As Hotel Brands Go Digital, Asset Management Must Not be Overlooked

By Paul Lachance President, Smartware Group Inc. | May 14, 2017

Hotel executives are starting to catch on to digital technology as they strive for better customer experiences across the board. With powerhouses like Hilton and Marriott (1) leading the charge, competitive hotel brands are raising the standard for guest experiences in the digital age.

A recent study by Hospitality Technology (2) found 57 percent of hotels plan to spend more on technology across the board in 2017 than they did in 2016. And while improving customer engagement and enhancing payment and data security stood out as the top priorities for many hospitality industry decision-makers, it appears far fewer are considering a critical investment: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

Cloud-based EAM technology empowers hotel staff to better understand the real-time maintenance needs of their business. With rising operating and property management costs, the hospitality industry must stay abreast of the latest in EAM technology.

Avoid Potential Catastrophes That Can Inconvenience Guests

There's a lot that goes into creating a positive, hospitable stay for guests, but even one complication can ruin the experience. Heating and cooling failures, electrical outages, alarm system errors and more are a pain to deal with in the first place, but can have major consequences when they occur while paying guests are present.

These unplanned catastrophes are not only expensive to address on their own, but can require reimbursement for unhappy guests and lost revenue from cancellations. Additionally, a bad experience (like a blaring alarm in the middle of the night or a power failure) can permanently scar a hotel's reputation, scaring patrons away from making future reservations and earning negative reviews online. Clearly, a simple problem that goes unaddressed can quickly become a hospitality nightmare for guests and employees alike.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.