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My Usual Please!

Posted by Jeff Hiscox on Oct 15, 2015 9:11:58 AM

Technology still has a role in personalized services

Personalization of goods and services has been around for longer than you might think. In the past, consumers were used to turning up at the local café for their morning coffee to find the waiter had it ready and waiting for them, made just how they like it. In today’s world, where loyal customers are harder to find, the hospitality industry has to work harder and better leverage the technology available to help keep consumers engaged and coming back time and time again.

Turning insights into personalized services

Hoteliers seek to offer their guests the best possible experience: one that fits exactly with their individual needs and personal preferences. They aim to ensure that however far away from home their guests may be, they receive the personalised treatment and a level of familiarity that makes them feel at home.  In order to achieve this it is key to ensure that all the extra ‘little things’, such as optimum room temperature, bedding preferences or food allergy information are taken into consideration and catered for.

Personalization can be taken further and be done more spontaneously. These spontaneous gestures are great, yet puts the staff to be more reactive to these situations. A proactive hotel plans in advance of the guest’s arrival and uses tools to review preferences and history of requests from previous stays in this hotel and other sister properties. This creates the wow element upon arrival by having their room ready, their favourite champagne delivered, the request of servicing their room daily at 10am programmed, and their preferred pillow type and conditioner set. Not only do these enhancements make your guests feel special, they could drive better ratings and add a further premium to the experience, giving you the opportunity to boost revenue. To take advantage of this, hotels must have technology in place that lets them capture insight into their customers’ individual preferences and, in turn, use this knowledge to create competitive advantage.

However, even if a hotel succeeds in understanding its guests and matching their specific requirements, those guests can still leave unhappy if something about their stay isn’t right. Nowadays, guests often have a ‘one strike and you’re out’ attitude to hotels. Simple things such as the shower being faulty, or the room service order being late, will very often lead to dissatisfaction. In an overcrowded marketplace, where comparison sites let unhappy guests share bad reviews with millions of people in an instant, hotels need to be mindful that personalisation is key – as long as the basics are right.

Knowledge sharing is caring

So, how can a hotel logistically give their guests a tailored experience and ensure everything is in place for their arrival, as well as throughout their stay? In the same way that the waiter at your table knows the loyal customer’s favorites, rather than the manager behind a desk, frontline guest-facing staff should be able to use the insights they have to alter the guest experience. It can seem a daunting task for management to offer personalised touches for every guest, but it can be achieved by putting technology in real-time in the hands of every staff member. For example, if information is shared correctly, all guests can be greeted by name by every staff member – not just those at the front desk.

These tools can automate guest requests and reduce incidents in real time. Staff members proactively respond to these requests and report issues before it can negatively affect the guest experience. Management can monitor their operations on the go. They can also automatically update room statuses and prioritize room rushes and service requests for Room Attendants, to elevate staff efficiency and increase clean room yield, resulting in better guest satisfaction. In a hotel with hundreds of rooms across multiple levels this is a real advantage. Hoteliers gain a far better understanding of the status of rooms and facilities across the hotel with empowered guest-facing staff that can themselves ensure no guest request is left forgotten.

With a slick well-connected staff, hoteliers have the power to push personalisation to a new level and offer their guests the kind of tailored service that makes a stay stand out for the right reasons. Giving guests these kind of good memories is the key to cultivating the loyal and lasting relationships that keep guests coming back and posting those all-important, positive reviews.