How the hospitality industry can meet guest expectations in the contactless world
We all know that the ongoing pandemic has impacted nearly all types of business models. When we talk about the hospitality industry, adapting to the new norms like contactless guest service doesn’t just keep guests safe. It also empowers hotels across size, category, offering, and location to stay competitive. Being a relatively new trend around the corner for quite a time now, it could also confuse hoteliers about its best practices. Let’s look at some ways for hospitality properties to offer seamless contactless guest services to their guests to exceed their expectations in this contactless world. Stay tuned.
Understand the evolving guest expectation
Like everybody else, in today’s pandemic era, guests have become health conscious. They don’t want anything that could lead to unnecessary complications, and that’s why they want you as a hotelier to have every possible measure in place to ensure their safety. See this important finding – around 70% of millennials are more likely to book with you if you offer them smart tech, keyless-entry, and mobile payment options. They neither want to touch the door lock nor even a bill. They are also hesitant to handle any of your gadgets to control in-room amenities. Many of them will even think twice before picking up the in-room phone to place room service. This is where contactless technology solutions can help you big time.
Enter the contactless era
From check-in/out to keyless entry, Covid-19 has prompted the adoption of contactless technologies. Here are some of them leading the revolutions –
#1. Let them use their smartphones
Offering quick and seamless check-in/outs is the first thing that needs to be fixed. Now, obviously, in this time of health crisis, guests would not like it if you handover a tablet or any device to fill in their details. So, what is the solution? Enable them to do all these using their smartphones. It’s plain and simple.
Next comes unlocking the room. Here too, they will be a little reluctant to touch the doorknob no matter how much you stress on your sanitization levels. So why not adopt the right technology to help them unlock the door through their smartphones?
Now, once the guest enters the room, there too, you can offer them contactless guest service. Yes, we are talking about “connected rooms” or “smart rooms”. To be very precise, this is not a new concept. Many hotels have already explored it and have seen guest satisfaction climbing up. Just imagine, at this time, how will your guests react when you tell them that they can control the thermostat, lighting, blinds, television, and other amenities via their mobile phones.
In this context, you should also consider empowering guests to access your hotel’s mobile app to help them find property information, maps, concierge, and others.
#2. Assist them with contactless/cashless payment options
Do you know that at least 35% of the guests are interested in contactless payment options? This enables them to avoid using cash or debit/credit cards as the payment happens wirelessly through RFID technology. Moreover, today’s credit/debit cards and smartphones can support this via tap to pay and NFC technology. Guests will have to place their cards or devices close to a near-point terminal to complete the transaction. It is a great way to eliminate multiple human-to-human touchpoints in your hotel.
#3. Support them with voice-recognition technology
According to IHS Markit, voice-recognition technology will disrupt the hospitality industry. By 2022, the hospitality sector will become the second-largest commercial vertical market for smart speakers. Additionally, Oracle’s Hotel 2025 report suggests that about 78% of hotel operators see voice-activated tech to control in-room amenities with rapid adoption by 2025.
Looking at the statistics mentioned above, this is one of the recent tech innovations that is rapidly becoming a key trend in the global hospitality industry. And the credit goes to the demand for contactless guest service fuelled by the pandemic. Guests can speak to a smart device, and the device in turn processes the command to offer a suitable response. The best part is that devices powered by such intelligent technology will allow guests to control TV streaming, lighting, and HVAC. They can even assist guests to place room service.
Like any other industry, digital transformation constantly reshapes how the global hospitality industry operates and takes care of guests. This has led to the emergence and adoption of many contactless technology solutions across leading hotel brands. The trend is already here, and it will dominate the industry in the coming years as it has a lot to offer in the future.