3 Questions To Ask When Selecting Hotel Technology
When it comes to making the right choice about deploying hotel technology which is guest-facing, it's important for hoteliers to consider the key benefits they can gain from selecting the most suitable solutions. Below, we look at 3 questions that might nudge hoteliers to think beyond the obvious.
1) What do I know about my guests?
When hotel technology solutions are guest-facing, there should be more to them than the simple transition into a digital environment. For example, if a piece of technology helps guests to place an in-room dining order without getting in touch with staff members, that's not necessarily progress, it's simply the evolution of the times.
One of the key questions to consider is as to whether newly introduced technology provides a new perspective on the guests. It's arguably easy to go with the times and "do as others do", but hoteliers have historically always lacked an understanding of their guests beyond the information they gained in personal interactions, and unfortunately, personal interactions are not easily quantifiable. However, there's a larger amount of personalization expected than ever before - what a paradox!
In that sense, beyond the input-driven information one can find on PMS and CRM platforms hotels utilize, there is an opportunity to actually capture behavior. What's the use in knowing that a guest has previously shown an interest in single malt Scotch or Chinese opera, if the behavior of the day is not captured or properly taken into account?
The key is to get a full picture of guest behavior that isn't just limited to clicks made and search terms typed in, but instead to understand as to how a guest's off-property movements influence their on-property buying decisions.
2) Is my brand extended beyond the property?
Understanding guest behavior is not just limited to what they do at the hotel. At least in cities, the vast majority of guests spend the largest chunks of the day away from the property. There's an untapped opportunity here - despite being away from the hotel, these guests leave behind traces of highly relevant data which hoteliers can take advantage of.
Having the hotel in "their pocket", translates to two major benefits from the guests' perspective: A sense of security and connectedness to the hotel (and its brand) at all times, and an ability to experience the destination with the magic touch of the hotel they chose to stay at.
In this respect, it could be seen as shot-sighted to invest in guest-facing technology that will have physical limitations, and will ultimately not be traveling across the destination with guests.
3) How high or low is the barrier to entry?
Arguably, people often make assumptions when it comes to a guest's willingness to jump over barriers when utilizing travel-related technology. For example, think about the last time you downloaded an app that was specific to a travel experience. Download, register (with personal details), potentially provide a local phone number, potentially enter credit card details - all of these represent extra steps to get to a simple goal - seamless travel.
In this context, guests want to be able to consume both the city and the hotel with the lowest amount of friction. If an app, for instance, doesn't provide any tangible value after I leave the destination, I won't download it, as the friction that's created by needing me to download etc. is perceived as more significant than the intrinsic value I gain from the app in the long-run.
There's a need to focus on value that hotels can deliver in-destination, without the need for extra steps for guests to take, in order to navigate their stay.