“Nowadays, technology could, should and indeed can play a significant role. The opportunity is clear — to enhance the experience for the traveller whilst also enabling the hotelier to better serve their needs. ”
The hotel should strive to be a helpful companion, finding more effective and efficient ways to engage with their clients. How can hotels achieve this?
The first step for the hotel is to build a better picture of what the traveller is looking for before they book. By capturing personal data with the required opt-ins, hotels can personalise search results and build recommendation engines that suggest ancillary extras and can turn a stay from a basic room booking into an experience.
Hotels can help travellers make the most of their trip when in-destination. Most visitors are only aware of the obvious tourist spots, particularly when it comes to cities. If they are lucky, some have a helpful concierge to guide them but this can be hit and miss. Technology can enable all of us to “travel like a local” and uncover those delights that make travelling the most enriching experience known to man.Whilst often times the experience outside a hotel makes a holiday memorable, technology has the ability to bring the experience within, enhancing the time spent inside a hotel itself. Guests want both the convenience and flexibility that suit their plans. Restaurant bookings, spa reservations, and in-room dining services are generally inflexible and require precious minutes spent at the front desk or over the phone to arrange. By removing this friction, more meaningful moments can be enjoyed by the guest. This creates the building blocks to establishing a guest relationship that goes beyond.
When it comes to guest check-out, it is standard expectation that a guest will receive a generic email requesting for a hotel review. Herein lies a tremendous opportunity for hotels to continue their guest relationships in a move towards re-establishing brand loyalty. A memory of the good service can be prompted in a timely post-travel fashion, while data collation from the duration of a guests’ journey can be used to personalise the types of rewards guests would want to participate in. A mobile first loyalty scheme that lends personalisation to offers and rewards can transform the success of repeat business.
“Travel is the only thing that we buy that makes us richer.” With travel holding great value in meaningful experiences, how then can the customer experience be so hit and miss?
For independent hotels and small chains in particular, mastering technology combined with data analytics and marketing is a big ask. The behind-the-scenes operations of a hotel dominate every waking moment and these disciplines may not necessarily be skill sets that naturally reside back of house. There is often minimal to no further engagement after a guest checks in to a hotel up until their departure. The time in between is a lost opportunity for building a meaningful relationship. The ability to forge a positive relationship during this time that can lend added value is vastly overlooked. For OTAs, as a third-party booking platform, they hold no personal connections with a guest, however by leveraging clever marketing, analytics, and loyalty schemes — albeit mediocre, they are able to win over a guest. For hotels, the same cannot always be said. Mark Okerstrom, CEO of Expedia recently said “hotels only have themselves to blame if they have a guest in their hotel for two to three nights and do not use this opportunity to build a stronger relationship with them. Without sophisticated analytics and technology solutions, hotels often lack the tools needed to change this.”
Can you explain in a nutshell what handy is?
handy is a revolutionary hospitality IoT solution for hotels and guests. Through proprietary software and hardware, our services and features are designed to uplift ancillary revenue, guest satisfaction, and drive better cost efficiencies for hotels. At the same time, for travelers, handy is provided in the form of a device that acts as a complimentary guest amenity to remove day-to-day friction. The handy in-room guest services platform delivers in-destination inspiration and offers that enable guests to explore, shop and eat like a local.
As technology evolves how can handy elevate the guest experience?
At handy we listen to the needs of both hotels and guests to design exceptional products that deliver.
The base benefit of handy is free internet and internationals calls that can be made both from within and outside of a hotel. The concept of the handy Companion enables hotel guests to take the device out with them when exploring a city, saving guests the inconvenience of zero to intermittent connectivity whilst traveling abroad. The hassle of buying a foreign SIM card is cut down, so that connecting with family, friends and acquaintances is made easy again — as it should be. On a basic and introductory level, handy already elevates guest satisfaction to new levels. Added access to in-destination city guides on where to eat, shop and explore are powered by LUXOS, a leading travel publisher. Curated destination picks are delivered alongside a range of offers and exclusive deals available to guests.
handy acts as a central hub for the guest experience. Advanced features that can control a hotel room and communicate with hotel staff digitally, creates an opportunity for personalisation — a home away from home. Features include in-room controls,in-room dining, tailored push messages, branded hotel banners, and live chat. This is particularly great for language barriers, increasing accuracy of information and responsiveness...
What are your reasons for attending the Independent Hotel Show?
We care deeply about making the lives of both the hotel and the traveller easier, and are constantly improving our products to deliver this. Learning about key challenges help us tackle more widespread customer experiences. We will be on hand to help share more about handy’s evolution and how adopting technology and analytical insights is a sustainable investment to yielding positive results for now and in the future.
Don’t miss the opportunity to try handy on 16–17 October 2018 at the Independent Hotel Show, Olympia London. Register for your complimentary pass here.