By Jos Schaap, Founder and CEO of StayNTouch
Let's use this understanding to take a closer look at the mobile evolution. Across the hospitality industry, we're seeing the rapid implementation of mobile functionality solutions based on guests' demonstrated preference for mobile engagement and convenience. Within this trend, hotels are investing in apps, improved mobile booking technology, mobile keys, mobile kiosks/concierge and more.
Mobile keys have captured the interest of hoteliers and guests across the industry. There are a number of reasons for this, including the environmentally friendly and sustainable nature of an app-generated key in place of a plastic keycard, increased security and front desk by-pass. In fact, a study released in March shows that 73% of guests want to bypass the front desk, and 63% would prefer a mobile key solution.
However, it's important to realize that capitalizing on the true power (and ROI) of mobile extends far beyond just installing a mobile key solution, and stopping there. Without the underpinnings of a strong, versatile and mobile PMS, just having a mobile key solution may only fix a small portion of the guest engagement challenge that hoteliers face today. Basically, it might just be a piece of the cake, while your guests are left still hungry for more.
Rather, hoteliers need to adopt a holistic approach to mobile and the way in which it can (positively) impact every fact of a hotel's operations. This approach should focus on an intuitive PMS system, seamless mobile check-in/out technology and guest self-service stations, as well as mobile keys.
A genuinely intuitive hotel PMS system should effectively enhance the daily workings of your front desk operations, rate management, group management, reservations, housekeeping's and financials, all at a glance. While an upgraded PMS may not be immediately recognizable to a guest, you can trust that they will quickly appreciate the service advantage it provides. Why? Because an empowered, mobile staff removes barriers and services guests where they are, 24/7. By freeing your staff from the limitations of a task-oriented service model, you are enabling them to connect with guests in a valuable way and provide enhanced, personalized service. They can interact with the hotel property and guests in an interactive, responsive way while also increasing revenue opportunity with upsell prompts from the PMS. These upgrade and package prompts can even be built-in to the guest self-service stations, ensuring each guest is in complete control of their experience. With this functionality in place, you can cater to those guests who prefer a low-touch, efficiency-based service model as well as those who prefer a more personalized experience.
Further, your mobile check-in/out solution is just as critical (if not more so) than your mobile key. The check-in and check-out process represents each guests' first and last impression of your hotel, after all. A comprehensive and foolproof mobile check-out solution should not only work seamlessly each and every time, but it should empower the guest with choice of service, provide a sense of exclusive connection, differentiate your hotel, offer upgrades and monetize late check-in/out.
When it comes to mobile, it's about the whole picture — not just part of it. Ensure you are setting your hotel up for long-term success with a complete, multi-faceted mobile solution in place. With this approach, you can not only weather the tide of change, but you can continuously get ahead of it to offer a truly innovative experience for your guests.