Around the country, hotels are using technology to provide high-touch experiences for guests. Their goal: to understand and anticipate their needs, and by offering new conveniences and options to boost the guest experience.
Data and Communication are Foundational
Bill DeForrest is CEO of Spire Hospitality, a hotel management company based in Chicago. DeForrest says he sees some trends when it comes to the use of technology to create “wow” experiences for guests and customers. Using data to better anticipate and meet guest needs is a big one.
“Our hotels have started using data to understand our guests in a more personal way, as appropriate to them and giving them control of their experience,” says DeForrest. “Learning how to respond and react to guest data insight is a trend that has started and will grow over the next few years.”
Boosting the convenience and immediacy of the ability to connect guests with staff is another important trend.
DeForrest points to Embassy Suites by Hilton Seattle North Lynwood as an example. This site is using a cloud-based technology platform to communicate with guests through PCs or smartphones. Wherever guests are, they can conveniently interact with the property team, says DeForrest. “Since implementation, the property’s guest overall satisfaction scores have risen 45 spots against the brand.”
At Four Seasons Hotels and Resort, Four Seasons Chat—a digital service allowing guests to send and receive instant messages with property teams before, throughout, and after their stay provides guests with access to service at any time, from anywhere.
A Round-Up of Creative Guest Service Options
Beyond big data and tech-enabled communication, hotels are finding other ways to improve the guest experience:
- Chicago’s The Blackstone added state-of-the-art technology and modern amenities to its 335 guest rooms and suites. A complimentary TV entertainment system provides guests with the ability to enjoy Internet TV in-room by signing into their Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora, and Crackle accounts. Guest rooms feature 50″ flat screen televisions with over 40 HD channels.
- A number of Charlestowne Hotels properties offer in-room iPads, including The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens, so guests can make digital requests – such as ordering a cocktail from the bar, setting up tickets to local entertainment, or requesting that the valet bring their car up to the front steps, eliminating a walk to the lobby or call to the front desk.
- On the shoreline of Gold Beach, Oregon, Pacific Reef Hotel recently unveiled its “Adventure Theater,” the world’s first oceanfront outdoor theater, positioned along the property’s direct access to the southern Oregon coastline. The 33′-wide, 12′-high theater consists of smart glass that transitions from opaque to clear so daytime views remain unobstructed. Families can enjoy the theater via open-air seating or from the comfort of their balcony rocking chairs.
- Valet staff at RLH Corporation, a hospitality brand with Pacific Northwest roots, have adopted the Apple Watch to allow them to manage and act on car retrieval requests directly from their wrists without physically being present at the hotel’s valet stand.
- Mr. C Seaport, set to open in New York City early 2018, is installing new systems designed to help staff members gain instant knowledge into a guest’s status while also increasing guest convenience and privacy. For example, a combination of motion and contact sensors let staff know when rooms are empty or occupied—eliminating awkward room service run-ins! Guests also can designate their status as “Do Not Disturb” or “Maid Service” from inside their room via LEDs designed into room number signs will signify the status to staff both visually and via a signal sent to a computer/mobile device.
Hotel guests in the 21st century are finding themselves pampered by a wide range of amenities fueled by new technology. Staff also benefit from systems that allow them to do their jobs more efficiently while providing exceptional service. What role is technology playing in your facilities?