John Bowen, CEO of Mediaconcepts, explains how hotels can embrace technology to help make guests’ lives easier.
Imagine a future hotel stay. It’s a business trip, a new hotel for you and a new city, maybe even a new country. While you pack, you open the confirmation email from the hotel and you not only realise there is a link to an app that allows you to express check-in there and then, but you can also set your room preferences online – choose a particular room, set your preferred room temperature and lighting mood and even set up your favourite TV channels.
Having checked-in online, you receive a welcome email which gives you all the info you might need from the local time on the ground when you’re due to arrive, to the local weather forecast, the currency exchange rate, events at and near the hotel to recommendations on things to do and places to explore nearby. You finish packing accordingly.
You download the app, Priscilla, which helpfully provides hotel address in the local language so you can show the taxi driver. On your way to the hotel, you receive a notification that your room is ready and a mobile key is now available on the app.
On arrival at the hotel you’re greeted by the doorman and directed to your room. The app has already detected that you are in the hotel so when you enter your room, it is exactly the temperature you wanted.
You use the app to order a light meal from room service, book a taxi to take you to your meeting in the morning and take the rest of the night off to enjoy the hotel and your sleep, using the free wifi to catch up on emails.
You’re fresh faced in the morning and leave the room to get your pre-booked taxi. Your room lights turn off because your app knows you have left the room. The taxi arrives on time. Your meeting is a huge success. You celebrate with dinner and drinks at the hotel, making the reservation for you and a colleague on your app as you leave the meeting.
You take a few hours to enjoy some of the sights recommended when you checked in. What a fantastic city.
The hotel manager greets you when you return to the hotel, you chat amicably, remark on your enjoyable stay and she makes some recommendations for your dinner that night.
The next day, you review your bill on your app, check out, request luggage collection and book a return taxi to the airport.
On your way to the airport you get a notification on your app, you accidentally left your passport in your room. The driver returns you to the hotel where the concierge is waiting with your passport. He wishes you well and you head back to the airport and make your flight home with ease. You rate your stay – friendly staff, convenient process from check-in to departure, great recommendations and perfect location – 5 stars.
Sound like a recent trip? No? It could be. This technology is available now for hoteliers to use to make your life easier and help them understand and respond to your needs.
I can’t think of a single industry sector that isn’t facing some kind of massive disruption due to technology, and the hospitality sector is no exception. However, the hospitality industry is unique in that the essence of digital media is the same as the essence of hospitality; both are about conversation, engagement, understanding and shared experience. Used emotively and intelligently, technology and big data has the ability to add more hospitality to the hospitality industry, not take it away as some might fear.
Customers like you expect to interact with suppliers in the same way they interact in their social life – there is no longer a distinction, it’s a bleisure outlook. Instead of going to a website, you may wish to make a booking through Facebook messenger, Instagram, Alexa, Cortana, Skype, Google home or one of the many other interfaces you interact with. We have developed programmes that enable hotels to do this so you could book your next hotel by talking to Google home or Alexa or chatting on Facebook messenger.
It’s an exciting time for the hospitality sector. Technology is changing the world and hoteliers need tech know-how and the agility to move on opportunities quickly – that’s where we can help. We can help hoteliers use technology to improve your customer journey and experience, and make the future stay of tomorrow a reality today.