Intuitive Guest Service: A Whole New Level of Guest Expectation

By Scott Hale Chief Experience Officer, Brand New Stay | April 23, 2017

Hoteliers and their teams work tirelessly to exceed their guests’ expectations and dispel the assertion that there’s no place like home. The challenge remains that guest expectations proliferate daily. A warm welcome, clean room, and mint on the pillow no longer knock the socks off your guests. Even points rewards programs don’t do the trick.

While valuable to a good guest experience, these common acknowledgements are standard fare, predictable, and generic. Rather than standard, predictable and generic, your guests now demand experiences that are unique, unexpected, and engaging. How do you deliver the latter style of guest experience? With intuitive guest service.

As the introduction outlines, your guests customize almost everything about their world. Beyond their home, your guests’ smart phones and web browsers are programmed to share feeds and information prequalified as interesting. When buying a button-down shirt online, your guests have access to full-blown fabrication websites that deliver a completely customized product. Or, if they’d rather not be hassled with making their own shirt, they can subscribe to a service that offers up a stylist who ships hand-picked outfit options to their doorstep.

From online music streaming to meal delivery to pantry-stocking, a personalized solution is a click away. Given these marketplace and societal conditions, it’s only natural that guests would expect the same or better opportunity for customization when they’re rewarding themselves and their families with a vacation or navigating their next business trip. While snappy websites and booking engines can certainly help guests custom-craft a getaway, an experience is far more comprehensive to customize than a product. A product, like a mattress, dress shirt, or meal, can be built and delivered with little to no requirements after delivery. An experience is ongoing.

Think of it this way; if you purchase a product, your product-purchasing experience concludes at the delivery of the product. It’s the exact opposite for an overnight hotel experience. Your guests’ hotel stay experience actually begins at the same relative product delivery point - check-in. Rather than deliver your product to the guest who ordered it, you welcome your guest to experience the product that they ordered up – your hotel and the intuitive service that they expect to go with it.

While it may be a unique viewpoint, there are some tremendous opportunities that you and your team are afforded based on the attended experience of a hotel stay. Satisfaction and success rates would be off the charts if the shirt maker got the chance to hand deliver the shirt that their customer created and then review their work as the customer tried it on. If the shirt fits perfectly, then the shirt maker will be right there to accept and amplify customer praise. If the customer would like some additional alterations, by attending the experience, the shirt maker is able to acknowledge the needed adjustments and make them happen immediately. No phone calls, no forms to fill out, no rants on social media, just a real-time fix to make things right for the customer.

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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.