Once long ago, hotels, motels and other hospitality businesses occupied a fairly simple space in people’s lives—they were a place for guests to lay their heads away from home. But anyone who’s spent time in the hospitality industry in the last several years knows that the role of technology in hospitality businesses has drastically expanded. Also, nowadays it's not only about communicating with the guests; the hoteliers have to ‘connect’ with them and therein lies the charisma! So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room; how can a hotel achieve better bookings and hotel revenue?
Also, how a hotelier can engage their guests in a better way? How do you redefine their customer experience? How do you connect! The answer to all these questions can be encapsulated by exceeding their expectations and solving their real-time queries via voice and chat-based solutions. Make your hotel more relevant and anticipate their demands by providing them digital concierge service and also try to render hyper-personalized recommendations as per their preference and behavior. These are few points that cannot be ignored if you want to stay in the game. So, let’s see what are the emerging trends in the hospitality sector and why you need to make a note of it?
1.Catering to millennials
Millennials (those whose age lies in-between 18-34) are expected to represent 50% of all travelers to the USA by 2025, according to the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research. Companies need to define their strategies based on this demographic groups’ personality traits and habits—they travel a lot; are early adopters of technology; like personalized interactions and are spontaneous. Hotels will want to please them with easy check-in and gourmet dining experiences at reasonable prices. In return, satisfied millennials will actively promote their businesses on social media channels. Customers and millennial travelers are getting more mobile-oriented and are receiving better information than before, are increasingly able to get precisely what they want & when they want it, at the price they’re willing to pay. The main idea is not about pushing buttons; it’s about accessing any information in order to better experience your destination. A smart hotel is one that will be able to deliver you information about the location in which you’re staying in order to create an experience.
Millennial travelers love to stay online and connect with people, so one way to engage them is build a better website with amazing UI and UX. With a website, you can easily reach your guests via the website and also, you can tell them more about the upcoming features. Make the most of your website - give emphasis on the UI/UX, make your search option visible, and use vibrant colors to make your guests stay longer; use easy login features and provide custom-tailored suggestions to your guests on your website to redefine the guest experience. These days several companies are integrating chatbots to talk to their customers and make their business available 24*7.
Additionally, you can try to build a responsive website that looks proper and decent on mobiles so that who are present there can know more about your hotel. Also, implement a proper and catchy CTA (Call to Action) button so that whoever is visiting your website can perform some action (maybe inquiry or book a room!). A responsive website can help you to increase your revenue by making the visitors stay longer on your website; longer the stay, better the chance of conversion, right? Try to utilize breadcrumbs so the visitor can navigate easily on your website and can explore different sections too without wasting time and energy.
The hospitality industry is adapting numerous technology trends to survive in the long run because they know that if they can’t they will lose. Keeping the point in mind, many hotels giants like Marriott Hotels have introduced the first ever in-room virtual reality travel experience. The best part of utilizing VR in your services is that the guest won’t have to leave their rooms in order to experience your hotel and its amenities. They can chill inside their room and with the help of VR they can see the entire hotel in a glance.
According to the prestigious website- Hotel.com by the year 2060, international travelers will be able to expect augmented reality, artificial intelligence, morphing beds, robotics, touchscreen technology on basically everything, hyper connectivity, and more and to stay ahead of the curve, all the hoteliers must adapt to these. A hotel can also incorporate:
- Sensors attuned to guests
- Room keys that use facial recognition
- A television that talks back Touch screen surfaces everywhere
- Bathrooms that have smart toilets and mirrors that stream real-time television content
- Wireless temperature controls that are able to automatically adjust
3. Automating services
Self-serve is in. Today, many guests prefer technology over human interaction for simple tasks. Remote check-in and check-out options are becoming popular, and some hotels are beginning to work with apps that let guests order room service right from their mobile devices. There’s a whole range of basic guest requests that can be automated with the right technology, which frees hotel staff up for other activities that enhance the guest experience. And the trend is only going to accelerate.
Similarly, voice and chat-based solutions are becoming a crucial ingredient in the recipe of success for the hospitality industry. This service is really important when it comes to redefine your customer experience because the voice-based solutions give your customers hyper-personalized recommendations based on their behaviour and preferences. With the help of voice-based service, you can engage your customers by solving real-time queries and providing concierge services; e.g. if your customer wants a fresh blankets, they can communicate over an IoT device and get the thing done; it’s that easy!
Devices like Amazon Alexa can render hyper-personalized solutions and it can also act as your digital concierge service. The query will directly go to the concerned department without the involvement of hotel staff members. Amazon Alexa has the potential to upsell and cross-sell your other services like- spa or cafe. All these will increase your ‘happy customers’ count and they will always come back to you for the best service; so, there is no option left! The hoteliers have to be automation-astute otherwise they are out of the league!
4. Let’s go Mobile!
Near Field Communication is an important part of being mobile. This allows a guest to connect remotely with your services and they won’t have to leave their room, ever! They can receive weather and traffic updates as well as a guest can also stay up-to-date on all the nearby local attractions. NFC has been here for over a decade now. But what is NFC? NFC enables seamless transmission of data from compatible devices over a short range with the help of radio waves. It is widely used commonly for payments, sharing media files, or any other form of data by a single tap.
All that’s required is this little device we know as smartphones that enable NFC. So how can NFC work for a hotel? Well to begin with, NFC can reduce the load of work at the front desk by enabling faster check-ins and check-outs. Moreover, it provides the function of making secure payments and shields against theft or loss. As discussed earlier, digitized room keys can be shared over this technology ensuring safety and misplacement of keys.
Once upon a time, people used their room phones. However, the pervasiveness of mobile devices has relegated the conventional room phone to a vastly reduced role. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a role moving forward. The room phone of the future may serve as a hub for a larger connected experience. Imagine a guest arrives at your hotel and pairs his mobile device to his room phone. Now he can use his mobile to control the TV and the sound system, perhaps even the blinds. He can use it to request a wake up call if he finds himself out late. You can let him know that his dry cleaning is ready, even if he’s across town at a meeting. And if he needs to take his call from your lobby into a cab so he doesn’t miss a meeting—the handoff from Wifi to 4G is seamless.
5. Welcome chatbots to your niche
Let’s start with food! A Chatbot can be utilized in a hotel to order food directly to the guests’ room. But using a chatbot for room service meal orders is much more efficient than having a guest calling the kitchen. Chatbots can provide photos of the menus, enabling guests to click and instantly order. With proper integration into the hotel’s system, a chatbot can provide the guest updates on how long the wait will be before meal arrives and what the total of the order was. A guest can also demand a fresh set of towels or blanket over chatbots, the query will travel to the respective department and without any hassle, the guest will get what he/she needs or demands at the instant.
Chatbots are too efficient as they can easily cross-sell or upsell your services! For example, a guest arrives at your hotel after a long journey in flight, here, the chatbot can send recommendations to the guest about your cafe or spa and can easily indulge or entice them with offers and discounts. Because chatbots are powered by machine learning algorithms that optimize and personalize messages accordingly as they converse, the customer interaction is found to be helpful and informative, leading to up-sell and cross-sell conversion, rather than plain touting.
One of the best advantages of using a chatbot for real-time conversation is that it cuts the clutter of language as a barrier! Let’s take a scenario where a foreigner comes to your hotel and starts conversing with the front-desk but the receptionist is unaware of the language and communication-gap arises! For obvious reasons this is not good for your brand, so what you can do is - have a chatbot on your website and the guest can talk with the bot! Since, the bot is not human and is built on NLP, it can understand any language without breaking a sweat. Now language is not a barrier; it’s just another mode of conversation.
So, now you know what you have to do! Trilyo thrives to redefine your customer experience by rendering the best guest engagement solutions and by improving your already set norms of brand relevance. Go for a free trial to explore the magic of the voice and chat-based solutions for your business and know how can it make your guests ‘HAPPIER’.