Whether it’s a business man arriving to speak at a conference, a couple wanting to book dinner at the restaurant, or a group of friends looking for a local shopping centre, every hotel, in every country has a long list of tales of ‘lost guests’, aggravated or confused by limited access to information or direction.
What’s more, the travel industry has evolved hugely over the last five years with fresh competition, tighter purse strings and an increased demand for digital technologies and services. In fact, research from eMarketer, revealed that 148.3 million bookings were made online last year. Technology is changing customer expectations and this has meant that they expect all aspects of their journey to revolve around digital - from booking online to checking in at their hotel. A customer’s digital journey should not simply begin on a product landing page and end with an order confirmation e-mail.
In the same way the journey we take before we travel is becoming more centred on digital, so should the travelling experience itself. We’re all too familiar with booking a trip online, boarding a flight with an electronic ticket, but yet searching around in our bags to check in to a hotel with a confirmation form that we had to print out at home (or cheekily at work, because we don’t own a personal printer). This demonstrates just how the hotel industry, in particular, needs to look deeper at how better to digitally optimise the whole customer journey.
So with technology only set to advance further, what can hoteliers do to ensure they’re catering to the digital demand that guests today expect?
Guests are looking for a quick, flexible and efficient service, all in real-time. They expect a tailored service specifically suited to their needs and preferences, meaning any form of communication needs to be as instant and effortless as possible. While this may seem like a lot, it’s actually just a combination of things that hoteliers should already be implementing and, if not, certainly planning towards.
Hoteliers should be making digital a part of everything they do – taking it beyond traditional interactions such as self-check in and in-room entertainment, to the power of digital marketing, personalisation and real-time information delivery. Whether it be the restaurant menu, special offers at the hotel spa to amenities in the local area, implementing digital signage technologies across the board will not only be projecting a stronger, more unified brand image, but ensure that their lost guests can be provided with information at their fingertips.
With technology only set to advance, hoteliers need to ensure they’re catering for the digital demand that their guests are searching for, all the while providing a streamline experience. Guests who today not only expect but demand an instant service, soon becoming aggravated or confused by limited access to information, and the inability to use digital platforms throughout their stay.