In today’s hyper-connected world, travelers carry multiple mobile devices and expect all services—from hotel booking to room check out—to be available to them via their mobile device.
The spotlight has clearly moved. Though the hospitality provider once dictated the terms, the customer now calls the shots.
Ushering in Positive Change
Unified Communications (UC) is now knocking at the hospitality sector’s door with its benefits package. Here is how an integrated UC implementation can optimize operations and provide guests with a smoother, faster experience.
Drive New Efficiencies with Omni-Channel Bookings: With snazzy hospitality and travel websites that offer augmented reality-driven virtual tours, online is perhaps the only way that bookings are now made. Feedback on social media carries more weight these days than a 5-star rating. Gone are the days when reservation agents sat next to their phones to grab their guests’ attention. Instead, they must engage with the millennials right where they are and in a manner of their choosing.
UC-enabled reservation centers empower agents to engage with visitors in multiple modes (voice, text, and video)—right from the website and social channels—and provide them with all the information they need to make a decision. You know what they say about making a perfect first impression!
The operational efficiencies of UC are tremendous when you consider the benefits of working with remote agents, setting up global contact centers, tracking real-time customer interactions, applying presence-based agent selection, and utilizing a messaging-based support structure.
Increase Ratings with Personalized Guest Experience: After a long flight, the last thing that a guest wants to do is wait in line to check in. Hoteliers are leveraging the latest technologies to find innovative ways to expedite the check in process and provide a personalized guest experience. UC implementation integrated with IoT and PMS systems lets the hotel suitably personalize each guest’s experience by providing pre-arrival concierge services, sending a personalized greeting (via text or voice) upon arrival, and providing a timely notification when the room is ready. It’s all about setting the right expectations and making the guest feel important.
Enhance Productivity with Multimodal Guest Communications: Communication with guests is no longer limited to just voice calls and face–to–face interactions. The black phone sitting next to the bed, which has probably never been used aside from calling housekeeping or requesting a late check out, gets a complete overhaul with UC. Traditional phones are now replaced with LCD screen IP phones, tablets, and mobile apps. With guests and staff being constantly on the move, there can be a lag in communication that affects the quality of service. Mobile UC leverages the benefits of voice, video, messaging, presence, and collaboration to enable rich communications from anywhere at anytime, which makes guest engagement easier and more effective. Quick resolution of issues leads to a better guest experience and enhances overall staff productivity.
Drive Engagement outside the Walls of the Hotel Room: While guest–staff interaction is an important aspect of guest communications, hoteliers are now leveraging their UC implementations to connect guests with local businesses and events. Hotels provide useful information such as local restaurant locations and menus, medical facilities, and entertainment hubs right at the guests’ fingertips by displaying them on their in-room IP phones and mobile apps, which makes it easy for guests to find interesting places and experience life outside the hotel room.
Overcome Housekeeping Challenges with UC Adoptions: Guests often complain of ill-timed phone calls or inappropriate knocking. UC adoption enables integrated PMS systems to send out appropriate notification messages to housekeeping as soon as a check in or check out notice is recorded or a guest has opted for “Do Not Disturb” in their mobile apps. Real-time presence management systems can aid housekeeping in timing their cleaning schedules so as not to bother guests while they are resting or busy with an important business call.
In this age of social media, the worst fears of the hospitality sector include negative online reviews. A missed opportunity could mean losing well beyond one customer. On the other hand, a glowing tweet from a satisfied guest can result in more business for a long time to come.
The current hospitality scenario demands not just pleasant face–to–face interactions, but also subtle technological nudges. Though you can train your staff in the former, it is time to invest in the latter!