For decades, hotel’s have been increasingly leveraging technology to delight their guests and improve operational performance. Today, technology is fundamental to departments across the hotel, whether it’s for recruiting, inventory, accounting, food and beverage, or property management. And in the last several years this trend accelerated as cloud and SaaS technologies made technologies even easier to use and adopt. Then came 2020. And a whole new hospitality normal has led to a rapid transition in hotel technologies, with these solutions, including contactless technologies, becoming essential for hoteliers.
While finding the right hotel technology for your needs is the first step, it’s important to also include – from the beginning – considerations for ensuring adoption of the technology by those who will ultimately be using it. To get you started, here are 8 ideas for helping guests and staff digitally adopt your new technology.
1. Include employees from the beginning
For any new technology to deliver value to your hotel, it should provide measurable benefits to your staff and operations, have a plan for integration into workflows, and have buy-in from employees. The best way to achieve this value is to involve employees from the beginning.
Ask your staff who wants to be involved in digitization projects and create a small team to help validate and plan technology implementations. This will ensure that not only will the technology benefit staff and guests, but also that you’ll have champions for the technology on staff to help drive adoption across the organization.
2. Make a transition plan
You don’t want staff to walk in one-day to find that all of a sudden systems have changed. Technology adoption requires time for everyone involved to understand how to fit it into their ways of working and then to become proficient in using it.
Your transition plan needs to outline how you will migrate data and workflows to the new technology. Then you will need to plan for training sessions to get staff ready for the transition, as well as beta tests or technology milestones that validate that the technology is working as anticipated. And if you are doing a phased rollout, be sure to determine and articulate when that process will be complete and all staff have to move to the new technology.
3. Tell your staff and guest how the technology will benefit them
When it comes to technology adoption, it is common for there to be initial resistance from end users. In the case of hotel tech, this resistance may mean guests are unsure how to leverage the technology to enhance their guest experience, or staff worrying that new automated systems could replace their jobs. It’s important to tackle these anxieties head on and describe the ways the technology helps them have a superlative stay and to do their jobs better, easier, and faster.
You need to make the case for new technologies. For example, for contactless technology such as digital keys, it’s important to describe how it streamlines hotel operations, enabling smaller teams to manage more tasks, and opens up another marketing channel for the organization through app downloads – all while providing guests a simple, secure, and contact-free entry method.
4. Provide training that meets your staff where they are
Your staff will have different roles and responsibilities, different familiarity and interest in new technologies, and different preferred methods of learning. Just doing one style of training may not be enough to successfully onboard everyone. For instance, staff members who are less familiar with your existing hotel tech may require multiple sessions to become comfortable with new technologies.
Start by asking your team members what kind of training they prefer and help them learn best. You might find that an in-person training combined with on-demand video training resources meets their needs. Or that leveraging staff members who have worked with and are expert in the technology to train other staff members one-on-one is best. Typically, a mix of training types needs to be used to set your staff up for success.
5. Always ask for feedback
Feedback from both guests and staff will inform you as to how a technology implementation is going. It’s always possible that your rollout plan overlooked a small point here or there, so continuously reviewing and integrating feedback can help you catch those issues.
By incorporating feedback into your technology implementation, you can adjust and improve the process in real-time. This also helps make your staff and guests feel like they are part of the process and that their thoughts and opinions are being heard. And both of these consequences of asking for feedback lead to an increase in adoption of the technology.
6. Celebrate quick wins
As staff and guests start using the new technology and you complete adoption milestones and start to realize benefits, celebrate those victories! Take the time to recognize the first guest using mobile check in, or the first day that every guest used digital keys, or when everyone on staff has sent one message on the new communication system. Celebrating these achievements acknowledges how hard everyone has worked to get to that point and encourages staff to continue on their path to successful technology adoption.
7. Make trainings available over time
Training, or really any type of learning, is not completed in a single event. This is especially true with new technologies. You need to progressively learn more features and continually practice using it in real scenarios to become confident in a new solution. In addition, your staff will learn and adopt new technologies at different rates and there will always be new employees that need to be onboarded as well. For these reasons, plan to have trainings – particularly self-service trainings – available for an extended period of time, even after the launch of your new technology.
8. Help your staff help your guests adopt new technologies
No matter their role, whether they work at the front desk or in housekeeping, it’s a good idea to equip your staff to help guests with guest-facing technologies. This can be as simple as having staff use tech such as your mobile check-in, digital keys, and guest messaging. When they become familiar with this user experience, they will see firsthand what the guests see as they learn how to navigate the tech and can better help with troubleshooting. For even better customer service, you can introduce guest technology troubleshooting during training, having staff role-play educating guests on the new technology.
Also consider when and how to educate guests about new technologies. When is the technology most helpful to the guest during their visit? What is the best way to communicate with them about the benefits of the technology? For example, an email to guests about mobile check-in and digital keys before they arrive is ideal, but you might also consider helpful signage in the lobby regarding contactless check-in. Other technologies like food and beverage ordering systems will also benefit from well-timed reminders to guests, such as a guest text message in the early evening or an email the first day in their stay.
Ready to get started with Digital Keys? OpenKey is the leading provider of complete digital key solutions. Schedule a demo to see how easy it is to adopt Digital Keys and realize the benefits for your hotel guests and staff.