More than anything else, what separates luxury properties from limited service hotels is the implicit guarantee of a superior, white-glove guest experience. However, how luxury hoteliers deliver that high-level, personalized guest experience can look very different today than it did in decades past.
A combination of the slow march of technological progress and the accelerated adoption of digital solutions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have led to less regular direct interpersonal interactions between guests and hotel staff members. In this environment, the type, features and quality of technology solutions deployed by luxury hotel properties matters — a lot.
In short, luxury hotels cannot afford to offer their guests subpar software, so let’s now examine the exact types of technology luxury hotels should deploy to create a modern and personalized guest experience.
Contactless Check-In & Checkout
One of the more common technology solutions found in all kinds of hotels today is contactless (i.e., mobile) check-in and checkout, and it’s easy to see why. During the height of the pandemic, contactless check-in and checkout were critical technologies that could help keep a property operational and compliant with local health and safety standards. In a post-pandemic world, these solutions are expected to remain in high demand due to extremely high levels of consumer adoption over the previous few years.
Though there are many contactless check-in and checkout technologies currently on the market, there are certain features luxury hotels should specifically look for in these solutions.
The most important aspects of contactless check-in and checkout technology for luxury hotels include:
A web-based user experience that doesn’t require any additional native apps to download
The ability to customize check-in and checkout flows and capture guest information, even from those that booked through OTAs
Seamless integrations with the industry’s most common property management systems (PMS) and other elements of a hotel’s technology stack
A great user experience for both guests and staff members
Digital Hotel Upsells
Although contactless check-in solutions have become much more commonplace in recent years, some technology solutions remain less ubiquitous at hotel properties than others. One prominent example of a powerful technology that still has not seen the industry-wide adoption it should is eCommerce for guests on property.
As Harman Narula, Co-founder of Canary Technologies, recently pointed out in an article for Hotel Management Magazine, “Hoteliers who rely solely on direct room revenue miss out on lucrative ancillary revenue streams that contribute directly to a hotel’s bottom line. Ancillary revenue helps hoteliers maximize profit and the valuation of their property, and, in some cases, actually is what keeps the lights on.”
Mr. Narula’s point is well-made. If hotels, especially luxury properties, are not offering upsell packages, services and amenities to their guests, they are in all likelihood leaving a significant amount of money on the table. However, how upsell options are presented to guests can have a significant impact on how well they sell.
Luxury hoteliers should focus on finding upsell solutions that fit the following criteria:
Any digital upsells technology for luxury hotels should deeply integrate with an existing hotel technology stack
Hotel upselling solutions require a comprehensive dashboard that enables hotel management and staff to track, approve, deny and generally manage up upsells
Effective hotel eCommerce solutions will enable hoteliers to push upsell options to guests when they are at high levels of buyer intent.
Guest Messaging Solutions
Guest messaging solutions have become much more popular with luxury hotels over the past few years. However, these technologies can come in a variety of forms, including those that work with existing texting apps like SMS and WhatsApp, and those that require a new native app download by users. Forward-looking hoteliers should avoid the latter, as the need to download a new app can be a significant barrier to usage for many guests.
A few features and aspects guest messaging solutions for luxury hotels should include are:
The ability to send personalized direct or broadcast messages to guests at any point in their journey
Artificial intelligence that responds to the most common questions, so hotel staff can just focus on providing top-notch, personalized service
A dashboard that enables hotel staff to track conversations and prioritize responses with ease
Digital Authorizations To Reduce Fraud & Chargebacks
It may come as a surprise, but far too many hotels today, including luxury hotels, still rely on PCI non-compliant paper and PDF credit card authorization forms. These forms are incredibly problematic as they can lead to an increase in fraud and chargebacks for hoteliers, culminating in thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
To avoid these issues, luxury hotels should leverage digital credit card authorization solutions. These secure alternatives to paper forms are easy to use and can save luxury hotel properties a lot of time and revenue management headaches.
Luxury hotels have lagged behind the technology curve for too long. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. The past few years have seen a constant stream of technology innovations that have made it easier than ever for hotels to operate in the digital age. By deploying the type of hospitality technology solutions outlined above, luxury hotels can close the tech gap between them and the modern consumer.
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