Studies show 70 percent of customers will stop doing business with a company after one bad experience, while nine out of 10 say they would pay more to ensure a superior one.

By Glenn Wirick

We know the hallmark of our industry is service, and that it’s at the very heart and soul of what properties across the globe deliver to guests 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, day in and day out. But it also drives revenues. Studies show 70 percent of customers will stop doing business with a company after one bad experience, while nine out of 10 say they would pay more to ensure a superior one. A study by Harvard Business Review showed that customers who have great experiences spend roughly 140 percent more than customers who have poor experiences.

But delivering exceptional service can be complicated. Combine that with a wide range of technology systems required to run a hotel, and you’ve got your hands full. It’s helpful, then, to understand the opportunities at this intersection of technology and service. After all, technology is more than just hardware and software, rather it should be a holistic system to support your entire operation and make your life easier.

The most successful properties have growth strategies that focus on three areas at this intersection of technology and service: 1) transforming the guest experience, 2) enhancing staff productivity, and 3) optimizing operational efficiencies. Here’s how each of those three areas play out and impact hotel performance.

Technology can transform the guest experience.

Technology can transform service – it unties hotel employees’ hands from manual tasks allowing them to automate, it provides guest behavior and preference data, and it gives back time to focus on guests. What if instead of manually sending individual (often ignored) follow-up emails to your guests after their stay to solicit reviews, you instead asked for and received those reviews during the guest’s stay? They share information in real-time while there’s still a chance to fill any gaps, engendering trust and communicating you care. Meanwhile this approach alerts you to any operational issues that may be impacting guests, saves time by eliminating follow-up email campaigns, and gives you the opportunity to fix guest service before it’s too late. All the while it centralizes the responses and encourages guests to post positive reviews on review sites.

Technology can enhance staff productivity.

When technology and humans work together, there’s the secondary effect. It empowers employees by giving them the control to do their jobs better. For example, good central reservation systems allow hoteliers to distribute their inventory consistently across all demand channels, and include any visuals – like photos or videos— all in one portal. Instead of updating the visuals inside every distribution channel, hoteliers should be able to distribute once and be done. These kinds of technical tools free up time, and also ensure your property is marketed consistently across all of your demand channels.

Technology can optimize operational efficiencies.

Optimizing your hotel’s efficiency is key to expanding those profit margins. For example, having a partner for voice services allows you to never miss a reservation call, and gives you the flexibility to free up your front desk staff to answer questions and deliver service. Hotel software can help you synchronize housekeeping and your front desk. It can help you manage multiple properties. There’s point-of-sale systems for gift shops or restaurant. You can even use software to manage online reviews.

If you choose the right technology partner, and industry-leading solutions that benefit your guests, then your service becomes your biggest competitive differentiator. Your hotel will run at optimal levels and deliver world-class experiences destined to boost your bottom line.