By Kara Heermans, SONIFI Senior Vice President of User Experience and Product Management
Guests who book at luxury properties are craving a unique experience.
They want indulgence, or serenity, or excitement, or novelty. They expect to be pampered and cared for every moment of their stay.
The more touchpoints you offer guests throughout their stay, the stronger that feeling of being looked after, and the more opportunities you have to make a positive lasting impression.
Your services and amenities are specifically designed to evoke that tailor-made feeling for guests.
But is your guest technology carrying through on that same promise?
This isn’t to say technology can replace the human connection and feeling of being cared for that your staff provides guests.
Technology can complement it, though, giving guests options in how they interact with you, creating highly personalized interactions, and providing ways for you to elevate experiences that make you stand out.
Given the prevalence of technology in every aspect of daily life for your guests, it’s crucial for your luxury hotel to consider how you can extend—and improve—your digital hospitality touchpoints.
Some hoteliers make the mistake of assuming a TV is a just a TV, or basic Wi-Fi is good enough—except you’d never say the same when choosing your linens, fixtures, or finishes when you’re trying to create the most luxurious experience.
Today’s guests expect the same attention to detail in digital aspects of their stay, because guest technology has a rare role of both being an amenity and offering an experience at your property.
Take Wi-Fi as an example.
Your Wi-Fi network can be configured to automatically connect returning guests or loyalty members. A custom splash screen for new Wi-Fi logins can be another way you can personalize something you know is important to your guests.
Behind the scenes, prioritize your network to be fast, seamless, and reliable for your guests and your staff.
Having a great Wi-Fi network is foundational to making sure all your front- and back-of-house systems to work smoothly—while also being the top amenity guests expect.
They may not have a lasting memory if the Wi-Fi works as well as you promise it does…but they’ll certainly remember if it doesn’t.
Digital hospitality is about giving the right experience for the guest at the right time.
Think of how you can enhance digital hospitality with the technology in your guest rooms.
With an interactive platform that integrates with your PMS system, you can have the in-room TV be an extension of the ambience you want to set for the guest.
An interactive system can automatically turn on the TV at check-in and be set to greet the guest with a personal message, imagery, and music, becoming part of the elevated experience as your guests enter the room.
The basic expectation is that the TV will have things for guests to watch in their downtime in the room. Like every touchpoint at your property, you can still go above expectations and provide the best of the best entertainment.
The right casting solution can give guests easy access to stream content from thousands of apps on the TV, while also keeping their personal data private and secure.
Look into your guest demographics and channel data to create a custom TV channel lineup.
When you’re thinking of the kind of extraordinary experience you want to extend into a guest’s room, the TV can be used for so much more than entertainment.
As the biggest screen in the room, it’s the perfect place for you to showcase your property using your luxury brand’s voice and marketing.
Custom videos and other features throughout the user experience give you opportunities to spotlight on-site amenities, call out exclusive specials, or promote activities that generate revenue for your property.
The experience can be taken further with an integration to your guest information system.
Promotions can be personalized to guests based on their loyalty status or past actions—think complimentary drinks at your restaurant, offers to schedule spa services, and videos of golf tips for your course.
As they interact with the system, the promotions they select can then be fed back to your guest information system, growing your guest profile. It becomes this ongoing feedback loop, with guest usage behavior driving more customized experiences and engagement.
A better understanding of your guest helps you better tailor their guest journey throughout their stay now, and in the future—leading to more satisfaction and loyalty.
Using the TV or a texting program for guest messaging is a great way to reduce workload on your staff and give you one more way to communicate with your guests. Messages can be automated to:
- Check in with guests during their stay
- Show them how (and why) to download your mobile app
- Highlight the benefits of joining your loyalty program
You can also use the TV to make it easy for guests to do the things they want to do. Displaying QR codes quickly gets menus, reservations, maps, and booking sites onto guests’ phones, where they’re used to accessing them.
When it’s time for guests to check out, make it seamless and stress-free. Use automations in your interactive system and mobile app to let guests get a digital folio and request a late checkout. Message them about shuttle and luggage storage services you have. Give a mobile order discount for one last coffee on their way out.
One-to-one personal interaction is still paramount at luxury properties, but with a tech-savvy consumer base, it’s critical to make your digital touchpoints convenient, easy, and diverse. Give guests several ways to connect with you, take advantage of your amenities, and explore everything you have to offer.
Like every interaction with your staff, the technology at your property can be something that impresses or disappoints, and that becomes synonymous with your brand reputation.
So when considering all the ways your property extends uniquely luxurious hospitality to guests, don’t underestimate the impact of digital hospitality.
Read the article at Luxury Hoteliers Magazine