All hotels know the importance of delivering a great guest experience. Yet the explosion in digital communication makes it a huge challenge to do this on a consistent basis.
Hotels are bombarded with requests from countless channels as guests get in touch via phone, email, messaging platforms, mobile apps and social media. Staying on top of this (and trying to offer great face-to-face service at the same time), means it’s easy to get overwhelmed.
Outdated Systems and Technology
The reason it’s overwhelming is that some hotels still rely on old-fashioned manual processes to track service requests and assign tasks. A 2015 survey from Software Advice found that 25% of U.S. hoteliers still rely on pen and paper to manage their properties. A further 16% admitted they had no system in place at all.
Unsurprisingly, this paves the way for mistakes and inefficiency.
Relying on fragmented technology creates similar headaches for hoteliers. If staff are using different systems to track progress on tasks and guest requests, it’s easy to see how errors can be made.
Management are also left with a limited overview of operations, and lots of unanswered questions. Are staff being as efficient as they can be? Are guests receiving the high level of service they expect? Is the brand promise being delivered consistently? It’s incredibly hard to know these things when information exists on paper, or lives on multiple systems.
The key to success, then, is automation. It requires an industry-specific tool that acts as a central resource for all departments. Request management technology such as, “One Stop Solution” make this possible. This kind of technology can carry out a number of roles, including tracking requests from guests, automating and streamlining hotel employee workflow to increase efficiencies, reducing costs and personalising the guest experience.
Let’s take a more detailed look at five of the benefits they offer.
1. Never Miss a Request
A big benefit of a guest management system is that all staff can communicate, track and update requests in one place. Jobs can be scheduled for immediate or future action, which makes for a more streamlined and intelligent way to handle requests based on their urgency.
This can be especially helpful during a shift change — a key time when information can slip through the net. When a new staff member starts their shift, they can easily check any outstanding requests that need to be actioned. That might involve a room change, delivery additional towels or confirming a guest’s dinner reservation.
Then there are times when ensuring requests are passed on becomes especially important. For instance, a family arriving with a baby might have asked for a cot to be placed in their room. The last thing you want is for that family to arrive at 10pm with a screaming infant, only to find their request hasn’t been fulfilled.
2. The Right Person on the Job
Guest request management software also allows requests to be automatically distributed to the department or staff member most suited to the specific task at hand. That might be based on their location in the hotel (allowing them to react quickly), or their particular skill set.
An employee can then accept a request and mark it as closed once it’s been handled. This allows for total transparency, so everyone in the team is updated in real time.
The benefit of this is that the right person is assigned without delay. This means a guest isn’t left waiting unnecessarily, and receives help from the most appropriate staff member. When requests are assigned automatically, your team also no longer have to waste valuable time manually coordinating and routing tasks.
3. Resolve Issues Swiftly
A major focus for any hotel is complaint management. A negative guest experience can translate into a negative Tripadvisor post within seconds. So when it comes to resolving issues, delay is a dirty word. Furthermore, 52% of consumers say the most important attribute of an exceptional experience is a fast response time to their needs and issues.
Of course in the digital age, seamless one-to-one communication raises guest expectations further. We live in a word where email now is considered too slow, so we text or use messaging apps. So if a guest alerts the hotel front desk to an issue with their room via a messaging app, you can be sure they expect a fast response.
This is where guest request management software really comes into its own. Whether it’s alerting maintenance to a faulty in-room air-con system, or housekeeping to an understocked minibar— small issues or potentially major complaints are instantly routed for swift resolution.
4. More Focus on the Guest
In the hotel industry, attention is a finite yet invaluable resource. Guests expect to have their needs attended too quickly. But when hotel staff are dealing with multiple requests split across multiple systems, their attention is taken away. As a consequence, they simply can’t devote the same attention to the guests in front of them.
A centralised guest management system helps by removing the need for hotel staff to monitor different channels, freeing them up to spend more time on what really matters — providing a great guest experience.
5. Personalising the Guest Experience
Personalisation is very much the industry buzzword right now. The modern day hotel guest arrives expecting their unique needs and preferences to be catered for. Especially if they’ve stayed with the hotel many times before.
If a guest previously requested extra pillows or a specific beer in their mini-bar, it’s very likely they’ll expect the same again. In order to meet this expectation, hotels need to understand their guests like never before.
Whether it’s captured via digital communication (e.g. social media, email, messaging app) or through a verbal request on-property, which is logged in the guest request management software, it needs to be recorded in a central system.
Any member of staff can then access this data (and add to it over time) to help pre-empt needs and deliver exceptional service — personalising the guest experience in the most meaningful way possible.
The Best Service Possible
In the digital age, hotels are bombarded with a huge volume of data from an array of sources. The post-it note culture of yesteryear just doesn’t cut it anymore. In order to quickly assign tasks to staff, handle guest requests, and much more besides — a centralised guest request management tool is essential.
This automated, 21st-century solution is the key to the ultimate guest experience. It allows a hotel to run more smoothly — optimal efficiency to provide optimal service! The end result is happier guests who are much more likely to return time and time again.