By the time the rain-soaked, weary travelers reach the front desk, they’ve already waited in line 20 minutes to check in. The cheery hotel representative apologizes. Even though it’s after 4 p.m., the room isn’t ready yet. It’s the last straw for the guests, who are vocal about their displeasure. The front desk calls the hotel manager, who calls housekeeping. With every passing moment, the situation becomes worse, and no one is happy.
If ever there was a business argument for faster, seamless and more efficient communications, this is it. After all, a bad customer experience comes at a high cost for hotels. Not only do these situations require more time and personnel, they increase risk: 24% of irate customers used social media to talk about their negative experiences with athe brand.
That can have serious consequences for hotels, considering TripAdvisor has 456 million active monthly users – more than the population of the United States. Bad reviews translate into fewer loyal customers and lost revenue.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Improving customer experience can earn hotels high praise. Consider the following:
• Every star a hotel gains in its reviews enables it to raise rates by more than 10% and still maintain occupancy rates, according to researchers at Cornell University;
• Happy guests tend to spend more time and money on the property;
• Automation, self-service and integration of hotel management applications reduce wasted time, increase operational efficiency and raise productivity;
• With fewer glitches, hotel managers spend less time troubleshooting issues and soothing angry travelers, and more time working on higher value projects, such as new services that can bring in additional revenue.
Unified communications offers capabilities and features that ensure every customer experience exceeds guest expectations. But hotel management and IT teams still need to persuade owners and boards that investing in such a solution will have a positive impact on the bottom line.
As it turns out, the business case for investing in UC is a surprisingly easy one to make. Here are five ways it improves the customer experience and, in turn, drives higher hotel revenues.
The key to success in hospitality is exceeding guest expectations. Learn how your communications solutions can help with our infographic. >
Mobility. As today’s travelers are more mobile and connected, they have higher expectations for a seamless experience. Guests now believe the ability to connect their mobile device easily and quickly to the hotel’s communications technology, no matter where they are or the time of day, should be a standard amenity.
“In the moment” experiences. Another benefit of UC is that hotels have more ways to reach guests quickly, either via text message, email or through their own loyalty app. In fact, the app can be used to deliver “in the moment” content that enhances the guest experience and promotes revenue-generating services.
Self-service. UC also enables a better customer experience because self-service options can be built into the hotel’s website or app. While en route to the hotel, the guest can use the mobile app to check in and bypass the front desk upon arrival. Each time they can handle tasks on their own – such as making special room requests, reserving a table in one of the hotel’s restaurants or booking an airport shuttle – it reduces friction and improves the overall experience.
Personalization. Another way to enhance the guest experience is to integrate CRM data into the communications technology. With access to customer preferences, hotel staff can anticipate guest needs and be proactive in satisfying them. Further, they now have a valuable trove of insights that can lead to new revenue, such as special offers for local excursions or in-hotel services.
Operational efficiency. It’s hard to understate the positive impact on customer experience if staff can communicate and collaborate with each other easily. A mobile device loaded with a fully featured hospitality messaging application enables hotel employees to fully focus on guest needs. The app also improves service by automating and tracking all service requests and scheduled maintenance. These services may happen behind the scenes, but their smooth operation contributes significantly to guest satisfaction.
Since research shows that 35% of consumers report losing their temper with a customer service representative in the last year, investing in unified communications to enhance the customer experience is a smart move. Each time your hotel staff exceeds customer expectations, they make positive reviews – and higher revenue – more likely.