Using Technology to Deliver a Personalized Experience

By Mike Benjamin Vice President Sales, Guestware | April 09, 2017

It is important to organize hotel data in such a way that easily displays detailed guest profile information such as past requests, incidents, revenue, stay nights and their personal preferences. Personalizing the guest experience in hotels has become much easier thanks to technology and software applications. What hotel staff does with this important information can shape the overall experience for a returning guest while building reliable, sustainable processes to capture and maintain meaningful guest service information for future stays and process improvement.

With the help of modern customer relationship management ( CRM ) solutions for the hotel industry, hoteliers can develop an actionable plan and routine for pre-arrival planning, servicing, and follow-up for their valued guests while establishing relationships with returning guests. This gives the hotel an opportunity to impress their guests with tailored services and create a solid, loyal customer for life.

Get to Know Your Guests Before They Arrive

By using a CRM solution that includes a Guest Recognition tool interfaced with the PMS, hotel staff can easily look up their guest profile data before they arrive. This gives staff the actionable information to know who their top guests are and how to proactively prepare for them. However, pre-arrival planning is easier said than done. Although this requires resources and time, an integrated guest recognition system automates laborious manual processes that prohibit many front office teams from doing the job well. With a seamless PMS and CRM integration, reservations can be organized by an accurate matching process that compares expected arrivals with past customers to identify each repeat guest while it also detects duplicates and questionable matches to make sure all of the repeat guests receive the special attention they deserve. The front desk can view the guest profile which holds previous requests, past experiences, and preferences to insure the guest is greeted with the proper room assignment and expected services delivered via associate facing mobile technology. When Guest Recognition is used in conjunction with a Rapid Response and Auto Dispatch tool, guest amenity requests are automatically dispatched to a runner upon check-in. Mobile device integration greatly speeds up the delivery of services. Tools like this are invaluable in environments where rapid attention is a preset expectation.

Allow Guests to Communicate From Their Mobile Devices

Since the advent of Smart phones, many hotel guests now wish to communicate their requests directly from their mobile device. Giving them the convenience and flexibility to chat before, during, or after their stay only strengthens their personalized experience. Endlessly ringing phones or being placed on hold can adversely affect a stay right from the start. Forward thinking solutions to engage with guests are necessary to compete in today’s market. However, advanced communication is just the beginning. With a modern form of correspondence in place, it is also important to remember to have a back-end CRM solution that not only records the data from the conversation for future review and analysis, but automatically dispatches the request to staff for fulfillment and links every interaction with the guest’s profile in the CRM. Automation of processes greatly increases the consistency proper service delivery while ultimately improving guest experiences.

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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.