Mobile phones have become the ultimate travel companion for consumers as they express a growing preference and need to engage with hotels through channels such as SMS, web chat and chatbots that support these devices. This has opened up a whole new world of consumer engagement and marketing opportunities for hotels.
I will use my recent stay at a hotel on the Las Vegas strip to help illustrate where mobile self-service solutions could have made things easier, efficient, and more enjoyable.
After booking the room online I immediately received an email confirmation with the details of my stay; however, emails three weeks early will undoubtedly get lost in the shuffle and are difficult to find at the drop of hat.
Hotels could alleviate this by sending guests an SMS reminder just before their arrival with all of the necessary details while taking advantage of an excellent opportunity to upsell with room upgrades or cross-sell by offering to make reservations at one of the on-site restaurants.
Check-In and On-Site Amenities
As hotels set themselves apart from their competitors they are looking for new ways to make the guest experience more enjoyable.
When I arrived at the front desk there was a huge line. By offering self-check-in services through mobile or disposable apps guests can bypass long lines at the front desk.
Aside from mobile apps, hotels can leverage SMS, Interactive Text Response (ITR), and chatbot technology to help guests to take care of things without making a phone call. Much like reservation confirmations for hotels, reservation reminders are extremely helpful assets for restaurants. Restaurants can be proactive and send out reminders before the reservation with logistics such as when to arrive, where to park, and daily specials.
In my case I had one of two options: I could navigate through my browser, find the restaurants phone number, and make the call; or log into my reservation app—that I had forgotten my password for—and look up my reservation info. Chatbot technology provides guests with an easier alternative where they can simply text the venue “What time is my dinner reservation?” The same goes for requesting housekeeping services, “I need more towels” or “I am ready to have my room cleaned.”
The next day we planned on hanging by the pool, and we had pre-made cabana reservations. However, I was instructed to be at the pool concierge just before 9:00am to confirm our reservation and claim my cabana—or I would be charged a $100 no-show fee. This could have been easily taken care of from the comfort of my room through a simple exchange over SMS, “Mr. Rastatter, we have reserved cabana 7 for you which can be viewed here (hyperlink to pool map). Please confirm.”
The possibilities are endless and guests already expect hotels to offer self-service options—and hoteliers can benefit too because guest service technology brings an incredible marketing value and more efficient guest service operations. These factors alone should make the decision to deploy mobile self-service technology a no-brainer. Oh, and by the way—even with a cabana host it would have been nice to send a text, “Can we order another round”—just saying!
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