Everyone in Hospitality is talking about Contactless Experiences for Hotel Guests. While it was only being selectively deployed pre-covid, now the conversation has become serious.
Why now is a perfect time for Contactless solutions for Hospitality?
Never before has an environment been created where Guests would be more enthusiastic in adopting contactless solutions as a means to initiating service requests. Be it anything. In Room Requests. F&B Ordering. Spa Reservations. Anything that the hotel can serve on a platter for the Guests to choose from a web-based URL.
This has been the most significant offshoot of the COVID-19 pandemic. Solutions that were good to employ have suddenly become a must have. The need for minimal physical contact has been a boon to notch up the service quality for the Hospitality Industry.
Hotels that take up this opportunity and align their solutions effectively will benefit the post-covid travel boom that is expected.
How to make the right decision on contactless solutions?
Some basic FAQ’s should be looked at before proceeding with any contactless solution for guest services:
Should I go for a Web App vs Native App?
Any venture into a Native App should be very carefully considered. Having a native app may not be the most effective long term solution. Post Covid, once the safety concerns drop and travel resumes, the same obstacles to conversion still hold valid. App Downloads. While guests may be inclined to download an app during the pandemic, this may not be the case post covid. Simplicity always wins. QR code based scanning leading to a web based app is always the most easiest way to convert guests into an online solution model. Guests would not download multiple apps when they stay in multiple hotels. However, some global chains might still benefit with a native app for their guests who are part of their Loyalty programs. But, as a whole, most of the hotel chains are better off by at least offering a web based solution.
What services should a hotel offer?
All hotels need at least a core offering. By core, we mean that at the very minimum, the guests should have a platform to communicate using social messaging apps, request for services directly from the app, having the guest directory online and having the ability to see the latest offers at the hotel. Going ahead with anything more involves complexities of managing that information as this is not a one-time exercise. Only Hotels that have the infrastructure to manage it in real-time should adopt such all-inclusive apps which provide information about every possible area of interest for the guest.
How should communication be handled?
Guest communication channels should not be limited. The option to choose their own favorite social messaging app should be offered by default. Once this is achieved, the lines of communication is opened forever with the guest. They can reach out whenever they need. The chances of them seeking out a proprietary messaging channel of the hotel after check-out is remote.
What about Chatbots?
Entry level chatbots is always useful. Programming Chatbots and maintaining them is not a simple task. Again, big hotels with the required infrastructure and the resources to train these bots and manage them should use them. For the others, simpler chatbots which take care of basic guest services with a human intervention at a subsequent stage makes far more sense. This will not only help to control costs but also bring in a desired level of automation with the available resources.
This pandemic has provided hotels the opportunity to bring in such solutions before the inevitable travel boom takes off and those that do will reap the benefits of higher guest satisfaction and loyalty.