Do you have what your customers want? While the hospitality industry has traditionally put its emphasis on offering personal, face-to-face interactions, today’s guests are actually shifting away from this. Blame the Internet, blame smartphones…blame what you will, but the fact of the matter is that modern travelers are growing increasingly independent and want to stay in hotels that accommodate their needs and desires. Welcome to the age of self service.
Think about everything that can be accomplished on a smartphone or mobile device. There’s an app for just about everything, right? So why wouldn’t your customers expect the same from your hotel? A recent survey conducted by TripAdvisor revealed that more than 1/3 (34%) of mobile-connected travelers want to see self-service options at hotels - and that number is growing.
Here’s the kicker, though: only 11% of hotels currently offer this level of self-service. That means that the time is ripe for your business to swoop in and corner the market - especially when you consider the fact that 60% of travelers have indicated that they’re more likely to choose to stay in hotels with a smartphone check-in option than those that don’t.
Your mission (should you choose to accept it): to woo your existing and prospective guests with self-service options that will make their travel experience faster, more convenient, and more comfortable.
The Psychology of Self-Service
In order to meet your customer’s needs, you’ve got to really understand them. Why are today’s travelers becoming less interested in one-on-one interactions with a concierge and more interested in self-service options? The answer is simple: time.
Our time is precious to us. Whether we’re traveling for business or for pleasure, we want to maximize our time, and that means that we don’t want to be held up by waiting in a line in the hotel lobby. People hate waiting in line so much that the Cornell Center for Hospitality Research dedicated a two year study to figuring out just how long it takes before Americans hit their “breaking point” when it comes to delays (a mere 5 minute delay can result in a 47% decrease in guest satisfaction!)
Using Self-Service to Save Time
Now that we understand why people are seeking out hotels that offer self-service options, we can consider the ways in which self-service can be used to meet guest needs.
Mobile Check-In - By the time your guest arrives on-site, they’re ready to drop their belongings off in their room and either crash, rush off to a business meeting, or get out and start seeing the sights. What they don’t want to do is wait in a line just to get their keys. Offering mobile check-in will speed up the process significantly.
Self Check-Out - Mobile devices and VoIP systems alike provide travelers with the option of checking out of your hotel on their own - no more shuffling their feet in line at the front desk when they’re really in a big hurry to catch their flight!
Wakeup Calls - Using a VoIP phone system makes it fast and simple for your guests to set up their own wakeup calls in their own native language. Guests can also take advantage of extensive scheduling options can can also choose from a number of features, enabling them to wake up to weather forecasts, news reports, etc.
Self-Service really is the way that the world is moving, but that doesn’t mean that your hotel should become a giant robot. Make sure that you still offer a friendly face and personalized interactions for those who are still shy about self-service, and take the time to walk interested guests through the process of taking advantage of your self-service options to ensure maximum success.
Learn more about how VoIP can take your hotel’s self-service capabilities to the next level by reaching out the PhoneSuite today.