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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.

As somebody who’s helped to grow a company from 13 people to nearly a thousand, I know very well the excitement that comes with having a mindset focused entirely on growth. Every newly acquired customer, every new office and every milestone means the gap between you and your nearest competitor is that much bigger and that much harder to overtake.



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Touchless Hotel Experience: Adapting to the “New Normal” of Guest Expectations

by Frank Pitsikalis



As we examine and develop new strategies for the changes that we can expect to see in the hospitality industry post-crisis, we are also starting to envision the world beyond the pandemic and to the new normal of radically shifted travel consumer expectations and preferences. The probability of guest technology expectations worldwide significantly changing becomes high as guests prefer a more touchless and fully mobile-enabled hospitality experience post-COVID-19. The future of hospitality has always been Mobile–but COVID-19 will accelerate this trend from a nice-to-have to a must-have for hoteliers.

 

Guests will arrive with a new desire for a touchless hotel experience.

Guests will prefer to check-in on their mobile device, receive a digital key on their mobile device and proceed directly to their room. They will want to check-in for their spa treatments or fitness classes on their phone and complete any intake questions on their own device—with brand new questions added now, “would you like your therapist to wear a mask”. They will want to self-serve all of their experiences in the hotel by curating their own wellness itinerary themselves–self-exploring on their own mobile device and booking spa treatments, classes and activities, dining reservations and golf tee times directly. They will use their mobile device as mobile ID to present and access their privileges and facilities as a guest or member. Touchless mobile payments will be the preferred method of payment instead of “chip-and-pin” transactions on perceived “dirty” pin-pads. Guests will avoid the crowds at the bar and order from their pool chair, table or room service via their own device. Check-out will forever change as guests review their room folios on their device, bypass the front desk and settle from mobile.

So, although guests will have a pent-up desire to receive human touch again in the safe, clean and controlled environment of a spa, they will also increasingly desire a “high tech, high touch” aspect to their hospitality experience where they can control it. Hotel marketing may change forever as brands focus on their cleaning processes, sanitized environments and a touchless experience enabled by mobile technology that a guest already has in their own (washed) hands.

As the hospitality industry begins to reopen, enhancing the digital guest experience becomes more significant today as guests seek a more touchless and seamless guest experience using their own (self-cleaned) mobile devices. Here are the top features to consider in delivering a mobile app-enabled touchless hospitality experience for your guests:
 

  • Mobile Check-in (with registration card completion)
  • Mobile Digital Keys
  • Mobile Payments
  • Mobile ID (barcode ID, charge to room/member account)
  • Mobile Spa Check-in (intake forms)
  • Mobile Facility access (NFC/Bluetooth)
  • Mobile Messaging
  • Mobile Guest Requests
  • Mobile Guest Issues (PM)
  • Mobile F&B Ordering
  • Mobile Check-out


Guests will be returning with preferences and expectations we have never seen before; thus, it is imperative that we adapt quickly and ensure that guests and staff feel comfortable in the “new normal”.

About The Author
Frank Pitsikalis
Founder and CEO
ResortSuite Inc.


Frank Pitsikalis is the founder & CEO of ResortSuite – a global hospitality software solution for luxury spas, clubs and resorts.  He is also the Chairman of the ISPA Foundation Board and an established speaker/presenter at numerous prominent industry events within the hospitality, technology, resort, club, golf and spa sectors on how technology can help streamline operations, drive revenue and enhance the guest experience.

 
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