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Delighting Guests Does Not Drive Loyalty; Reducing Their Effort Does

Mobile Key by OpenWays is driving loyalty and brand stickiness by easing check-in/out processes

Chicago —October 11, 2011 — In a recent article titled: Why Your Customers Don't Want to Talk to You, Harvard Business Review blogger Matt Dixon states: "Most customers these days demonstrate a huge — and increasing — appetite for self-service, yet most companies run their operations as if customers prefer to interact with them live." Hotels are no exception. In Stop Trying to Delight Your Customers, Dixon states that two critical findings have emerged that should affect every company's customer-service strategy: Delighting customers doesn't build loyalty; Reducing their effort -- the work they must do to get their problem solved -- does. Acting deliberately on this insight can help improve customer service, reduce customer service costs and decrease customer churn.

OpenWays, the global provider of mobile-based access-management solutions, has developed a self-service solution for hotels that reduces guests' efforts to get to their rooms by giving them a choice to proceed to the front desk or not upon arrival. OpenWays quenches the growing self-service appetite by empowering hotel guests to bypass attended-service procedures at the front-desk and instead use their mobile phone as a room key. This self-service option not only builds a competitive advantage for hotel companies looking to adapt to mobility, but it drives guest loyalty -- and brand stickiness -- at the same time.

"In the past, one misperception in hospitality was to assume that self-service was viewed as lesser service, when it's proven today to be just the opposite," said Pascal Metivier, OpenWays Founder and CEO. "Self-service really delivers 'more service' because it removes roadblocks and eliminates steps that keep travelers from getting to their destination quicker. Therefore, reducing the effort it takes to get guests to their rooms faster without lessening service standards is what will keep guests coming back and remaining loyal to a particular hotel or brand."

Choice is the Ultimate Service
A study released this month by The NPD Group for NCR Corp. shows that two out of three consumers in the U.S. want self-service options. Almost 46 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed said they want to be offered more self-service options to improve their experience. While this study is based primarily on shopping preferences, there is a strong correlation to lodging. Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for The NPD Group, a leading global provider of consumer and retail information, said: "The option of self-service, when delivered as part of a strategic customer engagement program, can help many [businesses] cater to today's time-starved and on-the-go consumers. This survey demonstrates that [self-service] is a popular choice for [consumers] who appreciate speed and convenience."

"Whether someone is standing in line at a retail store or a hotel front desk, it's an undesirable situation that becomes burdensome and stressful as the wait grows," Metivier said. "By offering a Mobile Key front-desk bypass solution to guests, OpenWays is reducing both work load and stress levels for staff and guests. With only those guests in line who need or prefer attended service, it enables staff to enhance the service they provide while making their jobs more interesting, valuable and satisfying.

"Here's why: When you give guests a choice in how they wish to experience the hotel, it provides a more relaxed environment for everyone involved -- including the front desk attendants who typically feel the brunt of any guest frustration," he said. "Because attended check-in is tedious and time consuming, it can cause aggravation for both staff and guests. No guest should be made to feel that providing them service is a burden. In today's mobile environment, travelers who don't want to wait in line to tie-up front desk staff un-necessarily should not be required to do so."

OpenWays improves customer service, reduces customer service costs and decreases customer churn or upset by offering an alternative to the process of traditional head-down front-desk transactions. Enabling guests to use their personal mobile phones as their room key and bypassing the front-desk upon arrival empowers hotel staff to focus on greeting guests with a smile at the main door -- including those with a cell phone in hand ready to head to their rooms and use a Mobile Key. Properly implemented self-service offerings must result in better service and in building a competitive advantage for the hotel.

Here's how it works with Mobile Key: Anyone making a reservation at a hotel who owns a cell phone (any brand and using any carrier network worldwide) will have the opportunity to securely receive a room number and "mobile room key" that will open/unlock the room door with their mobile device. It doesn't matter if a guest is carrying a standard cell phone or a smartphone -- both will allow them to open the door to their room by simply pressing a key icon or a button.
"When a guest makes a reservation at an OpenWays equipped hotel, he or she is invited to enroll in the Mobile Key service before their check-in date," Metivier said. "Then, on the day of arrival, the guest receives a text message containing both the room number and a secured link to retrieve the room key. Once at the hotel, the guest has the option of receiving attended service at the front desk or zip straight to their room, knowing that they may obtain a supplemental keycard at anytime during their stay."

Going Green Made Easy
Allowing guests to participate in new hotel's sustainability programs also helps to drive loyalty. With 43 million consumers looking to stay at a hotel that is environmentally conscious, giving hotel guests a way to get into their rooms "greener" will keep them coming back. Because the OpenWays Mobile Key credential is made only of data and not plastic, hotels are eliminating costs originally spent on toxic plastic key cards that frequently end up in landfills and instead are having a positive impact on the environment. The OpenWays Mobile Key is the "greenest" way on the planet to access a guestroom.

"Mobile-based self-service offerings results in more service to hotel guests," Metivier said. "A major opportunity exist today for modern hoteliers to adapt to new service expectations from travelers while driving loyalty, building competitive advantages and improving financial results. In a service-based industry like hospitality, is requiring that guests wait in line at the front desk upon arrival really providing good service and making the best possible first impression? The answer is 'no.' Before Mobile Key by OpenWays was available, no real alternative existed. Today, however, offering a Mobile Key front-desk bypass option is truly enhancing the guest experience by reducing their effort upon arrival and quenching their appetite for self service. The leading hoteliers are currently deploying Mobile Key to make the difference in the market and driving loyalty by adapting to guests expectations."

About OpenWays

OpenWays is a global solution provider of mobile-based access-management and security solutions. With offices in Chicago, Las Vegas, Seoul and in Europe, OpenWays provides technology solutions allowing for the secure issuance and delivery of access rights and keys process via any cell phone operating on any network. The OpenWays solution is truly unique as it built on the concept of credential dematerialization. The OpenWays mobile room key solution works on ALL the 5.8 billion cell phones in service in the world today. For more information, please contact Barb Worcester at +1 440 930-5770 or email More information can be found by visiting


Barb Worcester
PRPRO /OpenWays
Tel: (440) 930-5770

Andrew Sanders
Tel:  (732) 707-1869

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Also See: First Impressions Count: Five Things to Set the Scene for Your Guests’ Stay, Make their Arrival More Enjoyable, and Build Loyalty via Convenience and Choice / Andrew Sanders / September 2011

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