How Technology in Hospitality is Being Utilized to Connect in a Travel-Averse Market
COVID-19 has affected virtually every area of people’s lives, particularly travel. For months, travel restrictions coupled with concerns about safety and health kept people home and out of hotels and resorts. While travel has begun again in more recent months, it continues at a lower rate than compared to 2019.
As the hospitality sector vies for travelers’ attention, intelligent technology has played an integral role in connecting with potential guests. Today, hoteliers can use guest-specific insights to determine who is likely to travel—and who isn’t—and use this information to inform intervention.
Consider the following example. A new customer is actively looking at a hotel’s availability for an upcoming holiday weekend and browsing their dinner reservations. Meanwhile, a loyal guest that typically visits that same weekend and dines at the hotel restaurant has not viewed the website since the pandemic began. Understanding the second guest is more travel averse, the hotel would send personalized outreach featuring their heightened safety efforts and options for in-room dining. Conversely, the first customer would receive a tailored message to book a dinner reservation for in-person dining.
While heightened concerns in regard to health and safety have resulted in a dip in travel, it has also led to an increasingly technologically-savvy customer base that is willing and eager to engage digitally with their hospitality providers. This provides hotels, resorts, and casinos the unique ability to utilize data to provide more timely and relevant interactions to their guests during their stay. Here are a few tips for how hospitality providers can utilize technology to connect to the travel-averse guest:
Tip #1: Offer Contactless Check-In
In the hotel setting, the front desk is a universal stop for all guests to check-in/check-out of their rooms. To minimize exposure, MGM Resorts International is empowering guests to check-in remotely through the resort’s mobile app. In-app, guests can verify information, process payment, and obtain a digital room key—all without stopping by the front desk. This not only appeals to guests’ desire for contactless interactions but also encourages them to download the hotel’s mobile app, allowing hospitality providers to engage guests anywhere, anytime.
Tip #2: Turn Mobile Device into TV Remotes, Room Keys, and More
In the age of COVID-19, guests are looking to avoid shared and high touch items, including TV remote controls, room keys, and in-room informational booklets and menus. While some hoteliers are utilizing QR codes to offer digital access to materials, others are building more personalized features, such as booking a massage at the spa or booking an excursion, directly into their mobile app. This eliminates the need to keep high-touch items in guest’s rooms and provides guests the ability to view information, make reservations, and engage the hotel staff on-the-go.
Tip: #3 Utilize Artificial Intelligence & Robotic Assistants
Hospitality chains are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence (AI) to provide personalized experiences to guests while minimizing the need for contact with staff. At Hilton Hotels, “Connie” is the first AI-based robot to be used in a hospitality setting. The robot is available to help guests find answers to questions in regard to local tourist attractions, dining recommendations, and hotel features and amenities. Novotel Ambassador Dongdaemun Hotels & Residences in Seoul, South Korea goes one step further, utilizing “N Bot” to offer room service deliveries of bottled water, towels, and other items from voice command or touch screen orders.
Looking to Hospitality’s Future Post-COVID
While the rate of adoption of digital solutions in the hospitality sector increased due to the pandemic, personalized, and intelligent outreach in hospitality is here to stay.
At ZineOne, we are focused on providing the personalization platform the hospitality industry requires to understand and respond to changing guest needs. Our AI-powered Intelligent Customer Engagement (ICE) platform provides deep insight into guests across digital and physical channels to create personalized customer journeys at every stay.