The hotel industry is incredibly competitive. Brands constantly fight to lure reliable business travelers who want the comforts of home when they’re on the road, along with family travelers who want enjoyable vacations. Most cities and even small to mid-size towns have a variety of hotels to choose from. Large chains compete with small boutique hotels, bed and breakfasts, and even Airbnbs.
As a whole, hotels are scrambling to improve the guest experience to keep people coming back.
Thankfully, there are some great technology tools you can leverage to improve the guest experience no matter your hotel size or style. Here are a few ways hotels can innovate to cater to their valued guests.
Share Important Updates On Video Walls
Some hotels share important updates with guests in the elevator and other common areas. A member of staff might print out that day’s weather report or share traffic updates if there is a major holiday or festival in town. In 2018, there’s an easier way to do this. Through digital video walls, you can share a variety of engaging information with visitors and help the overall guest experience.
Video walls are a set of TVs placed together to make one image or multiple small images. They can be as simple as four TVs placed together or take up a complete actual wall.
A few hotels are getting creative with what they share on the video wall. They update guests with live local weather radar, show photos of restaurant menu items and specials offered downstairs or for room service, and promote discounts at local attractions. The video wall becomes a resource for visitors to learn what to do and eat during their time in the city. When in doubt, these guests can ask questions to the concierge or at reception.
Expedite the Check-In Process
The internet makes it easier to do a variety of tasks, from checking into airlines to renting cars. However, hospitality industry leaders are noticing that the hotel industry is surprisingly analog compared to other elements of the business trip or personal vacation. Fortunately, this is starting to change.
Member of Hilton Honors in the UK are some of the first hotel guests to check in to their hotel room like they would an airline. They check in through a smartphone, make sure their information is correct, select a room (just like selecting a seat on an airplane), and then use their smartphone to access their rooms when they arrive. There’s no need to wait at a check-in desk and hold on to a plastic room key throughout the visit.
The act of digital check-in streamlines the guest experience and helps those who just want to go right to their rooms. It also gives travelers more power to pick the rooms they want. Technology also makes hotel staff more effective.
Without having to check in as many people, front desk professionals can provide better service to guests, give them recommendations, and help them with any problems they might have.
Offer All Guests Free WiFi Throughout the Hotel
Some hotels still charge guests for WiFi or pretend to offer free WiFi as a perk for guests. The reality is that most guests expect free WiFi and they expect it to be fast and reliable.
In fact, 70% of guests rate free WiFi as a higher priority than a hotel’s location, parking, or breakfast. It came second only to cost in the priorities of travelers.
If you expect your guests to pay for WiFi, even if you’re only charging a small free, then you can expect a dip in bookings to your location. What is the bigger loss to your brand: a $5/night WiFi fee or a $150/night room booking.
Your free WiFi also needs to be able to handle any conference or major event that your hotel hosts.
There are horror stories of conference attendees not being able to access the WiFi in the various hotel ballrooms, or presenters fighting to get on the WiFi to share their information because the bandwidth can’t accommodate so many people. Make sure your bandwidth can handle all of the data your guests need.
Solicit Feedback From Guests
Hotels that really care about guest experiences solicit feedback from guests and apply what their visitors say. Modern survey tools have moved beyond suggestion boxes stuck in the corner and stuffed with paper responses. Most hotels use their WiFi, apps, and websites to push survey questions and seek responses from customers. In fact, collecting survey responses is as easy as sending out emails to guests after they check out.
Digital survey tools make it easy to aggregate data. You can track trends in customer responses to prioritize certain topics or make a note if customer ratings are decreasing or increasing because of changes you make.
These digital questionnaires are also likely to collect larger sample sizes than paper suggestions in the corner, ensuring your data is valid and relevant.
Update the Soundscape Through Your Hotel
Your guests take in your hotel through their five senses. They notice how the air feels when they step outside, make note of various smells and tastes that greet them in the walkway, and listen to understand what kind of environment they are staying in.
As a hotel operator, you can take steps to make sure the auditory experience is pleasant for your hotel guests.
Most hotels choose overhead music that matches their brand vision. Modern hotels might choose fast-paced, pumping music, while resorts focus on soothing sounds to relax guests immediately. You can choose a soundtrack based on the time of day, events held at the hotel, and even for the holiday season if you want to with the right overhead music.
Learn How to Improve the Guest Experience
Technology is just the tip of the iceberg for improving guest experiences. There are multiple ways hotel owners can play to the five senses of their customers and create an environment that draws them in and encourages them to return.
For more ideas about how to improve your hotel guest experience, check out our post: 5 Small Changes That Will Greatly Improve Your Hotel Lobby.