The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the rate at which the lodging industry has adopted technology and hotels that do not offer innovative solutions will fall behind[i]. According to KPMG’s recent report, Customer Experience in the New Reality, there has been a 300% increase in guests indicating they plan to use apps, webchat and SMS chat as their primary modes of communication with hotel and resort establishments. Consumers want to move more of their communication to digital means and listening to this request is imperative[i].
Innovation Meets Safety
Deloitte reported that a large majority of regular hotel guests indicated receiving an email that outlines new cleaning practices in advance of their travels would be very or somewhat important in making them feel more comfortable[ii]. It is clear that the majority of guests are concerned about contracting the COVID-19 virus and steps should be taken to put them at ease. Employing technology to increase guest safety will ensure guests remember their stay long after travel restrictions have lifted.
Fortunately, hoteliers can use app platforms to communicate with guests, personalizing and enhancing the guest experience from a safe distance. Hotel staff can send guests notifications when their rooms have been cleaned, with details regarding specific sanitation practices used, to give them extra peace of mind. To add, guests can use apps to order meals and beverages, request assistance and receive answers to questions instantly, with superior customer service at their fingertips.
Starting off on the Right Foot
First impressions matter and starting a guest’s experience off on the right foot can go a long way. After a long flight, the last thing a traveler wants to experience is a cumbersome check-in process. A hotel app enables a guest to check-in using their phone, through a fast and simple process, eliminating wait times and person-to-person contact. Hotels that do not offer virtual check-in processes will be at a disadvantage, as 81% of business travelers expect hotels to offer reception-free check-ins in the future[iii].
Artificial Intelligence Allows Personalized Communication
Sitel Group’s recent report, Customer Experience Trends in a Post-COVID-19 World, revealed that today’s guests expect assistance powered by artificial intelligence (AI), as well as personalized communication. Smart capacities and services were considered perks in the past; today they have become necessities in the hospitality space.
A solution like Salesforce leverages AI to provide hotels with a chatbot option to elevate their customer service. The chatbot can ask many different questions based on customer inputs to resolve guests’ concerns rapidly. If an agent is required to step in to assist a guest, they will have all the information collected by the chat bot available in their console and be completely up to speed. Frequently asked questions can also be loaded to automatically provide guests with answers. Common follow-up questions and concerns can be integrated as well. With an AI interface, natural language processing allows chatbots to recognize language a sit is used in everyday conversations. This makes it much easier for customers to receive the answers they require.
Customized Apps are the Way of the Future
Grace is an app several hotels have used to increase communication between staff and guests, creating a personable experience. The platform allows guests to message hotel staff using their preferred method of communication (WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, etc.). Grace allows hotel staff to respond to guests’ needs much faster than they previously could. A customer’s information is connected to their profile, which eliminates the need to ask for their name or room number. A guest could simply text the words, “more towels please” and the request will be fulfilled without them having to make a phone call[i].
The more personalized the experience, the better. Building a customized app with a solution like Salesforce ensures the app your hotel uses is as relevant to your guests as possible. Salesforce’s App Cloud Mobile can assist hoteliers in learning how to build apps without code that scale easily, are secure and can be connected to Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms. Salesforce allows hotels to build apps tailored to their guests, rather than adopting a generic solution created elsewhere.
At Gerent, our depth and breadth of knowledge, as well as our understanding of key segments and service areas in the lodging space allow us to go the extra mile. We are pioneer implementers of Salesforce in the hospitality industry and have helped many travel companies redefine their customer experiences, providing them with a competitive advantage.
To learn more about how Gerent can help your hotel or resort drive digital transformation with Salesforce, contact us today.