As a tech-savvy generation seizes the opportunity to travel once again for both work and leisure, hoteliers are recognising the role technology can play in delivering a seamless guest experience.
The pandemic fast-tracked the use of contactless technology such as QR codes and mobile ordering; and while self-service technology is now commonplace in supermarkets and airports, it has yet to be widely embraced by the hospitality industry – much to the disappointment of guests.
According to a recent survey by Oracle Hospitality, 73% of guests are more likely to stay at a hotel offering self-service technology, with 38% calling for a fully self-service model.
When well executed, self-service technology can offer guests greater convenience, flexibility and time savings. The latter being of paramount importance to guests, particularly busy corporate travellers, who do not wish to spend time waiting around for service.
Having to queue at the check-in desk can have a significant negative impact on the guest experience. According to a Cornell University study, US guests hit ‘breaking point’ at a five-minute wait time. When required to wait any longer than that, guest satisfaction drops by 47%.
By communicating with guests digitally ahead of their stay, hotels can speed up the check-in experience – just like airlines do – by offering an online registration form to collect important details such as identification and payment.
On arrival, physical check-in is then quick and simple with staff on hand to ensure a warm welcome is extended.
The addition of self-service technologies such as check-in kiosks and key dispensers can streamline the process further, allowing guests to access their room keys quickly and efficiently to maximise their time on site.
Brendon Granger from Technology 4 Hotels says even small steps to embrace digital can have a big impact.
“Many General Managers believe that they need to invest in a 100% contactless check-in experience – from pre-arrival, to opening the door to arriving to the room – to see the benefits of a contactless check-in experience,” said Granger.
“However, what we’ve found is that simply by implementing pre-arrival check-in as the only contactless part of the check-in experience, hotels can deliver an exceptional overall check-in experience in next to no time, with no capital outlay; with close to all the advantages of a larger technology investment.”
Beyond offering digital or self-service check-in, there are many other ways that technology can be used to level up your guest experience.