By Dakota Murphey, Guest Author
COVID-19 has created an extremely tough environment for hoteliers, as well as the hospitality industry as a whole. However, as hotels have been closed, or operating with low occupancy for a significant period, it provides an opportunity for managers and owners to take a look at their tech stacks and make changes to not only benefit hotel operations and employee efficiency, but also the guest experience.
A recent study revealed that 64% of hoteliers believe the COVID-19 pandemic will force them more urgently to reassess their hotel tech stack. Your hotel stack has a massive impact on guests and the experience they have as they stay at your property.
"There are dozens, even hundreds, of applications available to hotels. The difficulty comes in deciding which technologies to choose and ensuring that each of these applications integrates," says Stefan Tweraser, CEO of SnapShot, "hotels that build the right customised, fully-integrated technology stack will be able to better understand their data, improve operations, maximise profits, and improve the overall guest experience.”
One of the most important aspects of a hotel tech stack is the property management system (PMS) - the broad software that can provide an overview of operations in the hotel. But many hotels still run with legacy systems that may not offer the functionality of more modern options. This can make it necessary either to change to a new PMS or incorporate other technologies in your stack.
Hotel operations software is another important component of your hotel’s tech stack. Integrated technology systems support everyone at your hotel: guests, employees, and management.
Here we take a look at five ways that your hotel stack can affect your guests’ experience at your hotel.
Improved and COVID-friendly concierge
Concierges are the face of your hotel’s guest experience. Your hotel tech stack can offer a vastly improved concierge service, especially with regard to the challenges of COVID-19. Specific concierge software offers a range of features such as online check-in and check-out, and instant messaging services, avoiding the need for guests to visit reception.
Concierge and guest services software can also help your hotel keep track of local restaurants and attractions that may have new operating hours of procedures due to COVID-19. This concierge technology in your hotel’s tech stack enhances the guest experience, improves communication with your staff, and helps to reduce the need for human-to-human contact.
More effective housekeeping
Good housekeeping is another important aspect of a hotel stay - and it can be improved exponentially with housekeeping management software. It can be challenging to track housekeeping across a hotel - there are many aspects to think about: people checking in for the first time, guests who are checking out and the specific requests of guests, to name just a few.
Being able to track and manage housekeeping more effectively is an important aspect of your hotel tech stack that has a direct effect on guests’ enjoyment of their staff.
Digital Peace of Mind
One aspect of your hotel tech stack that is often overlooked is cybersecurity. Hotel systems offer a potentially lucrative target for cybercriminals due to the volume of customer data held on file. It can be vital to implement advanced cybersecurity measures such as penetration testing - the “assessment of computer networks, systems, and applications to identify and address security weaknesses” - and Security Information and Event Management (SIEM) - which gives “security professionals both insight into and a track record of the activities within their IT environment”.
Powerful cybersecurity can help your hotel avoid data breaches but crucially it has benefits for customers too. It can allow them to use your Wi-Fi and aspects of your computer system with confidence, and also helps them to have peace of mind and feel more secure about your hotel having their personal data on file.
Both hotels and their customers can benefit enormously from a strong guest feedback system. Many hotels are still using paper feedback forms, which are easily ignored or not followed up on. Having a digital directory of all the customer comments and suggestions gives the hotel an easy way to access issues that need to be rectified.
Give your guests the opportunity to share their great guest experience, or suggestions. This has the clear benefit of actioning guest suggestions and improving things for everyone involved.
Seamless Staff Management
Hotel staff play a huge role in the overall guest experience. Everything from room service to cleaning needs to be managed through a rota, and once again it can be really valuable to do this through your hotel tech stack rather than relying on spreadsheets, or (worse) paper rotas. Some PMS have features for staff management, but not all of them.
Hotel guests are looking for staff to get on with their work quickly and efficiently without being in the way or obtrusive. Staff management software can make this happen.
Your hotel tech stack is a vital element of providing a fantastic guest experience, so it is important to get it right. COVID-19 offers an opportunity for hotels to re-evaluate their systems and understand what works, what needs to be changed, and what solutions work well with each other.