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 June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.