a hotel solutions can help.
Customer experience and technology: hotel solutions
From this point, it’s important to understand how technology can have a positive impact on the guest experience and how it can make hotel owners’ lives easier.
In a world where communication is becoming increasingly digitised, the hotel industry is no exception. Indeed, thanks to intelligent interaction at every stage of the guest journey, technology can enhance the guest experience significantly:
- Prior to arrival with an email containing information about the hotel, the possibility of pre-check-in or add-on products or services.
- During the stay via a WiFi- or QR code-enabled questionnaire which gives you the chance to assess the guest’s satisfaction level. But also to anticipate any potential problems.
- After the stay, by inviting the guest to write a review and then by continuing the conversation over a longer period to enhance loyalty.
A hotel software is therefore key for a successful customer experience management. It can optimise the guest experience in these precise cases along the guest journey. And a digital hotel solution can also make general operations easier for hotel owners.
Improved operations management
For hotel owners, being able to offer a better guest experience is made possible by streamlining operations. As a result, digitisation needs to help you to proceed in ways that are simpler and quicker. IBEs, PMS and other forms of channel manager are vital hotel solutions that allow you and your employees to work more efficiently.
The feedback you collect also offers a precise indication of your guests’ satisfaction level. However, it can still sometimes be difficult to judge how your guests are feeling at every moment. Thus, if you use hotel software to automate feedback collection at all times. You can constantly get a precise idea of the experience being had by your guests. Discover how to find out if your guests are happy during their stay in this article.
If this weren’t possible, it would take far longer to manage requests, complaints and other demands. Just imagine. You have to ask all of the employees in order to find out if they have been in touch with the guests. Then, make a note of any problems to resolve. The information would then have to be transferred to the relevant department. And then follow up to ensure that the appropriate measures were taken.
We’re not saying that a hotel’s employees are unable to respond to guests’ demands. We’re saying that, by finding a balance between using technology to collect feedback and showing a human touch in the management of requests, you will be sure to offer an outstanding guest experience.
Finding a balance between technology and human touch
We could sum this final section up as what customers want. Although, as we’ve seen, new technology forms an integral part of the customer experience management, human relations are still at the very heart of the hotel industry. A study conducted by Accenture shows that 77% of guests want to have human interaction when they’re looking for advice and tips (3).
How to find the right combination
The key is to equip yourself with the right hotel solution. Tools which, on the one hand, facilitate your teams’ work and, on the other, make the guest experience management more easy and the individual experience more pleasant.
Here are some examples:
- Giving out and gathering information by email prior to the stay. This will allow the receptionist to better prepare for the guest’s arrival and whole stay.
- Sending a pre-check-in form to make the experience at reception more pleasant. For instance with an emphasis on guest relations and not simply administrative formalities.
- Gathering information that is relevant to the guest to allow the staff to add an authentic, personal touch.
- Sending a pre-check-out form to allow guests in a hurry to save time. Therefore reduce the amount of avoidable and repetitive tasks that the reception staff might have to do.
- Centralising guest reviews from different portals to save time and allow yourself the time to respond to them (in a human, personalised manner).
These examples demonstrate how technology and a human touch can complement each other well. Thus, they are the result of a successful customer experience management. You need to implement a strategy that’s appropriate to your establishment with regard to use of a hotel software and make sure that your staff focus on what they do best. For more tips on how to develop better relationships with your guests with hotel software, click here.
In other words, adding authenticity to the customer experience. The receptionists and restaurant staff aren’t salespeople, but ambassadors for your hotel. The guest experience and technology need to remain intrinsically linked. All while keeping in mind the traditional aspect of the service. Technology should allow you to meet guests’ expectations. So that you can create personalised experiences where the guest doesn’t need to make a constant effort to find a solution to their request or need. This is where our hotel software comes in.
The impact of Customer Alliance on your Customer Experience
The Customer Alliance solution over 7000 independent hotels and chains to enhance their customer experience. Don’t miss out! Request a demonstration to find out more about the different ways to improve the guest experience, satisfaction and operations.
- Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study
- Forbes: How To Get The Human Touch And Technology Balance Right In Customer Experience (2018)
- Global Consumer Pulse Research by Accenture (2016)