Contactless guest technology- the killer or the innovator of personalized service in hotels?
Updated: Feb 22
In my recent encounters with hoteliers, I have noticed a common misconception in regards to contactless guest technology. That perception could be described as the fear of missing out on the guest interaction or failing to deliver personal service to the guests.
Although I can understand the root cause of such beliefs, I would still like to take the opposing stand on the matter and disagree that contactless technologies somehow prevent hotels from offering personal service to guests.
I would actually like to state quite the opposite and say that the different modern technologies are here to add an additional, modern layer of guest service for the hotels. They aid the hotels to offer much more personal service, bringing increased efficiency to the hotel operations and enabling the guests' other ways of communication and services, than what they are used to.
I have listed down a few of the various reasons why I believe that contactless guest technology not only aids hotels in offering a more personal touch to their service but also helps them to save costs and increase their incremental revenue.
The guests have various expectations to service
If you have ever worked at a hotel’s reception desk, then you surely know that not all guests have the same expectations. There are guests who, more than anything, enjoy a nice conversation and they are never too busy to wait for their turn in a line of people as they are happy to see you, talk to you and find out more information about the hotel, the area or what to do during their stay.
However, there are also these types of guests, who are always busy and very impatient. Most probably they are checking in with you in between two business meetings, or even at the same time when they are on one. Try checking in a person who is constantly talking to someone on the phone- the only thing they are actually interested in, is the password for wifi and their room location. The latter type is the guest who would probably much rather prefer to check in online and have their room key sent to their mobile phone, so they could arrive and leave without any disruptions or waiting.
Reducing the manual work helps to make your team more available to the guests
Skipping the lines and reducing waiting time is not only a benefit for the guests but also to your operations and increases your cost efficiency. Cutting away all the unnecessary paperwork which comes with the manual check-in procedure, you can easily save hundreds, if not thousands of working hours every year.
Digitalising that one key process of filling in and signing a registration card significantly decreases your workload at the reception and increases customer satisfaction rates. With decreased time spent on activities such as filling registration cards, carrying out payment transactions, and entering guest details into PMS your staff productivity can be redirected into value-adding procedures such as actually talking to the guests and delivering that personalized service, without the need to eye the computer monitor constantly.
Capitalize on the digitalization
Deployment of the contactless guest technology helps hotels increase incremental revenue. Different studies and my personal experience have shown that digital consumers are more valuable than regular consumers- e.g. their average spend is higher. With guest technology, you can sell room upgrades and your extra services to every single customer- the technology delivers the same service each time, while a receptionist is often too busy to deliver flawless service with a beautiful sales pitch every single time.
The customers are ready for digital solutions
We are all already extensively using our mobile phones in all sorts of everyday activities- such as paying bills online, buying groceries, booking theatre tickets and so on. We use a digital boarding pass in the airport to skip the lines and have high check-in fees. Most modern consumers would prefer to check in online to the hotel if that is made possible. My personal research and observations have clearly shown that the guests are embracing and using modern contactless solutions more than ever and are happy to do so.
In conclusion - contactless technologies are not here to replace your entire staff but rather provide an additional, modern layer of service that helps you to ease the workload in reception, increase your incremental sales revenue and save on labour costs. In addition, as the non-value-adding tasks are removed from the reception staff, they can surely be much more attentive and service-oriented than they are today.
The customers are also ready for the change and the more hotels onboard guest-facing technologies, the bigger will be the demand on the market for such services. Are you ready to enter the new era and explore the possibilities that modern guest technologies offer?
Kadi Saadlo, Co-Founder at HotelBuddy