According to research by Hubspot, 93% of guests have higher expectations than they did before the pandemic – and guest experience is king. This means that providing an exceptional, above-and-beyond level of customer service in your hospitality business is more important than ever before.
Tech can help. From digital solutions that’ll ensure your staff never miss a guest message or request to advanced chatbots that can provide your guests with 24/7 assistance, there is a plethora of ways to uplevel every element of your establishment’s customer service provision to get those all-important repeat bookings and glowing online reviews.
Showcasing Your Venue
The foundations of great customer service should be laid before your guests have even made a reservation. Using tech to add virtual 3D tours of your establishment is a fantastic way to set guest expectations and give people an accurate idea of what they can expect from you.
A common complaint from guests relates to when their accommodation, and the related amenities, don’t match up with their expectations. Circumnavigate this by incorporating a virtual reality tour into your website to impress your guests with the rooms on offer, along with the views, your on-site restaurant and spa, and even nearby attractions!
Making it Personal
One of the most powerful ways technology can upgrade your customer service provision is through the tools it offers to make each experience personal and tailored to the unique guest’s needs.
A guest experience app allows your business to anticipate guests’ needs well before a call is made to your front desk – meaning you can provide the wow factor, customer service-wise, while also boosting revenue by offering relevant, bespoke upgrades, discounts, and offers. What does this look like on the ground? If you have a couple due to arrive with a baby, it means ensuring a travel cot is available, offering an early time-slot dinner reservation, and doing your best to book a room in the quietest part of the hotel.
Picture the scene – we’ve all been there: you arrive at your hotel after an arduous journey, the kids have been arguing in the back seat for the last three hours, and everyone is hot, tired, and hungry. The last thing you want is to arrive at the front desk only to discover a significant line at the front desk.
Tech can provide the solution! Deploying online, remote check-ins turn your guests’ smartphones into their room keys, meaning they can head straight to their rooms to begin their vacation when they arrive. This is great for both the guests using this system and those that choose to stick with ‘traditional’ manual check-ins, as it cuts the front desk line by up to half – freeing up your team members to do the most important job of all: ensuring every single guest is having the best time possible!
No More Missed Messages
One of the biggest bugbears of guests is when they phone down to housekeeping or the front desk – say for extra towels in their room – and either they wait for an unacceptable length of time to have their request met or, worse, it isn’t actioned at all. Guest communication software is the perfect solution. This tech unifies all your establishment’s communications channels – from email chats to Whatsapp messages – so there’s no risk of a message getting missed.
With competition extremely stiff in the hospitality industry right now, a missed guest request could make the difference between whether or not you get those all-important repeat bookings and recommendations.
Assistance Available 24/7
While the major hotel chains may have the resources to man a front desk 24/7, this is likely to be out of reach for many smaller establishments – which can be an issue, with guests increasingly expecting round-the-clock, on-demand service and assistance.
Tech can help: advanced chatbots have replaced the dated models of yesteryear, which offered only limited responses when specifically worded questions were posed. Now, chatbots are intuitive, powered by AI, and capable of answering the majority of questions your guests may have, from the cost of your spa treatments to the location of the nearest cinema.
Voice Search Technology
Virtual assistants have made voice searches the norm, so it makes sense to incorporate this tech into both your website and your in-room facilities. If you decide to deploy a centralized guest communication hub, be sure to choose an option that can facilitate voice commands and searches, so your guests can easily turn on lights, adjust the heating, or make a housekeeping request simply via their voice.
The Takeaway: A Joined-Up System
And perhaps the most profound way that tech is improving customer service in the hospitality industry is because it connects the dots to create a smoother, enhanced guest journey. Smart tools and communication hubs allow you to deploy many of the above systems quickly and easily to form a multi-pronged solution to optimize the overall guest experience.
There’s one key statistic to remember: a recent survey revealed that 78% of millennials would choose to spend their hard-earned money on experiences rather than things. This means that using tech to upgrade every element of your customer service is likely to be the most profitable thing you can do in 2023.