The way in which technical solutions are perceived is moving fast forward with every new generation. What my generation (millennials) see as a huge technical leap, the next will see as a standard, and the one after that as a deprecated technology.
Out with the old, in with the new
In the hospitality sector, tech solutions haven’t moved as fast as in other industries. Even today, hospitality works mostly the same way as seen in the movie Home Alone 2, where Kevin visits the Plaza Hotel in New York City. Of course, the back offices of hotels have since transitioned from pen and paper to the digital world, replacing this manual process with Excel sheets and later on with more advanced software solutions (Property Management Systems). But guests mostly have the same experience as before. The only exception is when it comes to booking creation, where rooms can be booked over the internet via a booking engine rather than a phone call. The rest of the steps consist more or less of the following:
- A guest creates a reservation
- Upon their arrival, they need to wait in a queue to meet a receptionist who will type in their details. There’s actually a long list of things that need to happen before the guest receives their keys and room number. This process can be time-consuming and unenjoyable as the guest has to wait and watch other people do their work.
- During their stay, the guest has to visit or call the hotel reception to resolve issues or make requests. This is often regarding common FAQs or new services (e.g., wellness, room service, upgrades, etc.).
- When the guest is ending their visit, they will again wait in a queue. After this they’ll receive a printed bill/invoice, pay for services, and drop off the key to their room.
The generation before millennials might consider this a standard process. Zoomers, on the other hand, will expect a more digital approach that allows them to skip some of these steps. For example, being able to share their personal details prior to their arrival, or even order room service on their way to the hotel to reduce their “waiting” time.
Why not streamline the whole consumer experience?
At Mews and especially in the guest product family where we oversee applications used by hotel guests, we believe that the end customer (guest) should be in charge of the services they consume. Some areas where this can be implemented include:
- Instead of putting the guest under pressure to quickly review a bill while checking out, they should be able to take care of this during an idle time (e.g., in the elevator to their room).
- The time during which a guest waits at reception for their information to be keyed into the system could be better utilized for a nice conversation and building a relationship between the hotel and the guest.
- Room service should be accompanied by an option to read and post feedback about meals.
- And there are tons of possibilities on how to automate and connect important information. If the guest decides to share more data, the hotel could find out about a late arrival just by knowing their flight number.
In the future, it’s likely that everything will be carried out directly from your smartphone, using a convenient application that presents dynamic personalized content based on your circumstances. You’ll be able to order room service via your phone and even read a review of the meal you want before you place your order. This works in the service industry all around world, where food is delivered within your city – so why shouldn’t it become a new standard within a single building as well?
Will you help Jakub bring hospitality into the future?
Oh and it helps if you’re really into Star Wars, but not required.
It’s also becoming possible to open hotel room doors via smartphones. This, by the way, is an even more secure method since biometric authorization exists in today’s devices. Our colleague Adam went a little further with implementing RFID chip in his hand and he wrote about it in his article. 🤷♀️
Besides streamlining services, the hospitality industry is likely to get more personalized. I truly believe that if you enter a hotel in a few more years (or decades), the hotel staff will greet you by your name and provide you with a warm welcome and your favorite drink or snack. On top of that, it’s likely to become reception-less, since there won’t be a necessity for the front desk at all.
The future is in our hands
We’ve already taken the first steps towards providing a better experience for our guests by allowing them to fill in their personal information in our Guest Portal during online check-in, and to self-check-in via the Mews Kiosk application, making their arrival faster and friendlier. We’ve approached checking out the same way, where the guest can do the “paperwork” on their own and just leave the keys in a box.
Now it’s time to expand our solutions and make improvements, along with supporting the part of the stay which is not yet covered – the part happening during the guests’ stay. It’s also time to start looking into the future at topics that will become a standard for both the next generations and those to come.
At Mews, we focus on the things that matter the most and the key is that our products improve the everyday lives of travelers – the people around us. Our impact is increasing with every feature we create and every hotel we onboard to walk along this path with us.
© Featured image by Marten Bjork from Unsplash.