Success in the hospitality world hinges on the guest experience. What encourages the guest to come back for more? How does a hotel or restaurant stand out from nearby competitors? What role does technology play in the evolution of operations without losing a concept’s sense of exceptional hospitality? Each of these questions plays a part in the strategy behind a hotel’s inner workings, and it’s important to ensure both the guests and the staff enjoy what the space has to offer.
In today’s hotel market, competition is high and so are guests’ expectations. Hospitality professionals must be on their A-game and strive to create memorable experiences for each guest, every day. Thinking back to how hotel stays looked even a decade ago, it’s amazing to witness the impact technology, in particular, has had on the guest’s journey, from booking to check-out. From the way they make their reservation to the amenities that are presented in each guest room, hotels have continued to raise the bar over the years, in an effort to stand out from the crowd and impress those who choose to stay at their property.
While standard in-room features often include a television, WiFi, a coffee maker, complimentary toiletries and more, seeing the hotel through the eyes of the guest allows hoteliers to think bigger about what else could make a guest’s stay even more hospitable and convenient. So, let’s rewind to before a guest even steps foot in the hotel. Booking a stay can sometimes be a hassle, and then, once the guest arrives, checking in isn’t always a quick process. That’s where enhanced technology comes into play to re-envision the guest experience.
While many hotels across the nation continue to operate traditionally, some destinations exemplify this emerging trend, which impacts each hotel stay from start to finish. As soon as an individual books their room, the staff is digitally debriefed on their planned arrival time, stay preferences and any accommodation needs. Once the guest arrives, they don’t need to look around to find the reception desk, because there isn’t one. Instead, a staff member greets the guest in the lobby, as if they are being welcomed into a friend’s home. From this point on, the guest experience flows seamlessly, and those staff members are better equipped to meet each guest’s needs as they surface throughout their stay. As opposed to calling down to the front desk or taking a trip to the lobby for any given request, the guest is an app away from having hospitality and convenience at their fingertips, from ordering room service to booking nearby tours.
Each team member is not just a tour guide of the property or an escort to the guest rooms. They are an advocate for each and every guest that walks into the hotel, providing them with a next-level stay that exemplifies the future of hospitality. So, what goes into preparing for this major operational transition, and why is it seen as a way of the future? Clear and efficient training across all departments, such as housekeeping, maintenance, food and beverage and registration, is key to smoothly implementing this type of program. Each team member needs to feel confident and perform well in each category so the guest experience doesn’t skip a beat and the employee’s day-to-day is enjoyable. Looking ahead at the future of hotel stays, it’s important to understand that this particular shift in technology is not an effort to replace the human factor, but rather strengthen it.
This advancement in the guest experience is not simply a boost for the guest. This strategy enhances the everyday routine of the hotel staff, allowing them to expand their role and take on a varying pool of responsibilities. This in turn opens the door of possibilities for where each staff member can take their career in the future. Not only is an expanded resume helpful from a growth and financial perspective, but the role that this opportunity brings provides a more meaningful, fulfilling work experience that promotes longevity in the industry. Elevating each staff member to a management position in this capacity increases their ability to manage and enhance the guest experience with a 360 degree scope. This approach also allows staff to focus on the experiential, memorable part of a guest’s stay, leaving the transactional tasks to be handled in the background.
Overall, altering the guest experience that hotels have presented as the standard for decades can be a tricky task. Over time, though, change is essential, and understanding the ins and outs of how to be truly hospitable from pre-arrival to post-departure gifts each guest with an unforgettable stay and supports the future of the hospitality industry as a whole.