Redefining Service in A Mobilized World

By Sridhar Laveti Vice President of R&D & Global Customer Support, Agilysys | January 20, 2019

In an age when most desire individualized service that is built on personal recognition and preferences, mobile technology enables a culture of personalization. One of mobility's most powerful attributes is that it gives staff portable access to guest profiles, preferences, their stay history and consumption patterns. Using profile data, and tailoring service to guest preferences, hoteliers resonate with an emerging population that may well determine their future.

Integrated Mobile Bookings

Booking a room online is nothing new, but as people change the way they use technology, it is expected that the mobile reservation experience be not only easy, but enjoyable. Surprisingly, some booking technologies are less ideal options as they do not integrate with property management systems. This often creates a mountain of manual data entry labor for staff. Although more guests are making reservations using their mobile devices, without PMS (Property Management System) integration it can be an unwieldy booking experience. Mobile reservations are becoming more seamless, regardless of the device - smartphone or tablet. The resulting profile data must also integrate with the property's hotel management software. This integration creates a seamless and convenient experience for guests and staff alike. Not to mention it can save tons of data entry labor hours and potential data errors. Hoteliers who are the quickest to adapt an integrated booking experience stand to benefit the most.

When booking a stay, the technology can be configured to encourage restaurant reservations as well. It's one of the best attributes of seamless, mobile interaction that affects upsell revenue even before the guest has arrived on property.

Mobile Facial Recognition

What was once considered science-fiction is available today on almost everyone's smartphone. Facial recognition has already found practical uses in the hospitality industry. Since it helps identify returning guests based on their facial attributes, it is an excellent complement to a mobile PMS that helps staff personalize the experience. Digital information about the individual who has just walked through the door enables the front desk agent to personalize their greeting and accommodate known preferences such as room type, location, activities, amenities and dining choices. With mobile facial recognition, staff spend less time tracking down the appropriate profile at the front desk as staff are immediately alerted to the guest's identity with an on-screen prompt, thus eliminating the time-consuming process of looking up the returning guest's profile.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.