What is a Virtual Concierge and How Can the Hotel Industry Benefit from it?

By Tom O'Rourke President & CEO, O'Rourke Hospitality | December 16, 2012

What is a virtual concierge?

A virtual concierge can exist in any virtual realm. Your hotel could chose to develop a virtual concierge within your mobile application, on your website or as part of your television. A virtual concierge serves guests in the same ways that a typical concierge would. Hotels that use a virtual concierge often have increased loyalty, reduced turnover and an increased ROI for the medium their concierge resides on.

Common Misconception

A common misconception is that a virtual concierge makes your on-property concierge less relevant. A virtual concierge doesn’t make your on-property concierge any less relevant because, although it can be used on-property, one of the biggest benefits is that it works for the guest before they even arrive at the property.

By utilizing a virtual concierge you allow your concierge to help guests more efficiently and more often because for simple problems they can now turn to their smart phone. A virtual concierge allows guests to make or change room reservations with ease by using the device they are already comfortable with. A virtual concierge allows guests to make and change spa and restaurant reservations 24/7; they will no longer have to call within a certain timeframe. For event planners and brides using the app, it can help with some of the stress of event planning. They can use the app to book blocks of rooms with their specific specifications or to submit a request for towels or room service once they arrive on property. A virtual concierge also allows guests to easily email the front desk or house keeping and also acts as a trip planner by showing guests where all of the local attractions are.

Functions and Features of a Virtual Concierge

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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.