Digitization has arrived in every business vertical and it is here to stay. It is up to us to either leverage it to get competitive advantage or just be left behind. Talking about hospitality, sky is the limit when it comes to the power one gets to contextually connect with their customers with personalized campaigns. Not only the customers get retained but also they end up referring other customers due to the service they receive across omni-channels.
From an operational standpoint, a self-service model can not only reduce the workload on stuff significantly, but also can cut waiting time and decrease operational bottlenecks. Not only this, omni-channel apps collect customer data and provide essential insights on user behavior which eventually is deeply analyzed for the hotels to comprehensively figure out the customer preferences and reach out to them at the right time with the right offers.
Gone are the days when one would book hotel rooms by directly calling the hotel reservation or check out the services and collect feedback by being physically present. With over 2 billion smartphone users in the world and over 85% of a user’s time being spent on apps, it is evident that consumers are engaging with your business – hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, night club through various channels—web, mobile, social etc.
Not only users, but the hospitality industry itself is focusing on innovation and omni-channel digitization to provide a superior guest experience. Hotels and restaurants are now building world-class apps (if they’ve not already built one) or providing smartphones or tablets to users to interact quickly on the fly.
Top rated hotels across the world have installed iPads in their rooms to enable their guests to control room lights, air conditioners, TVs and as well as to order/book services as well. Not only this, the fine dining restaurants had already started providing tablets to their guests instead of the menu card, with which they can check the entire details of all the dishes along with their pictures, add items in their cart, make an order and call a waiter anytime they want with just their fingertips . . . no more struggling for the waiter’s attention or details of food.
You could debate that it’s not a big deal for a top hotel or a restaurant to spend on digitization to enhance a guest’s experience as they have massive budgets and what about a hotel or a restaurant that does not have a big budget to spend on technology?
Given the statistics, almost every guest that checks-in to a hotel or enters a restaurant has a smartphone or a tablet. With tele carriers providing data at such low cost, it is easy for people to stay connected anywhere and at any point of time. A hotel or a restaurant can simply have an app developed and ask their customers to download it on their smartphones/tablets. But the story doesn’t end there, the business needs to engage with customers to provide a great experience to its customers!
Let’s take a scenario – You own a 4-star hotel in Manhattan which goes by the name of AmazingXP. Jennifer who resides in Boston books a room for the weekend through an online travel website.
Day 1: Arrival
Its 1:00 PM and she has just reached your hotel and just when she is about to enter the hotel she notices a standee at the entrance which reads “Download our Mobile App for hassle-free hotel experience. Faster check-ins/check-outs. Order room service. Get minimum 10% discount on services.” She quickly opens her app store and downloads the app. The app asks for her basic contact details – Name, Phone, Email, Password and asks her to upload a picture of her passport and enter her Booking ID. Within seconds, she receives a confirmation message saying “Booking is confirmed. Please collect your room key from the front desk”. She heads over to the front desk, displays the confirmation message and takes her room key. Delighted with hassle-free and fast check in she goes to her room to get some rest. On her way to her room, she gets a push-notification saying “Order room service and get 10% off on food bill. Choose from a wide menu range.” She opens the app and checks the food menu in the lift and places the order by the time she gets to her room. Once inside, she unpacks her bag and freshens up. She receives another message on her phone which says “Your meal is ready. Will be delivered shortly.” In about 5 minutes, the doorbell rings and she hears a voice saying, “Room Service.”
She then has her meal and decides to rest for a while afterwards. She wakes up around 5:00 PM from her siesta and checks her phone to find another message which reads “Happy hours! 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Divine Bar! Book a table.” She books a table for herself for 6:00 PM through the app, gets ready and heads down to the bar to make the most of the offer.
While at the bar, she orders her drink and decides to browse through the app to check out the other features – Taxi booking, Spa Booking, Restaurants & Bars, Places of Attraction, City Map, Room Service, Laundry, Manhattan Nightlife.
She decides to make a spa booking for the next day for 12:00 PM and avails a 20% discount instantly. Pleased with the experience so far, she decides to share it with her friends on Facebook & Twitter. She finishes her drink and then decides to explore the Nightlife. She books a taxi for herself through the app itself and gets an instant confirmation with the car and driver details. The driver calls her when he reaches the hotel and she boards the cab and leaves.
She returns to the hotel around 11:00 PM. Exhausted, she goes to her room to sleep. Once in her room she receives a notification saying “Breakfast will be served between 7AM-10.30AM at Fresco Restaurant, Ground Floor”. She puts an alarm for 7.30 AM and goes to sleep.
Next morning her alarm rings and she notices a message already on her phone “Breakfast Buffet from 7 AM-10:30 AM at Fresco Restaurant, Ground Floor”. She quickly gets ready and heads down to the restaurant. After the breakfast, she heads to the hotel beach to relax for a bit.
Around 11:30 AM she receives a message saying “Please head down to the ‘Mystique Spa’ on first floor for your Spa!” She heads for the spa directly from the beach. After her relaxing 1 hour spa, she heads back to her room and decides to order in. She opens the app and orders her lunch . . .
Day 3: Check-out
After her breakfast, she decides to go for a swim before checking out. After her swim, she heads back to the room, freshens up and packs her bag. She opens the app and checks out. Her bill is displayed on the app with an option to “Make online payment”. She makes the payment and receives another message saying “Thank you Jennifer for choosing our Hotel. We hope you had a comfortable stay. Use code “20STAY” for your next booking to enjoy 20% discount on your room booking. We look forward to serving you again”
Jennifer books her cab through the app and leaves for the airport. “What a great time I had in Manhattan, thank you @AmazingXPManhattan for the great experience” she tweets before she boards her flight . . .
But wait, that’s not it! She receives a reply to her tweet instantly from @AmazingXPManhattan thanking her for her stay and a referral link to share with her family and friends through which she can earn extra reward points.
How are the uses cases mentioned above achieved?
- Her profile and contact information was stored and mapped with her booking with User Management APIs
- With real-time actionable analytics AmazingXP was able to place her in the right segment
- She was served with the contextual and personalized content with the help of push notifications
- Taxi booking API was integrated in the AmazingXP app itself with the help of API Management
- With the omni-channel single view of Jennifer, AmazingXP was able to map her tweet with her stay in the hotel and responded quickly
- With the growth hacking toolkit, the hotel enabled Jennifer to refer her friends to get more discounts
Coming to the point, investment in omni-channel digitization may sound like a big task but the above story shows that it will not only help you earn brownie points in customer experience but also help in achieving long lasting customer loyalty, referrals and upselling.
ShepHertz App42 Platform is built exactly for this – reduce extra expenditure, get digitized and be on a continual transformation path to launch new updates, campaigns and use cases in just a few days. To know more, simply put in a request for the demo to get a concise understanding of the platform and how it can help you gain competitive advantage.