There’s no substitute for the human touch — when your customers need help, you want a friendly, knowledgeable, professional person at the front desk to give them the best service they can.
Unfortunately, that’s not always an option. A lot of your staff’s time is taken up with other menial tasks like run-of-the-mill bookings, answering basic questions about when breakfast is served and where the hotel is located, and setting up wake-up calls. All of this leaves them less time to actually interact with the guests in a way that meaningfully enriches their experience.
Luckily, technology can help. Whether it’s by automating the most tedious processes or by helping staff to anticipate guests’ needs, hotel technology is making major strides in empowering your staff to be the best that they can be. Here’s how.
Predicting Maintenance Before It's Needed
It’s an unfortunate fact about hotel maintenance and IT services: guests only notice when something has gone wrong. Whether that’s faulty internet, problems with the technology in meeting rooms, broken lightbulbs, weak air conditioning, or any number of other issues, maintenance problems can really put a damper on a guest’s experience.
With modern technology, your housekeeping and maintenance staff can get ahead of maintenance issues and fix components before they actually break. Smart pressure sensors on water pipes and heaters, smart thermostats, smart lighting, and predictions based on system usage can enable you to get in front of maintenance issues and keep your hotel running smoothly.
Remote Check-In and Check-out
Checking into a hotel on a busy Friday afternoon can be a real annoyance — waiting in line for half an hour just so the person behind the desk can hand you a plastic room key is no one’s cup of tea. And at the other end, waiting to check out on a Sunday morning when you’re already running late for your flight is just as stressful.
That’s where technology can help your staff work faster and more efficiently. Many hotels now allow remote check-in — just like guests can check in for their flights before they get to the counter, they can check in to your hotel before they ever step through the door.
Once they get there, they can quickly grab keys from the front desk, pick them up at a kiosk, or even go straight to their room, using their phone as a room key. And if they’re in a hurry when they check out, they can do so remotely from the taxi on the way to the airport.
Even better, you can use that info to help your staff better prepare for their visit. When guests check in remotely, you can make sure that housekeeping has finished with their room before they arrive, and when guests check out, you can automatically notify them that the room is ready to be cleaned.
Smart Room Service
Food delivery apps like Grubhub and DoorDash use mobile apps that remember your address, your delivery instructions, your payment info, and even your personal cuisine preferences. With today’s technology, your hotel’s room service can do the same.
Room service apps can be connected to each individual room so that guests can place orders in advance — like when they’re on their way back to the hotel at the end of the day, or if they want breakfast first thing in the morning — and order on their phone and laptop. You can even send notifications in the early evening, encouraging them to order in rather than going out to find food nearby.
Better Phone Systems Through VoIP
Analog phone systems are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. With a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system, your rooms aren’t tied to a particular phone number. You can add or move phone lines as you see fit, incorporating lines for conference phones, new departments, or third-party services.
With a VoIP system, guests won’t have to wait on hold just because the person at the front desk is busy with a face-to-face interaction. They can be routed through an automated phone tree to get the basic information they want or sent to an off-site answering service without even knowing that the call has been forwarded.
Letting a phone system handle the small tasks like telling people your address, setting up wake-up calls, and letting them know when breakfast starts will leave your staff free to handle the more important human interactions that really improve a guest’s experience.
As an added bonus, VoIP systems can save hoteliers a substantial amount of money, especially on online faxing, scaling up phone systems, and international calling. By some estimates, savings could be as much as 60-80 percent.
Technology Can Help Your Staff Be Better
You hired your staff for their people skills, not their ability to enter data into a computer. But even in today’s high tech world, they still spend time on menial tasks that would be better handled by a computer.
Technology can change all that by expediting the simple, repetitive tasks that computers are best at, enabling your staff to put their energy to better use making sure your guests have the best experience they can have.