[R]Evolution of Customer Service for Hotel Software Products

By Paul van Meerendonk Director of Advisory Services, IDeaS Revenue Solutions | April 26, 2015

Hotels increasingly rely on Software as a Service (SaaS) products as their primary technologies for running operations, sales and catering, and revenue management functions. This reliance on industry-specific software solutions has given rise to a new set of concerns, specifically around how to retain hospitality talent in the face of high turnover rates. How do hotels ensure the sustainability of the business know-how and processes built around their software? More importantly, how do they ensure business continuity and brand consistency for key system users such as revenue managers?

SaaS products drive hotel performance by both providing a technology platform for completing routine tasks more effectively and helping team members rethink how to perform those tasks. When it comes to software solutions, however, technology deployment is just the beginning.

New learning technologies available with hotel software products are reshaping how SaaS providers think of Customer Service and address business continuity challenges at their source: by providing what experts call “on-demand performance support.”

Today we’re talking with Greg Moore, Senior Learning Experience Developer here at IDeaS, on how the evolution of learning technologies embedded in software has spurned a “revolution” in how these systems can drive performance and transform hotel businesses. Greg, has over 10 years of experience in the design and development of learning solutions for Fortune 100 companies.

PvM: Greg, can you help us understand some of the new software learning technologies and why they are important for hoteliers today?

GM: I hear many buzz words working within the hotel industry, and most often the overarching theme is outstanding guest service. Most hotels excel at using customer relationship management (CRM) and engagement technologies to achieve outstanding guest experiences, which in turn increases revenue. The enterprise training technologies work in a similar way, but they focus on engaging a hotel’s human element. These ground-breaking learning methodologies provide hotels a return on their software investment by ensuring users effectively interact with the systems and execute the business rules despite the high turnover environment and formal training gaps. This is where “on-demand performance support” and “situational learning” come in to play.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.