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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Coming up in February 2019...

Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.