11 Ways Your Hotel Experience Could Change Because of Mobile Technology

The future of the world traveler and hotelier

By Frank I. Wolfe CEO, Hospitality Financial & Technology Professionals | January 08, 2012

In such a short amount of time, mobile technology has changed the way that the world does just about everything. There's no doubt about it; smart mobile devices are dictating how we live our lives. With these mobile devices in our hands, and media and information up in The Cloud, there are limitless possibilities for access.

This is a game-changing development for the hospitality industry.

It is opening a variety of delivery mechanisms for personal guest services that are affordable, efficient and easy to use. Not only is it now easier to travel the world, it is also easier for hotels to operate and could change how guests interact with a hotel.

World traveling made easy thanks to my mobile devices

As CEO of Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP), a global professional association, I have first-hand experience as a world traveler. In fact, in the last six months, I have traveled to countries that speak Mandarin, German, French and Spanish. For the record, I only speak English with a smidgen of Spanish.

During these trips, I have used my mobile devices to communicate very effectively with taxi drivers, front desk personnel, housekeepers, concierge and food service staff using my translator on my mobile device.
I watched movies and television programs in English, read my local newspaper online, had the opportunity (through a hotel's French Facebook page) to join an "after work group" and even made dinner reservations in Chinese. In one country, my French speaking taxi driver got lost, and much to her relief, I had both a map "app" and the translator so we made it to the airport in plenty of time for my flight.

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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.