Need to Meet Changing Customer Needs
Customer expectations are constantly evolving as they encounter newer and more novel services in their day-to-day life. The hotel industry has not yet fully embraced some of the newer services and technologies, such as mobile devices. Over a period of time, customers would take for granted certain minimum standards of service prevalent in other industries. For example, online travel portals have started mining data to glean customer insights in order to understand customer behavior and run targeted promotions and offers to certain customers based on their preferences. Customers would expect similar recommendations, offers and promotions when they stay as a guest in a hotel.
In particular, mobile devices have become an indispensable part of an individual’s life. From shopping to travel needs to banking, the mobile device touches every aspect of the customer’s life. It’s only natural that customers would expect hotel services to be provided on mobile devices. Be it a tablet or a smartphone—and regardless of the mobile OS—customers want to be enabled with downloadable hotel service apps that simplify their stay and make it more pleasurable.
Commoditization of the Hotel Industry
Over the last 15-20 years, the hotel industry has been commoditized largely due to the price transparency provided by the Internet, resulting in hotels competing on price like never before. Online intermediaries, such as OTAs, have largely been successful at bringing down room rates, and in response to that hotels have been offering the same rates and services across channels. Hence, customers see no apparent difference between the offerings of one hotel over another. They are also reluctant to pay premiums to stay in hotels.
Hotel Guest Challenges
According to a survey of nearly 62,000 American and Canadian hotel guests between August 2011 and May 2012 conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, overall guest satisfaction has declined since 2011. Satisfaction with check-in/check-out, food and beverage, hotel services and hotel facilities are at new lows since 2006. Satisfaction with guest rooms has also declined significantly.
How Can Hotels Differentiate Themselves? Personalize!
One study found that 73% of Gen Y guests leave after one poor experience, and 85% of those also tell others about it—either physically, online or both.1 On the other hand, happy guests spend 50% more in ancillary revenue than those that are indifferent or just satisfied. That’s also 75% more than unhappy guests.2 Plus, delighted guests tend to spend even more on repeat visits.
Hotels can differentiate their offerings by providing personalized services across the various stages of the guest lifecycle. Hotels today are focusing on allowing guests to customize their experience even before the trip begins, and are leveraging technologies built into the hotel room and outside of it to pamper customers. One such area that hotels can successfully leverage is providing hotel service apps on the mobile device.
The Explosive Growth of the Mobile Device
There are now 1.2 billion mobile Web users worldwide, and it’s projected that by the end of 2014, mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage. Already, more than 50 percent of all “local” searches are done from a mobile device.
It’s very clear that the mobile device has become an indispensable part of the consumer’s persona and has pervaded all aspects of the consumer’s life. Today, there is an implicit expectation that properties deliver hotel services at the touch of a mobile screen or swipe of a tablet.
Maximizing Revenue and Improving the Guest Experience
Hotels can deploy mobile service apps that not only differentiate their brand, but also provide additional sources of revenue through hotel services that are opted for by the guests on their mobile device—this enhances the guest stay experience and increases guest loyalty. Hotels can benefit from the following measures:
- Automate the guest engagement process, which can reduce staff operating expenses and improve staff productivity and efficiency.
- Enhance the guest experience by offering self-service features, such as mobile check-in/check-out and hotel service requests, plus allow guests to redeem loyalty points and provide features for entertaining them (e.g., movies, music or tour information).
- Improve profits by running targeted promotions and offers on the app that provide guests with the convenience of hotel services/facilities at the swipe of a tablet or touch of a smartphone.
- Increase revenue by allowing advertisements and promotions to run based on the current location of the hotel guest.
- Repeat business from the consumer as a function of an enhanced customer experience, increased satisfaction, improved service and increased stickiness that enhances customer loyalty.
- Maximize share of customer wallets by keeping them on the hotel property, utilizing the hotel’s services and venues rather than going out to competitors nearby.
- Generate incremental revenue on retail sales, spa, golf, dining, entertainment venues, beverages, video and music services, etc.
Dana Communications has its own solution for enhancing the hotel guest stay experience called “Smart Concierge.” It can easily integrate with any Property Management System and can provide your customers with personalized hotel service apps across mobile platforms and OS.
Dana Communications Presents Smart Concierge App
Hotels can benefit immensely by embracing the personalized hotel service apps provided by Smart Concierge. The mobile app tends to promote two-way interactions between the hotel and the guest, eliminating the need for the staff to invest their time on concierge services that could otherwise be fulfilled by the hotel’s app. It serves the dual purpose of improving the guest experience and revenues. As demonstrated earlier, guests are more likely to take advantage of services that are targeted and personalized, and are willing to pay a premium for it. Self-service features eliminate waiting time for guests.
- Build ancillary revenue
- Increased customer service and guest satisfaction
- Improved guest loyalty and intimacy
- Brand differentiation and embellishment
- Improve productivity and reduce staff operating costs as a result of self-service capability
- Increase profits through ads and promotions driven by location and context
If you want to know more about Smart Concierge and would like to receive a white paper, please fill in the form below, or contact Stephen Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d be happy to present the benefits of Smart Concierge, and discuss how it can integrate with your property’s current systems.
- Benchmark Research, Convergys, Customer Focus, Inc.
- Cornell Center for Hospitality Research