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Contactless guest experience: a hotel industry game changer

Oier Fano D.
contactless guest experience

The hotel industry is advancing at a cruising speed. For instance, a full contactless experience might have seemed impossible ten years ago, but today it’s a trend. And it is here to stay.

A guest can now book and pay for a room without ever having to walk into the lobby thanks to a contact-free interface. If your hotel has a mobile app, your guests can have all the info on arrival or check out right from there.

By just using their phones, customers can also:

  • Chat with the front desk 
  • Order room service
  • Book a wellness treatment 
  • Access to as many services as you want to offer

This is very convenient in terms of customer satisfaction. Because it's all about making guests happy

We're going to look at some of the hottest examples of contactless hospitality services and dig into the specifics. You will immediately understand why the hospitality industry should be showcasing the contactless experience.

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First of all, what's a contactless guest experience?

The first thing that comes to mind when you read the title of this post is: what do we mean by contactless technology and how is it being used by hotels? 

Long story short: allowing guests to do everything they can during their stay with their smartphones.

This can make our business processes more efficient. Through all these tech solutions, guests can do pretty much anything with just a touch of a button. That means less paper, plastic, and energy. Not to mention the immediacy. 

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic threw us into a world of contamination risks, contactless technology has become a priority. To adapt to the changing world, the hospitality industry had to embrace contactless technology

Two years later, the digital transformation and contactless hospitality are the norm. However, even before the pandemic, the concept was catching on among hotels. 

Now, the customer experience is directly tied to contactless solutions, contactless payments, digital concierge services, and real-time decision-making tools.

Why are top hoteles investing in contactless guest experience?

Are trends like these just fads? Certainly not. The guest experience policies are safer and more convenient in a contactless post-Covid-19 world. A contactless guest experience improves guest satisfaction, increases revenue opportunities, and reduces hotel operational costs. 

The traveler of today expects instant action like immediate access to their rooms through mobile keys. Or instant check-out. Instant communication. Or room service managed through their devices. In short: customers can enjoy services in a fast, personalized and modern way. 

However, if you are still not convinced about why the top hotels are investing in this trend, here are some of the key reasons:

 

🚀 The shorter the path, the faster the sale

While booking has always been a contactless activity, you can minimize interactions between guests and staff at the property by allowing prepayment through guest apps. And you can increase revenue too by offering upsells on the booking engine and during pre-arrival communications.

Are you willing to increase your revenue? Keep in mind that guests are more likely to purchase a product or service if the path to consumption is shorter. Whenever they are tempted to purchase, make it simple for them. 

Avoid telephone calls, paper menus, and long waits. Otherwise, they might hesitate. This is not in the hotelier's interest. 

 

 

 

🌎 Sustainable is the new normal

More and more hotels are caring for the environment. Some do it because they really think it's necessary. Others, because they want to attract more customers. In any case, guests do really take the environment into account when booking, as Forbes highlights in this article

  • 68% of millennials bought a product with a social or environmental benefit in the past 12 months.
  • 87% of consumers will have a more positive image of a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  • 88% will be more loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues.
  • 87% would buy a product with a social and environmental benefit if given the opportunity.

Especially the younger generations. 

Therefore, contactless technology is desirable: it eliminates a lot of plastic and paper from the hotel's daily life by digitizing its service offering. There is no need for physical menus or instructions. 

The guest's life will be much more comfortable while saving tons of paper and plastic. By providing a contactless experience, hoteliers will increase the visibility of services, while enhancing upselling and streamlining staff operations. A win-win situation. 

💥 COVID changed our lives… and the hotels’ guest experience too

Our lives have been changed by Covid. Whether we like it or not. In addition, our way of understanding tourism and the hotel business. 

We're more sensitive around huge crowds and public surfaces. And many more things.  

According to Emerald, “the Covid-19 outbreak will certainly increase continuous changes, and, predictably, the tourism industry pays more attention to avoid tourism activity in mass tourism destination. How people spend their leisure time has shifted due to the outbreak and related social distancing rules, and these attitudes are likely to be sustained in the long term”.

Due to this, COVID accelerated digital change in the hotel industry. Hotels promote policies that don't let people touch objects after the pandemic.

The contactless technology fits here like a glove. If you implement it, the guest might not even notice it. What you can take for granted is that If you don't change the way your hotel works, and the guest needs to touch a ton of things to get what they want, you're going to drive customers away. 

3 Examples of a great contactless guest experience

Now let's look at some examples of contactless experiences that have been trending in the last few months. There are plenty more, such as voice assistants, integrated analytics that lead to real-time informed decisions and many others. But our focus will be on three of the main key contactless features for hotels in the international market.

1. The digital concierge is non-uniformed, but human

Guests can get instant help from the digital concierge on their phones or laptops. The digital concierge helps guests get information and answers when they need it. 

In addition, by assigning tasks more easily to staff, the concierge can get the job done faster. In a pretty human way. Since this is technology handled by humans. In a more streamlined, seamless way. 

A hotel's virtual concierge can be used for a lot of things. The main use is to give guests a better experience. For instance, guests don't need to worry about someone checking them in if they arrive late. 

With a touch of a finger, guests can ask for an early breakfast. Guests can also use it to find their room and other places at the property. Or they can ask how to heat their rooms, an extra duvet or pillow, information on where to go out at night or visit a museum…

Hotel bookings and restaurant reservations can be driven by digital concierges too. They can also promote onsite amenities and guest resources. When guests can book these services more easily, it takes down the barrier to booking. Perfect in terms of upselling. 

2. Let your guests order food as if you were a food delivery company

Guest apps are on the rise in the hotel industry. There are countless functionalities on these platforms, but those that give visibility to the product offering are triggering hotel revenues.

In other words, you should allow your guests to order food and drinks at your hotel as if it were Glovo. You're going to simplify the purchase process. You will make it easier to purchase food and drink. For instance, these products that you are proud of, but have not ended up being a best seller will get more visibility.

It's about shortening the purchase path. In essence, it's all about making life easier for our guests when they feel the need to buy

Make the entire food and beverage buying experience contactless. All except eating and drinking, of course!

Pro Tip. But hold on a second. Digitizing your food and beverage offerings is only the beginning. This also applies to the rest of the hotel's amenities, such as wellness and massage. This is about making everything that your hotel customers can book or purchase available on their smartphones.

Once again, it's about shortening the purchase path. In essence, it's all about making life easier for our guests when they feel the need to buy. Let them keep the momentum going. Roll out the red carpet whenever your guests experience that need to buy. 

3. The smartphone is the key

There will be no turning back for the mobile key. Nevertheless, there are still hotels that have not embraced this technology. But most of them already have locks adapted to this trend, which has many benefits for both guests and the hotel. 

It is common for the guest to lose their plastic keys. If you would like to request a late checkout, you will need to visit the reception to have your key updated. It is inconvenient. 

In addition, this is necessary since after check out time, your analog key will be deactivated. If you utilize a mobile key, you will be able to request a room change or update your key from anywhere. Anytime.

Let's be honest. It is very difficult for hotel guests to lose their smartphones. While it is almost a tradition to lose a plastic card. 

This keyless entry system, which uses both NFC and Bluetooth technology, is what we call a wow experience. Access to a guest's room is easy via a smartphone screen. There is no need to carry a physical key. Hotel rooms with keyless entry provide added security, convenience, and portability with one contactless service.

Additionally, through hotel technology, guests benefit from keyless entry services in a variety of ways including cost savings on key replacement, paperless and plasticless experience, liability management against COVID and enhancing the guest experience

In short: a good contactless experience increases the overall guest satisfaction

Let's summarize. The contactless experience trend is essential if you want your guests to have a good time. Your client will love it if you make it easy for them. 

Use guest apps to speed things up. You can surprise them with mobile keys. Give them all the information on their phones. Using no paper or plastic. 

Let them have a direct and human interaction with staff through their screens. Stand out from your competitors with a seamless contactless guest experience.

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