Four Ways Luxury Hotels Can Use Technology to Provide Superior Customer Service
Real luxury has always been a trailblazer when it comes to innovation. Luxury brands are the leaders, not followers. They are on the leading edge of creativity, innovative design and technological innovation. Luxury creates status and value through innovation, offering exclusivity, uniqueness and distinction. Luxury is aiming to be extraordinary, to create that “wow” effect that prestigious users have come to expect.
The hospitality industry is not exempt from the need to innovate. Luxury hotels, and the services they offer, must be innovative. For some luxury hoteliers, the idea of technology in hospitality is foreign. In the past, there has been an emphasis on face-to-face customer service; digital technology in a luxury setting is seen as ill-suited; an unwelcome, artificial replacement for the time-honored tradition of hospitality.
There certainly is merit to the idea that employee-guest rapport is valuable to the guest, especially in a luxury environment. Therefore, technology innovations need to augment existing services, thereby offering guests a choice, an opportunity, to utilize efficient digital automations and artificial intelligence instead of waiting for personal, one-on-one service.
Developing technological innovations for your luxury hotel doesn’t mean you are lowering your standards. Instead, technology can be used to deliver exceptional services with increased efficiency, as long as customers have a choice.
Here are four ways luxury hotels can use technology to improve guests’ experience.
- Mobile technology
There has been a major shift in the gold standard for customer service with the advent of mobile technology. Arming your staff with smartphones and tablets means they are able to provide services to your guests from anywhere. Mobile apps take advantage of the new mobile paradigm by making customer service the essential element of hospitality. Furthermore, guests can reach your staff from their own mobile devices to interact with your staff, both before, during and after their stay. The result is increased guest satisfaction, revenue and loyalty.
- Automation of Routine Tasks
Automation allows your staff to shift their focus from day-to-day routine tasks to providing more memorable experiences for guests. Some of the tasks that can be automated include:
- Checking people in and out
- Handover reporting
- Night audit batch
- Room assignments
- Mini-bar tracking
While all of these tasks are essential for the day-to-day operation of your hotel, they can consume your staff’s time. Using technology to facilitate check-in, for example, allows your staff member to greet the guest the moment they walk in the hotel and service more immediate requests.
Another way progressive hotels are using automation is to deliver mobile services, such as the mobile delivery of newspapers. Offering mobile delivery of newspapers not only removes the need for staff to hand-deliver every newspaper, but also allows the hotel to offer newspapers in a wider variety – and in more languages, than has been traditionally available.
Delivery services tend to take up a lot of staff time dispatching and coordinating deliveries between different departments. Cross-department, integrated management tools allow requests to be managed easily and efficiently. Your staff will save time allowing for more time to interact with guests, providing exceptional high-touch guest experiences.
- Breaking Down Language Barriers
Language is a common barrier to customer service for hotels because a language barrier presents a unique challenge to both the guest and the staff person. It is unreasonable to expect that even multilingual staff will be able to meet the needs of all guests without technological assistance. A high level of language proficiency is needed when dealing with tired, jet-lagged and hungry guests.
Technology can have a positive impact on improving customer service through staff language training using mobile technology. Smartphones have become so sophisticated they offer one of the most efficient means of training employees anywhere, at any time, or can be used as a front desk communications tool.
- Offering Mobile Users Choices
The demand for mobile services by travelers are well documented. Hotel guests are increasingly becoming connected and, consequently, there has been a shift in the expectations of guests. Today’s guests want a mobile experience built around their changing needs and desire to communicate on their terms. The demand for mobile technology is even higher for younger travelers.
In a study conducted by the Center for Hospitality Research at Cornell University in 2015, researchers found that guests generally want automation of a great deal of procedures and interactions, such as:
- Receiving a notification on their device when their room is ready
- Requesting hotel amenities
- Checking in and out
- Ordering room service
- Requesting reservations for on and off-site restaurants
- Notifying the valet to retrieve their car.
Although many guests would prefer the convenience of using mobile technology, they also want customer service traditionally offered by staff. Luxury customers now expect convenience across a multitude of experiences. Luxury customers today expect that a premium hotel will meet, or exceed, the new technological standards.
Luxury hotels today recognize that the expertise of their staff in customer service is a valuable complement to mobile technological tools because they provide guests with the kind of superior customer service experiences that guests don’t experience in their day-to-day lives.
The professionals at Marsh & McLennan Agency (MMA) understand and appreciate the complexity of the risks facing today’s hospitality organizations. Our dedicated team of specialists is available to partner with hospitality organizations to offer the insight and guidance necessary to develop smart and effective insurance solutions. Click here to learn more.