Technology Opportunities That Can Set Your Hotel Apart

By Court Williams Chief Executive Officer, HVS Executive Research | January 15, 2017

In some ways, running a successful hotel comes down to a proposition both simple and sometimes complex: delivering service that exceeds the expectations of your guests. You need to provide comfort and hospitality, but also something extra to set yourself apart from other properties. Without differentiating yourself in the market, you risk becoming just one of many hotel options, rather than the preferred choice for your market.

One valuable way to set yourself apart from your competition is through embracing technological opportunities available to hotels. If you leverage mobile technology, a wealth of options are emerging that can deliver new conveniences and services that enhance the guest experience. When you combine these options with a true commitment to providing excellent guest service, you gain new ways to emerge as the preferred property in your key markets.

Mobile Device Recognition

Check-in at the beginning of a hotel stay provides a critical moment for your guest experience. A busy counter can create frustration before someone even arrives at his or her room, setting the stage for a difficult stay that does not live up to the expectations your guest has. Trying to overcome this poor first impression creates a strain on your staff and a damaged reputation.

Mobile technology can allow your guests to bypass the traditional check-in process through their smartphones. Your property can be set up to recognize a phone's IP address when the guest arrives. The check-in can then be completed through your mobile app without any need to work through the front desk. With a few clicks, the guest can walk into your hotel and move straight ahead toward their room.

Far from a security nightmare, this process ensures that only your guest can check in. The IP recognition technology ties your guest to a unique identifier. And your hotel, operating on a secured connection limited to the property, can give your customers peace of mind in knowing that the data they send through this process goes only where it is supposed to go.

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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.