Hospitality has always been about the guest. While it’s easy to get distracted by the likes of new marketing platforms and the latest technology, it all boils down to making guests happy. In recent months especially, COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of maintaining focus on the guest to make them feel safe and valued. While creating a personalized guest experience has always been key to winning loyal customers, it is now more important than ever in our socially distanced new world where cautious hearts are even harder to win.
Here are five key hotel tech solutions that can be integrated with the property management system (PMS) to take personalization of the guest experience to the next level.
Customer relationship management (CRM) or guest relationship management (GRM) solutions like Cendyn, Salesforce and Track gather and use guest data to build rich guest profiles for greater customer insight and to deliver highly targeted email campaigns that increase guest engagement. Designed to match a property’s branding, communications can be automatically customized and triggered based on reservation and guest data—such as stay dates, room and rate codes, guest preferences and spend history—resulting in automated yet personalized communications that strengthen guest relationships.
When integrated with the PMS, live reservation data from the PMS is automatically shared with the CRM, eliminating the need for hotel staff to enter this data into the CRM manually. Integrating PMS data automatically and in real time ensures the CRM builds and maintains accurate guest profiles and delivers the right message to the right customers at the right time.
Various recent surveys show most modern consumers would like the option to communicate with businesses via text messaging. Today’s social distancing requirements make guest messaging solutions such as Akia, Whistle, Alice and Zenya even more pertinent to the business-consumer relationship.
Guest messaging has unique advantages over other methods of communication. Text messages are an instant, personable and conversational way of communicating with guests, allowing a hotel to portray its human side. With an open rate of almost 100 percent, text messaging is a sure-fire way to reach customers, and the right messaging solution can equip lodging operators with a record of chat history data that can be used to improve the guest experience.
But the success of guest messaging relies on how well it is integrated with core hotel systems like the PMS. As a stand-alone solution, guest messaging requires significant input from staff to manage. When integrated with the PMS, reservation data is automatically sent to the guest messaging platform in real time to automatically trigger personalized routine messages (pre-arrival, check-in, mid-stay and departure messages). Incoming messages and requests from guests are automatically matched to the guest’s reservation data for timelier service resolution.
As hotels adopt check-in processes that eliminate or reduce physical interaction at the front desk in compliance with COVID-19 protocols, keyless entry solutions (like OpenKey, RemoteLock, PointCentral, Lynx and STAYmyway) have never been more relevant than they are now. Part of a streamlined self-check-in process, keyless entry removes the need to pick up a physical room key so there’s no need to stop by the front desk at all.
While it might seem counter-intuitive to the concept of hospitality, self-check-in with keyless entry results in a more efficient and customer-centric experience, allowing guests immediate access to their room without having to identify themselves at the front desk first. By integrating the keyless entry system with the PMS, a secure mobile key (or keycode for keypad door locks), valid for the duration of the guest’s stay, is automatically sent to the guest’s mobile phone upon check-in. A quick, hospitable check-in experience is important to overall guest satisfaction. Implementing keyless entry for self-check-in not only speeds up the check-in process, but, through data integration, results in a streamlined, personalized experience too.
When it comes to in-room entertainment, guests expect—at the least—a level of convenience and access they enjoy at home. Today’s guests want an interactive media experience and to access their preferred content (be it from Netflix, YouTube or other streaming apps) on the guestroom TV.
In-room entertainment is a big part of the stay experience. Allowing guests to enjoy their preferred content while they travel, just as they do at home, helps provide a more personalized experience and improves guest satisfaction.
Relying on secure, high-speed internet access, modern in-room entertainment solutions (like those provided by Enseo, SONIFI and Intello) are best integrated with the PMS for greater security through automated guest authentication that ensures only checked-in guests can connect, and automated, accurate billing.
Closely managing online reputation right now is critical to a hotel’s recovery. While COVID-19 is still a threat, cautious travelers will rely heavily on recent reviews when choosing accommodation. Travelers will seek reviews that validate hotel cleanliness and preventative measures in place to keep guests safe. During a stay, they will be extra sensitive to service inadequacies and will warn other travelers by writing negative reviews. It will be important for hotels to not only implement and manage visible preventative measures successfully, but also to increase positive online reviews.
As we all try our best to navigate our new normal, guests will appreciate being asked for feedback that will help define the guest experience going forward. Done the right way, requesting feedback makes guests feel valued. Integrating your PMS with an automated reputation management solution such as Revinate or BlueJay Reviews ensures all guests are asked for feedback to improve the guest experience and strengthen your property’s online reputation. Post-stay surveys are sent to guests automatically and can be customized for specific guest segments based on PMS data for a more personalized review experience.
Just as hotels depend on technology to help navigate and manage new ways of delivering service safely in our pandemic era, they can rely on that same technology to help elevate the guest experience, driving personalized (and efficient) service through data integration.
Contact us to discuss how any of our 100+ integrations can help improve operations and the guest experience at your property.