By Jos Schaap
PMS technology has been a part of standard hotel operations for over 30 years and has made hotels operations efficient and scalable. However, as powerful as it is, there is still plenty of manual management of guest data and transactions. The truth is that hotel managers and front-of-house staff spend a lot of their time staring at a computer screen. Every time your face is looking down, possibly wrangling with your PMS/POS, the less meaningful time you have with your guests.
Hoteliers should be looking for opportunities to break down those barriers to guest service. I believe that it is a mistake to be satisfied with the ways things have always been done. The truth is that many hotel operations are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and unproductive. New technologies (such as ROOMDEX) use automation to remove those repetitive tasks that are a waste of hotelier’s valuable time.
Let’s focus with an example on Guest Services and Amenities.
What is Guest Service Automation?
Beyond the rooms and bed, the hotel stay is layered with an array of optional guest services that personalize each guest experience. Breakfast, parking, rooms service, exclusive access areas, etc., are all “add-ons” to the normal hotel stay. While these can be critical requirements for your guest, the challenge for the hotelier is that these services tend to be lower margin and require extra effort from your staff.
When it comes to delivering guest services, automation can play a strategic role in reducing administrative tasks. Why? Because anytime a human must interact with the POS/PMS or sell something or take an order – there is an opportunity for automation. With back-office task automation, hotels could be more efficient and focused on interacting face-to-face with guests. Automation helps hotels return to their roots as a people-first industry; it complements the human touch and opens doors to meaningful conversations between guests and hotels.
Guest Service Automation: Be present in your hotel
With a digital guest services solution, hotels can automate the entire process of upselling guest service items. There is no transaction management required. Only the “last mile” may need to be completed manually – the actual delivery of service to the guest (for some upsells, such as access to exclusive areas or parking, there is no fulfillment by the hotelier required).
Traditionally if a hotel wants to presell and upsell to the guest, there are a number of manual steps that need to occur:
- Step 1: Marketing – Promotion of services (back office)
- Step 2: Selling –Front desk agent sales efforts (front desk)
- Step 3: Admin – Recording the transaction in the POS/PMS (front desk)
- Step 4: Admin – Once recorded, if required, fulfillment scheduling (back office)
- Step 5: Admin – Service delivery assignment to staff (back office)
- Step 6: The actual physical delivery of the service (on-site)
With a digital guest services automation solution in place, steps 1-5 are fully automated. The entire guest service upsell journey becomes more efficient and convenient for both the guest and hotel. The front desk staff are no longer burdened with the task of upselling guest services and the admin requirements that go along with fulfilling them. By eliminating the low-value-adding processes and activities, front-of-house no longer has to worry about long lines and frustrated guests. Similarly, guests do not need to pick up the phone or contact the hotel if they want to book or reserve services – they can easily and efficiently do this from the comfort of their own device.
Not only does self-service and automation of guest services deliver both convenience and cost savings but at the same time it improves customer service and increases conversion and sales.
Even pre-COVID, there was a growing trend in self-service personalization, probably because of everyone’s constant exposure to the interaction experience of e-commerce. Consumers like the power of choice and control and businesses found that digital sales drives more revenue. In a self-service environment, guests are willing to spend more. Even airlines have found that a menu approach to the flight experience has driven drive more profit.
Perhaps most importantly, managing a hotel in a post-pandemic world means to do more with less staff, all while meeting the high expectations of hotel guests who haven’t traveled in 18 months. Digital Upsell guest solutions (such as ROOMDEX, www.roomdex.io) can truly help hotels manage a better guest experience at lower cost and increased revenues.