The Top 2018 Mobile Technology Predictions for Hotels

By Michael Schubach Strategic Deployments / Program Management Director, Infor Hospitality | January 28, 2018

There is no question that the digital revolution is here. All you have to do is look up from your phone and observe the rest of the world connected to their mobile devices with any information you want in the palm of your hand. In the hotel and hospitality industry, we have been monitoring this consumer shift carefully. While traditional practices continue to change, the core of the hospitality business is still intact: the importance of the guest experience. Therefore, adapting to this new digital frontier lies in altering the hotel industry’s expectations of what the guest experience entails while working to create more ways to meet consumers where they are.

The most obvious shift in how we conduct business, of course, can be seen in the dwindling numbers of our face-to-face interactions. The mobile universe has all but eliminated the need for some of the hotelier’s more traditional guest touch points. These touch points are now being replaced with automated processes that are custom-tailored to the wants and needs of each guest. Even age-old practices like wake-up calls are a thing of the past.

Despite these changes, it is important to remember that we are also in a time of great potential – one that will undoubtedly lead to increased satisfaction in the guest experience. The technological revolution has opened new modes of guest interaction, including more guest exchanges that can be driven by new, data-centric loyalty strategies. This potential can be extended with a solid mobile plan, which can further solidify client connection in an era where people are more loyal to their search engines than they are their brands. By putting the needs of the guest first, adapting to a technology-first approach is a no-brainer.

So, what can guests, staff, executives and others in the industry expect the digital revolution to deliver in 2018? And, most importantly, what can we do to keep pace while never betraying the customer experience?

More “Frictionless” Millennials

Millennials, who brought on the mobile revolution, are expected to make up 75 percent of hotel guests by 2020. Millennials grew up with mobile technology—they are used to having everything at their fingertips. These frictionless consumers are continuing to change the culture of the guest experience, and that goes far beyond hotel reservations.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.