Balancing High-Tech and High-Touch

Nov 03, 2021

Hospitality has undergone a rapid and long-awaited digital transformation. Having played a key role in the industry’s recovery, the innovative technological solutions hoteliers are embracing have been deemed as critical components to a hotel’s operations—a viewpoint much different from the one the industry held not long ago.  

The industry has been slow to adapt to the digital era. As other industries began embracing tech-driven personalization and connectivity long before 2020, hotels faced increasing pressure to deliver the seamless digital convenience guests began to experience in their everyday lives. Despite this, hoteliers argued that relying on technology could threaten the entire purpose of the industry: hospitality.

In a post-pandemic world, the benefits technology provides are crucial, and hoteliers who are slow to adapt run the risk of being left behind. However, integrating the solutions gripping the industry doesn’t mean eliminating the human element of hospitality; high-touch service and high-tech tools is a balancing act, and when done correctly, it can drive dramatically improved guest engagement and empower seamless operations. Read on to learn three tactics to use technology that can help strike the right balance.

Focus on Fostering Communication

With hospitality being one of the most competitive industries in a post-pandemic climate, it’s more important than ever to capture and maintain guest attention and loyalty through thoughtful, timely and personalized guest communications. Digital platforms can play a large role in fostering long-term connections with guests by enabling hoteliers to continually collect and use guest data. With the right platforms in place, hoteliers can create a personalized, individual guest experience.

The booking process and pre-stay communications are great touchpoints to extract valuable information about the client's preferences and tailor a hotel stay to their needs by allowing guests to make special requests or pre-ordering amenities before they check in. Tracking guest behavior, demographics and interests can also help staff craft a personal experience for each guest. Modern platforms with integration capabilities, such as an industry leading Property Management System, can streamline and organize the data from all a hotel’s channels into one easy-to-read dashboard. These platforms can also help monitor and track guest preferences and industry trends, identify upsell opportunities, measure hotel performance and more.

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Use Tech as a Tool to Empower Staff

Not only does technology help curate a personalized profile of each guest, but when the right tools are employed, it also helps offset the operational load of frontline staff. By taking some communications and touchpoints digital, guests can receive more efficient service, and staff are encouraged to connect with guests on a more personal level than before.

Technology can also improve the speed and accuracy of hotel service, which are critical components of the guest experience. Regardless of a property’s location and amenities, slow and faulty service leave guests with negative experiences; however, the industry-wide labor shortage has made it difficult for hotel employees to respond to guest needs in a timely manner. With the right information readily available, employees can make faster, more educated decisions and better serve hotel guests needs—and using a PMS with readily-available data can give employees the tools they need to do so.

Relieved from the pressure of tedious tasks, hotel staff are empowered to create more impactful guest interactions, while simultaneously equipping guests with a seamless experience. In this way, technology can offer hoteliers with enhanced service by turning administrative processes into automated functions, supporting employees and streamlining operations.

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Give Guests a Choice

Modern guests prefer the choices that technological amenities equip them with. For example, tablet-based Smart kiosks allow travelers to skip long check-in lines, while mobile check-in and text-based communications give guests the convenience of making requests and accessing their room from their Smartphones. Those who would rather have the traditional face-to-face check-in experience, on the other hand, can enjoy reduced lines and more personalized service from front desk staff.

Equipping a hotel with these guest-facing technological tools can help create a more connected and convenient stay, and the optional nature of these services allows guests to choose an experience they prefer. Because every guest has unique preferences and needs, it is vital to invest in technology that allows for effective multi-channel communication, such as a PMS with a custom range of engagement capabilities tailored to a specific property. In doing this, hoteliers can ensure they are equipped to meet a range of guest preferences while keeping staff in constant connection.

High-tech and high-touch don’t always have to oppose one another. When done correctly, technology can provide the necessary support a hotel staff needs to provide a personalized, enhanced guest experience—ensuring increased satisfaction and loyalty.

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