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With the news cycle laser-focused on the looming threat of a COVID-19 second wave happening in nearly every territory, it is up to each and every hotel to ensure we are all fully compliant with virus safety guidelines in order to restore group booking confidence. And the only way to ensure compliance with these safety guidelines is through contactless and compliance technologies to give guests a strong guarantee of proper sanitization as well as peace of mind.

A great deal has been written over the years about the viability of moving a hotel’s property-management system (PMS) to the cloud to take advantage of the latest technologies, but hoteliers need to realize that it’s not the only viable option. All platforms have advantages, including self-hosted, private cloud and on-premise solutions that leverage the latest mobile, contact free and web-based technologies. Independent operators can still enhance the digital guest experience, support personalized and mobile check-in, deploy contact free technologies, and secure hotel/guest data even if their PMS does not reside in the cloud. It should not be a question of “Cloud or On Premise?” but rather “Does the PMS solve your business objectives in both technology and service?”

Much has been written in the mainstream hospitality press about the challenges COVID-19 has presented to the industry. Hotels are in more pain than at any time in our memories. Because of the extensive media coverage, I won’t dwell on this topic further in what is primarily a technology column. But it’s the background for this week’s column, and so merits acknowledgement.

Are You All In?
Posted: 07/27/2020

Imagine everyone in your organization engaged, aligned, and performing to their potential. Imagine everyone playing “All In.”

Great organizations have synergy. Their culture allows them to play to a rhythm at a different tempo than the average organization. How do you get that at your organization?

Many front-line hospitality workers rely on tips for a significant part of their paychecks. If not for tips, many hotel associates who serve as waitstaff, bartenders, housekeepers, bell staff, concierges and pool attendants would soon be looking for other jobs. This is a regional issue: in most of Asia and Europe, staff get higher base pay, and tips are either not expected at all, or are truly discretionary. But in the U.S., Canada, Britain and other countries, tips are an important reality, and one that’s not likely to change anytime soon.

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How Mobile Devices Impact Sales during the Holiday Season by Kevin Kiley

by Kevin Kiley
   After hours of traveling, you finally arrive at your destination for the holidays, ready for some well-deserved R & R. However, instead of handing your luggage to the porter and grabbing a key from the concierge, you walk into the lobby and see a long line of hotel guests waiting to check in. Frustrated by the prospect of waiting in yet another line, you wonder, “Isn’t there a better way to manage the check-in process so I can get my vacation started sooner?” The answer is yes, and the solution is simple. In fact, it can probably be found in your pocket, purse or suitcase:  a mobile device. 
   The world is increasingly social and mobile, and more than ever, the hospitality industry must keep pace with trends in mobility. This year, nearly 30 percent of Americans are expected to take a trip during the holiday season. Throughout this time, hotels and resorts experience a significant increase in the number of guests on their properties. While this influx of holiday travelers is a boom for business, it also puts added pressure on hotel staff to provide excellent customer service as quickly as possible to more people than usual. Before the age of mobile devices, tired, often impatient travelers waited for hotel staff to manually search for reservations, assign a room and field requests for upgrades and extra services. Additionally, the processes for training hotel staff, responding to maintenance requests and fulfilling room service orders were not streamlined, which impacted the value of customer service that guests were receiving. Today’s tech-savvy guests expect personalized, premium services and are quick to share their experiences – both good and bad – with the world via social media channels, and they won’t hesitate to take their business elsewhere. 
   Hotels can actively enhance every aspect of the guest experience by integrating mobile devices into the business platform. Greeting guests at the door with a tablet to ensure a  quick, seamless check-in will immediately make the guest feel welcomed and taken care of. In addition to expediting the check-in process, a mobile device gives the hotel employee the opportunity to display images of an upgraded room or service that could result in additional revenue. 
   Adding tablets to each guest room can also increase sales and customer satisfaction. These in-room devices can enable guests to control the TV, order room service, request maintenance requests, make restaurant reservations and more, without being placed on hold with the concierge.
   To ensure a rapid and effortless check-out, guests can use tablets provided in their rooms to complete the process and submit payment information. Once a payment is received, the housekeeping department is immediately alerted that the room is available for cleaning. The alert is sent in real-time, which decreases time spent coordinating a room’s status with the front desk – particularly important during peak times when staff is focused on checking in guests.
Restaurants on property can also benefit by utilizing mobile devices to enhance the guest experience.  Restaurant managers can experience growth in sales and increased customer satisfaction by using mobile devices on-site to book tables, process guest orders, train employees, maintain recipe consistency and deliver faster food and beverage services. The opportunities to upsell when guests use mobile devices to order their meals are also great – for example, if a guest orders a particular menu item, software on the device can automatically prompt them to purchase a bottle of wine or side dish that pairs well with what they’ve ordered. Additionally, by storing and disseminating employee training resources on mobile devices, restaurants can ensure product and service consistency among all workers in the restaurant including chefs, servers and hostesses. 
   Finally, tablets can significantly decrease the amount of time it takes for food and beverages to arrive at the table. For example, a large Atlanta restaurant with frequent out-of-town diners recently deployed tablets on each table to allow the customer to sit down and immediately submit a drink order. The restaurant reported that utilizing tablets for immediate drink orders decreased the average time for a beverage to arrive at the table from 17 minutes to three minutes. Tablets are also being used in restaurants to provide guests and children with entertainment and to collect customer feedback. 
   Overall, hotels and restaurants that incorporate tablets into their business platforms have been able to enhance customer satisfaction, decrease customer wait times, improve sales and increase employee productivity. Hospitality organizations that are willing to embrace mobile devices and incorporate them into their day-to-day operations are likely to outpace their competitors and enhance customer satisfaction around the holidays and all year round.
About The Author
Kevin Kiley
Director of Enterprise Solutions

Kevin Kiley is the director of enterprise solutions at AirWatch, a  leader and innovator in mobile security and the largest Enterprise Mobile Management (EMM) provider. In this role, Kiley leads the U.S. and Canadian Enterprise Sales team, supporting the diverse needs of AirWatch’s largest clients.

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