By Emily Teachout
Guests are the most important part of any hospitality business, so their satisfaction should always be top priority. A quality guest experience strategy will empower you to maintain strong customer relationships by providing opportunities to authentically interact with your guests, and in turn, provides guests with an optimized experience. Technology can further boost your efforts by providing additional options, control, and personalization. If you’re unsure where to start, explore these five technology enhancements that add to the guest experience.
1. Interactive Guest Portals
Travel restrictions due to COVID ushered in the era of contactless tech, giving guests more control over their reservations than ever before. This is why it’s key to offer an interactive portal – a space where guests can store their personal information, view and change upcoming reservations, make payments, even check in and out on their own. Thankfully travel is on the rise these days, but guests are still holding on to the convenience of contactless tech. A 2021 customer engagement survey reported that 47% of guests rated mobile check-in and check-out as moderate to extreme importance when deciding where to book.
2. Email Messaging
Of course, email is nothing new – it’s been a dependable part of the guest experience for decades. In today’s era of ever-shifting health protocols, email has become even more crucial; it’s a reliable way to inform guests of health protocols, preventive measures, and other pertinent information before they arrive.
Email also offers additional flexibility and personalization when it comes to messaging. The right email marketing system will allow you to segment your customers based on different factors like past stays, region, and loyalty status, allowing further message customization. Personalized content has become a consumer expectation as we move more and more of our purchasing habits into the digital space. It affects your bottom line, too, boosting revenue by 10-15%.
3. Guest Loyalty Programs
Repeat guests are an incredibly valuable resource, and maintaining their business is a lucrative revenue stream. To encourage guests to keep coming back, consider creating a loyalty program. Not only will this entice guests to return with rewards like free nights and room upgrades, but it enables you to keep your brand top-of-mind and continue to engage with guests. Loyalty programs aren’t just for large hotel chains; they can easily be personalized to your brand. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your rewards and tailor them to the specific guest experience you want to provide. Consider partnering with local businesses and vendors to offer discounts or special perks for members.
4. SMS Messaging
Texting is another efficient way to interact with visitors and get information directly into their hands. The average person reads a new text within three minutes of receiving it, making text messaging one of the quickest ways to update your guests. Consumers have even started to show a preference for text updates when it comes to important details, like check-in and reservations, with 59% desiring text updates of important information before their stay. You can even take it one step further and allow for two-way SMS communication, allowing guests to text with staff with any needs or questions. Inquiries are sent to your team through a guest messaging platform, eliminating the need for staff to use their personal phones.
5. Content Streaming
Binge-watch, anyone? Streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, and Hulu are staples of today’s entertainment landscape. It only makes sense that people would want to be able to access their favorite series while they’re away too. Hotels are catching wind of this desire, with 88% of hotel CEOs offering or planning to offer smart devices with content streaming within the next year.
The guest experience will always be the cornerstone of the hospitality industry, and as expectations and preferences continue to evolve, we must adapt to meet them. The right technology can bolster your hospitality business, help you maintain strong customer relationships, and deliver the best possible experience. If you have guest loyalty, engagement, or satisfaction goals for 2022, a strategy that incorporates interactive technology and seamless messaging will set you up for success.