Over the past decade, there have been significant strides in personal and commercial technologies, and especially in mobile technology. During that time, the hospitality industry has grown and evolved to deliver more convenience and enhanced services to guests – all powered by technology. The industry has also seen various trends come and go. How can hoteliers and hotel brands determine which areas to prioritize? What’s a passing trend, and what is a lasting investment that will provide real ROI over the long term?
It all comes down to customer service and the guest experience. Hotel brands nurture the most loyalty by consistently delighting their guests. Instead of shopping for just any hotel for their next trip, guests begin looking for the brands that they know and trust. Likewise, guests returning to a specific destination will continue to book stays at the same hotel instead of looking for other accommodations. Hospitality technology can help hotels deliver this kind of experience through improved consistency, efficiency, and guest convenience.
Hospitality technology improves the guest experience
Recent hospitality industry data indicates that hotels that implemented new hospitality technologies experienced a 71% reduction in guest complaints. Considering that, according to Hotel Tech Report 48% of guests who have a bad experience in a hotel are likely to leave a negative review, reducing complaints could significantly improve online reviews – which, in turn, can have a positive impact on occupancy rates and the bottom line.
Finances Online reports that hospitality technology has increased hotel customer service ratings by about 19%. These are especially compelling statistics for hotels looking to attract new guests. Improving online reviews and ratings is crucial to this effort, as an estimated 81% of travelers “always or often” use these reviews to make decisions about where they’ll book their stays.
Fighting staffing challenges with technology
Hotels throughout the United States and around the world are struggling to attract and retain quality staff. In 2022, eHotelier reported a staggering 78.3% employee turnover rate for the hospitality industry. In addition to this, there is also the cost of hiring and onboarding new staff members (as much as $18,000 per employee, according to Forbes). The result of this harsh reality? Hoteliers must find effective ways to reduce staffing needs while retaining existing staff members.
Hotels can relieve front desk staff by adopting hospitality technology. Digital Key and Contactless check-in can eliminate the need for front desk staff, freeing them up to concentrate on other tasks. The automation of guest requests through SMS and chat capabilities can also release concierge and operations staff from their duties. Automated room service delivery can decrease the need for housekeeping and operational staff to deliver food and amenities to guests’ rooms. This is why hotel owners should choose technologies that will help cut back on staffing needs.
Reducing overhead with smart hotel technology
Along with increasing revenue by attracting more guests, hospitality technology can also improve the bottom line by reducing operational costs. Consider how much of the budget goes to climate control in guest rooms. Rooms are generally kept at a base temperature when empty. When guests arrive, they set the A/C or heat to their preferred temperature – and they likely keep it at that setting whether they are in the room or not.
Smart thermostats can sense when rooms are occupied and save energy by keeping room temperatures at the most efficient settings. Smart lighting systems will shut off when rooms are unoccupied, and smart water heaters can produce hot water for showers and baths instantly instead of preheating and storing water.
Protecting your bottom line with automation
Repetitive tasks sap employees’ time, taking them away from higher-ROI tasks. Too many hotels are still relying on manual processes for staff scheduling and time clocks, housekeeping schedules, and day-to-day operations. These procedures can be a drain on both time and revenue. Integrating automation capabilities with the PMS is a fantastic way to streamline workflows and do more with fewer employees. The more you can automate the hotel’s operations, the more you can reduce overhead, increase efficiency, and keep staff focused on delighting guests.
Choosing the best hotel technology investment
Prioritize technology that enables contactless experiences. According to Forbes, 73% of guests are more likely to choose a hotel that offers “self-service technology to minimize the need for contact with staff and other guests.” In today’s post-COVID world, guests are more aware and appreciative of health and safety measures, but these are not the only benefits of contactless hospitality technology. Mobile check-in capabilities enhance convenience while cutting down on touchpoints. Likewise, SMS and Chat-based guest messaging platforms give guests the option to communicate with the front desk via text instead of by phone call or in person.
Reducing contact points, when done correctly, can improve the guest experience while reducing overhead. Mobile check-in and Digital Keys give guests instant access to their rooms without stopping by the front desk. With this capability, you simultaneously remove a barrier for your guests while reducing demand on front desk staff. Enabling guests to send texts instead of calling the front desk eliminates hold times without increasing staffing needs. Integrate a text-based platform with your PMS, and you can streamline operations for faster request fulfillment with fewer employees.
Maximizing the guest experience with technology investments
According to PwC, 81% of travelers want to see greater digital customer service from hotel brands. Investing in hospitality technology now is a clear win for hotels in 2023 and beyond. But you don’t have to upgrade every system in your hotel at once. Begin with one tech investment that will measurably improve the guest experience while enhancing staff efficiency. You might, for example, integrate Digital Key technology at some hotel locations. Track key metrics, such as front desk traffic and reduction in material costs (e.g., eliminating key cards also eliminates the need to purchase physical keys). You can then reallocate part of your budget to make further upgrades to enhance the guest experience and improve your bottom line.
In 2014, OpenKey set out to perfect mobile access. Since then, the OpenKey team has helped hotels and resorts around the world develop a guest experience they can enjoy as much as their guests do. We work with existing platforms to advance your property into an exciting new era of customer engagement. Our dedicated staff provides a seamless transition to keyless entry, remote check-in, hotel-specific apps, and much more, all tailored to your property and your guests. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. For more information, please visit www.openkey.co.