The hotel industry is thriving, and that’s good news! But it also means that there’s more competition than ever. Guests also have better resources for finding the perfect hotel for their personal or business trips. And on top of that, guests put more stock in the opinions of their friends, family, colleagues, and peers than ever.
What does this all mean for the modern hotelier? It means that more than ever, it’s vital to keep your guests as happy and satisfied as possible. Happy guests become repeat guests, leave good reviews, and tell their friends and families what a good time they had when they stayed with you. Here’s how better technology and better communication can help you put your best foot forward.
Keep Up With Technology
One of the biggest mistakes that hotels make is letting their technology become obsolete. It’s somewhat understandable — with hundreds of rooms, it can be expensive to upgrade all the TVs, door locks, thermostats, or phones at the same time. But letting the hotel fall behind the times will make it feel inconvenient and outdated.
One of the biggest upgrades you can make is to switch your analog phone system to a state-of-the-art, modern, digital PBX system. By using a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) system rather than old-fashioned copper wires, you’ll add versatility, flexibility, and efficiency to your hotel — and save money, too!
Engage With Your Guests Before They Arrive
Your guests generally don’t begin their visit when they walk through the front door — they begin their visit as soon as they book their room, which might be months in advance. As soon as you have their reservation on the books, you should be doing your best to make sure they enjoy their stay as much as possible.
Send your future guests an email with some ideas for things to do in the area. Let them know all the amenities your hotel offers, like a gym, restaurants, and business facilities. A week before their stay, you can even send them an email with the weather forecast and any local events that will coincide with their stay.
Emphasize Face-to-Face Interaction
Digitizing your hotel will allow you to automate some of the repetitive tasks that currently occupy your front desk staff. Placing room service orders, scheduling wake-up calls, booking meeting rooms, and even checking in and out are easier handled online or at a kiosk in the lobby.
Somewhat counterintuitively, leaving the easy work to the computers actually allows your human interactions to be even better. How many times have your staff had to make someone wait at the front desk because they were handling a phone call? At most hotels, it’s a daily occurrence. But with a digital phone system, your front desk phone calls can be instantly re-routed to another location, leaving your staff free to talk to customers face-to-face.
One simple trick you can use to improve your in-person interactions is to make a “cheat sheet” of the guests that are arriving that day — their names, where they’re from, the nature of their trip, and anything else they provided you before they arrived. That’ll give your staff the ability to make better small talk, and it will add a personal touch to your guests’ visit from the moment they arrive.
What goes on behind the scenes at your hotel is just as important as what’s happening in front of the guests. For example, a guest who’s looking forward to wandering around and seeing the sights in a new city will want to check in early. If you don’t allow guests to check in until 4:00 p.m., they might look elsewhere.
So why is your check-in time so late? Because that’s the earliest you can guarantee that housekeeping will be finished with the room. Housekeeping goes floor-to-floor, only reporting back when they’ve finished their rounds. This inefficient system has a cascade effect that deters your guests.
With a modern, digital hotel system, your guests can check-out online or with their smartphone as soon as they leave. Housekeeping can be automatically notified the second a room is vacant, and they can go straight there and start cleaning. Guests can set “do not disturb” modes online rather than hanging a door tag, so housekeeping won’t have to walk down hallways knocking on doors to see which rooms are vacant.
All of this will mean that your staff is more efficient at turning over rooms, which means that rooms will be available sooner. Guests can drop off their bags and head out for an exciting afternoon in your city! That’s just one example of how better internal communication can make for a better guest experience.
Ready to Upgrade?
If you’re ready to bring your hotel into the 20th century, a digital PBX system is one of the best ways to update your facility and give your guests the best stay you can. Contact Phonesuite, and we can give you a ballpark estimate of the cost of an upgrade — or we can take a detailed look at your hotel and give you a specific quote. Get in touch!