Digital transformation is one of the most reliable ways to enhance customer experience and drive industry growth. And a service industry like hospitality needs to focus on ways to attract and retain more customers with their improved solutions.
COVID-19 has turned many industries upside down, and one of the most affected hospitality business. While many independent hotels got shut down, on the other hand, hotel chains suspended the inauguration of their upcoming hotel projects. But now, the world has started breathing with the current pandemic.
Travel is resuming, and the hotel industry is innovating to overcome losses. When the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced the Stay safe guidelines, they suggested reducing direct contact with the use of new technologies.
Digital technology has played a prominent role for the benefit of hotels in past years, and the hotel industry has evolved evidently to offer unique experiences to its customers. While many hotels are leveraging digital transformation technology to welcome guests, several hotel chains are still in the early stage of adopting and implementing technology.
So let's go ahead and see how hotel chains can implement digital transformation in the booking process, loyalty program management, room service, etc to help hotels innovate and reduce physical touchpoints with their guests without compromising on user experience.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The installed base of the current Internet of Things connected devices is forecast to reach 21.5 billion units by 2025. Hotels can adopt IoT in many ways:
- Self Check-in: Letting customers self-check-in adds value to a great first impression. It reduces wait time and gives control to the customer. With the use of a mobile app, customers can have immediate access to the guest room. Mobile can also enable guests to have access to any vital information and allow them to request and update their requirements.
- Digital key card: Keyless Entry Systems can facilitate a seamless stay experience. Offering guests an electronic key card on mobile devices is one of the smartest ways of saving time and money and ensuring security. It also helps the hotel to collect data on room preferences and enhance the guest experience in the future.
- Smart and personalized rooms: IoT enables the guests to manage room amenities on their mobile apps. Lighting preferences, thermostat settings, media sets, or even integrating voice recognition, everything can provide, strong control to guests. A mobile can act like a remote to also manage window shades, and the lock system offering home-like comfort and experience.
When mobile apps like Pokemon Go went viral, every industry tried leveraging the potential possibilities to step up customer engagement through AR and VR. A few years ago, Marriot enabled it's guests to travel far from their hotel rooms using Marriott VR Postcards. You too can make travel more seamless for your guests.
- Virtual Reality: It is the best discovery that allows guests to take a tour of the property without leaving their house. Brochures are now outdated. No traveler is up for carrying papers with them. Therefore, sharing a complete tour of hotel rooms and hotel services like spas and shopping arcade will build trust and comfort for travelers.
- Augmented Reality: AR can further make guests experience things and places alive. With the use of a smartphone, a user can know his exact location, explore historical places, nearby restaurants, view hotel services, and so many things that are far beyond our imaginations. With the adoption of AR and VR, Airbnb recently took their customer experience to a whole new different level. Hotels can also advance it's AR features by introducing an interactive map that provides guests with more useful information.
Mobile is the most convenient way to communicate seamlessly with your guests. It offers a wide range of possibilities to improve the customer experience.
- Booking: It is the quickest way for travelers to book hotels with a mobile app with just a tap.
- Communication: With the use of a mobile app, guests can easily communicate with the staff. Moreover, the staff can respond to the guest's requests and update them on any required information. Apps can also help to send in-app notifications and encourage guests to use hotel services.
- Customer loyalty program: Mobile apps are an excellent way to reward guests for every service they use. It keeps them engaged and helps to boost a long term relationship.
- Staff productivity: Hotel staff can get more organized by managing their tasks through a mobile app. Managers can stay informed about the staff capacity and their day's job so they can smartly manage their responsibilities and advance productivity.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
For the service industry, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is perhaps one of the best ways to improve the customer experience.
- Chatbots: Chatbots, powered by AI, can respond to guest's questions, saving up the staff's time. Not just this. Hotel chatbots analyze the data received from different sources like guests' shopping history, spa or salon usage, saved payment methods, food choices, and other actions taken by guests while interacting with a hotel app. And this data can further offer a personalized experience. From a simple task of booking to acting as a 'digital concierge' to guests while they are at the hotel, chatbots can make guests way too comfortable and satisfied.
Data and Analytics
- Data: With digital transformations like IoT integrations, mobile applications, there is a constant flow of data. Data is crucial in the hotel business to retain guests. Many hotels collect and use customer data to determine their preferences, what they like, and what they don't. The process of data collection can benefit hotels to come up with new features or ideas to attract more and more guests based on their behavior.
- Analytics: Through analytics of the data, hotels can identify key factors that help in providing a high-quality customer experience. Analytics can also help identify the guests who are likely to return frequently and guests who are likely to spend more on upgrades and purchasing other amenities from the hotel. The hotel will be able to make smart decisions focussing and improvising their primary areas of business and continue to offer high value to its guests.
Digital transformation is already here, and many hotels in the industry are now adopting it to upgrade their services. In the coming years, hotels that don't adopt technology in their business might go outdated. Summarising the above points let us highlight some of the biggest advantages to hotels with the use of digital transformation.
- Reduce wait time
- Saves time and money
- Make communication smoother and improve relationship building
- Hotels get to know their customers
- Improvement in business performance
- A high rate of repeat customers
So, it's time for you to make your hotel smart and lift your business post-COVID 19.
How can TechAhead help you to stand out?
TechAhead is the leader in mobile app development. From discovery to post-launch maintenance, TechAhead is your one-stop partner for all your needs. With over 10 years of experience, we have worked with over 500 clients. We understand the value of each app we develop and believe to make it a success. Get in touch with us and we will provide you with an incredible hotel app development experience.
TechAhead has vast technical and design expertise in developing apps for the hospitality industry. We have created apps to manage guest experience, room bookings, managing loyalty reward points, dining reservations, payments, bills management, etc.