The travel industry’s future is riding on digital transformation. As travel-technology company SwitchFly recommends in its Future of Travel & Loyalty Outlook 2020, hospitality companies should view the industry as a “holistic, interconnected environment.” Modern travelers now expect technology-rich, engaging user experiences.
Interconnectedness is one of the hospitality industry’s defining features, and it makes hotels ripe for unified communications (UC). Give it a moment’s thought, and it’s easy to see why.
At some point, nearly every hotel employee will interact with guests. The front desk greets them upon arrival, housekeeping brings extra towels and room service delivers their orders. No employee is truly behind the scenes. They all share the responsibility ensuring each guest’s stay is comfortable, pleasant and exceeds expectations.
Consequently, every customer touchpoint relies on the staff’s ability to communicate effectively not only with guests, but with each other. That’s a tall order, but keep in mind hotels have specific characteristics that create some unique communications needs.
Not sure if you need a new communications system for your hotel? Check out this guide to ask the right questions and get the right answers. >
Let’s take a look at how UC delivers solutions that help hotels fulfill four demands that hotels face.
Deliver a consistent customer experience at all properties and brands. Hospitality companies often manage multiple properties through a diverse collection of brands. This can be complicated, since each brand has its own personality and local flair. But that doesn’t mean delivering a unique customer experience at every property has to be challenging or costly.
With unified communications, hotel brands benefit from economies of scale. Existing phone systems can be connected to the cloud, then each location takes advantage of the cloud’s flexibility to customize the system to its unique needs. This both lowers costs and creates greater efficiency. As guests and colleagues move among properties, they’ll have a consistent experience everywhere they go.
Create a tech-rich customer experience. The ubiquity of mobile devices means that hotels must provide travelers with an instant connection to the hotel and the outside world. To better serve guests, hotels can deliver a seamless experience by offering their own branded mobile apps with embedded communications. This changes everything about the guest visit. For example, travelers can check in via the app even before they arrive and, once they get to the site, use it as their room key.
With an app tied into the unified communications platform, the guest has a direct connection to hotel services. They can check voicemail or request special services, such as extra pillows from housekeeping. Or, they can ask the concierge to make dinner reservations for them. The app also enables guests to check their loyalty program status, strengthening their relationship with the parent company.
Enhance the capabilities of the hotel’s property management. On the other side of the hotel room door, a guest’s travel itinerary is automatically delivered to the hotel staff’s own mobile devices. This is possible whenever the property management system is integrated with the unified communications platform via an API. Thus, although the guest may bypass the front desk, the staff is well aware of their arrival. If they require anything special, any member of the hotel staff – the concierge, the housekeeping staff and even the restaurant manager – can be reached anywhere on the property via their mobile device.
Be ready to give machines a voice. With customer expectations already high and competing brands rushing to satisfy demands for fast and simple connections, hotels can transform the customer experience even further by creating a smart facility.
The Internet of Things lets hotels take personalization one step further by customizing the guest’s entire experience to their personal preferences. For example, a sensor on the room’s thermostat might be connected to IoT so it can automatically adjust to the guest’s preferred temperature.
UC underpins – and, indeed, makes possible – digital transformation. It’s especially effective at delivering solutions to the unique needs of hotels. At each touchpoint, UC enhances the customer experience, helping brands build the loyalty of their guests for decades to come.