Research companies endeavor to anticipate the trends that will dominate in the coming years. And one of the leading trends always turns out to be the concept of mobility – services that you can always have quite literally “on hand”. People use technology and mobile applications every day, demanding more and more and expecting constant companionship and support. So then, are hotels ready to welcome the modern guest?
The most technologically advanced hotels are located in the USA and Asia. Poland, however, is not behind the rest of the world in this respect, and it could even be said that we are a long way ahead of, for example, the Balkans, who live off the tourism industry. At the same time, we must admit that innovative solutions are only now becoming standard in our country. Thus, the race to offer innovative solutions is gaining momentum.
A WELL-TAILORED SYSTEM
The main drivers of these changes are the constantly growing needs of tourists. Innovative services are offered in answer to them, ones that enable the planning and execution of a trip – both leisure and business. More and better systems are being created in order to adapt to the expectations of travelers – from Customer Relationship Management to mobile apps that are connected to other hotel systems.
CRM systems allow you to gather specific information on the client, along with his individual preferences, and store the history of his trip. The information contained in them may include, among others: the organization of the trip, products ordered, check-in and check-out, as well as individual service or room setting preferences. In addition, hotels can exchange information, which leads to optimal customer service – this applies especially to associated and chain hotels.
Hotels today collect and process data on personal and business guest preferences. By using it, they can create an offer directed a specific individual, taking into account his needs. The details of his visit and purchased services will help create an ideal stay proposal in the future. The hotel can also intuitively anticipate the needs of its guests by creating products dedicated exclusively to them – before the guests even verbalize their own expectations. A well “tailored” system will also allow for the identification of a person, so that in the future he could be “recognized” upon entering the hotel or booking. Such a system can be found in Blow Up Hall 5050 in Poznań. What makes things even more intriguing is that everything in it is virtual – there is no receptionist and there are no room numbers. All the guest needs is his smartphone, which will lead him to the designated room.
WHAT CAN A MOBILE APPLICATION GIVE A HOTEL?
More and more hoteliers are embracing mobile applications and realizing that a hotel cannot function well without them. Their guests use them every day, and are an important part of doing everyday tasks. What can a mobile application give a hotel? A lot, but it all depends on how the application integrates with the other hotel systems. With it, a guest can book a room or order a meal; he can also book a ticket for a movie or a concert or read about the attractions available in the area. In this way, the application “goes out” with the guest and leads him to just where he wants to be, or where the hotel wants him to go.
An example of a mobile application is the online reservation system functioning in the Marriott hotel chain. It covers more than 3,500 hotels around the world, and allows guests to quickly find accommodation, regardless of their location, and book a room at any of the 19 hotel brands belonging to the network.
Now for a Polish example. Rosevia Friends & Family Resort guests can benefit from modern services thanks to the new application, from booking hammocks or tickets to artists’ shows, to ordering a personal chef, to ordering food and drinks to their current location. This is all thanks to the integration of the system with internal systems, such as PMS. In addition to providing intuitive guest service, mobile applications have another very important function: generating sales of hotel services and attractions through the appropriate communication of the hotel offer. The implemented system works on TV sets and the mobile devices available at the hotel (iPad Mini) and is available both to guests and hotel staff.
PURO Hotels can also boast modern guest service, as well as efficient hotel work time management. The application which was implemented in the hotel is installed on tablets found in the rooms and public areas. The application itself was designed to fully meet client expectations, in accordance with the guidelines of user experience specialists. The system was integrated with the internal hotel systems: the Protel PMS, responsible for the exchange information about the stay and the automatic charging of guests for reservations and services; a BMS based on WAGO and iQControls providing guests with the aility to fully control the room automation, e.g. temperature, lighting, window blinds; a CMS providing access to data on the hotel offer; Haefele Dialock, which provides the Digital Key function; and the self-check-in system Ariane, which allows guests to check-in quickly without queuing at the reception.
A relatively new trend, but one whose popularity with guests continues to increase, is the video advisory service. The fact that you can use the service at any time is a great advantage, and fast, easy and interactive contact greatly increases client satisfaction. iLumio Video Concierge, an application that enables easy communication via video, audio or chat can be the perfect solution for hotels.
The job of hotel concierge involves professionally helping guests and meeting their individual needs. However, such specially dedicated concierge services are an expensive luxury. So what, then, is a virtual concierge? Like its “older” colleague, it can provide information, schedule a tour, make restaurant reservations, order lunch to the room, inform the guest about the events taking place in the area, purchase tickets, and much more…but in an all new way: the concierge or receptionist will conduct a video call via secure mobile application. This simple and convenient form of communication allows the hotel to present the hotel offer on the screen and enables the two-way exchange of files. Thanks to the virtual concierge, the hotel staff is available at any time of day or night, both inside and outside the hotel.
In this era of new technologies, client expectations with regards to the standards offered by the tourism industry continue to grow. The term “comfort” has taken on a new meaning – it is no longer limited to luxury apartments or widescreen TVs, and these things are no longer enough to persuade a potential client, especially a business one, who is looking for added value. That’s why hotels are investing in new technologies, to make their offer stand out from the competition.
The article above originally appeared in the Hotelier magazine in Polish.
I.Goraj, Mobility – is the hotel industry ready for modern guests?, “Hotelier” 2016, No. 8, p. 58