COVID-19 has created quite a few buzzwords and key phrases that we’ll always associate with 2020. Pivot, unprecedented, social distancing, and new normal, are just a few of them. In the hotel industry, contactless hospitality is the talk of the town in 2020.
COVID-19 has created the need for contactless hospitality, which connects guests and hotel staff, while reducing contact and face to face interactions, and often leveraging technology. But the real revolution that we’re realizing as an industry is that any technology that is guest-facing needs to have an effective staff interface as well. As guests make requests with guest-facing technology, staff facing technology must be utilized so that the request can be completed properly and efficiently.
What do guests really want?
Guests want exactly what they’ve always wanted…exceptional service. The definition of exceptional guest service at a hotel has mostly stayed the same: personalized service, helpful staff, and a sparkling property, but now guests also expect hotels to be taking extra safety precautions.
From social distancing at the front desk to the ability to order room service with text, these extra steps are all taken with the intent of being able to keep guests and staff safe. Guests appreciate cleaning updates and feel reassured by communication that explains the specific sanitization efforts the hotel is making. Caring = safety – and that needs to be communicated throughout every step of the guest experience.
With a focus on the safety component of exceptional guest service, it’s a two-way street for guests to not only receive updates, but also be able to make requests. If guests can make that request at the touch of the button, then staff should be able to too. This has long been the issue with the technology setup of our industry; an equally seamless experience on both sides of the transaction.
Operationalizing Guest Requests
The agility of guest-facing technology and the extent to which it can fulfill the unpredictable interests of a rapidly changing guest demographic (and their pandemic based needs) is contingent on how quickly a hotel can operationalize a guest request.
If you have an interface for your guests and your hotel employees, but it doesn’t have some kind of workflow integration (tickets, etc.), it creates an extraordinary gap where what your guest tells you has to be bridged or translated into what your hotel can deliver.
App-based or online food delivery and food ordering systems are fantastic examples of technology that have a great user experience at a guest-facing level, but also at the operational level. A Starbucks customer can order a completely customized drink (three espresso shots, almond milk, extra whip and a dash of cinnamon!) on their phone, and the Starbucks employee that receives that request in the store knows exactly how to complete the request.
If a housekeeping request comes in via a messaging app to a hotel, it only makes sense that that request can easily be converted into a ticket and acted on just as easy as it was for the guest to request it. This is exactly why the hotel industry has long needed a platform approach to technology.
The Case for Platform Technology
It’s essential that guest-facing hotel technology, like guest messaging, connects with back of house departments. Who would have thought you’d need to connect your housekeeping department, traditionally not a guest-facing department, with your guests? It’s what most people want today, even if they don’t know it.
In a pre-COVID world, it was rare that housekeeping departments were connected with guests. In the last decade, the housekeeping operation was all about efficiency.
We are now seeing a housekeeping department of the future; one focused around flexibility. Being able to send an automated text message that says “Your room has been cleaned and sanitized!” is a must have feature for hotel technology. The ability to opt-in or opt-out of daily cleaning service with a text message is also a sought after feature.
Platform technology can connect all hotel departments to streamline the communication, not only between front of house and back of house departments, but also with guests.
Quick Delivery is the Key
Fast delivery has been a key component to the success of Amazon. It has taught us that delivery is not a minor issue. How quickly a product gets to your doorstep, or extra towels make it to your hotel room, has a big impact on how satisfied you are with the overall experience.
You Can’t Have One Without The Other
ALICE’s all-in-one hotel operations platform supports both guests and staff, connecting them via text message. Guests, staying at a hotel that uses ALICE, can receive warm, personalized responses and service from every hotel department, because, for the first time, all of that hotel’s staff are also working through the same technology. Messages can be sent to welcome them, assure them that their request has been received, and also let them know their request has been completed.
Accepting a request in the hospitality industry, without having an efficient way to fulfill it, is no way for hotels to operate. As contactless hospitality is leveraged to communicate with guests, investments in technology that support hotel teams is equally important.
ALICE is a hotel operations platform that empowers operational excellence and meaningful guest experiences. By bringing all hotel departments together with a single operations platform for internal communication and task management, ALICE helps hotel staff act as a team to provide consistently excellent service. Since the company was founded in 2013, ALICE has gained significant traction in the industry, working with more than 2,500 hotels and tens of thousands of hotel staff across many of the world’s leading brands, including Marriott International, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Viceroy Hotel Group, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and The Leading Hotels of the World. ALICE is the 2019 Forbes Travel Guide Brand Official Staff Technology Platform, winner of Best Concierge Software, and Finalist for Staff Collaboration Software (Best in North America), Housekeeping, Facilities Maintenance Management, and Preventative Maintenance Software in the 2020 HotelTechAwards.
For more information, visit https://www.aliceplatform.com.