The demands and expectations of the average consumer are at an all-time high and this couldn’t be more relevant than in the hospitality industry. Hotel guests aren’t just looking for a place to stay anymore, they want an experience; one that’s not only memorable, but also safe and hassle free. The ability of hoteliers to curate a more connected, secure, and convenient stay for their guests is what is setting them apart. And technology plays a vital role in making that happen.
In today’s market, truly savvy hotel executives understand that a personalized experience begins at the time of booking. Consumers have access to more information than ever before with countless reviews and ratings at their fingertips as well as alternative stay options, such as Airbnb, disrupting an already congested space.
With the right technology, hotels can break through the booking clutter to customize content and ultimately win them over. With website personalization technology, a hotel can intuitively suggest particular properties, room categories, package types, and even rates tailored to each user’s expectations. After a customer takes the first step of booking a property, the establishment can subsequently gain loyalty by delivering a hotel experience that is executed according to very specific and high-level criteria to ensure every need and want is met.
Many guests now prefer using technology over face-to-face interaction. Remote check-in and check-out options are becoming more popular, and some hotels are even beginning to utilize apps that let guests order room service right from their mobile devices. Other features such as on-site kiosks and a mobile concierge deliver the perfect balance of connectivity, simplicity, and convenience for the seasoned traveler. Auto-enabling basic requests through technology not only benefits the guest but saves a hotel substantially on labor costs while freeing up staff for activities that enhance the guest experience.
Mobile Key Technology
The ability for guests to check-in to their room remotely has been around for some time, but the ability to access their room using a mobile device is still a relatively new concept that’s quickly gaining in popularity. Digital keys ensure a secure yet hassle-free entry and exit for guests, allowing them to conveniently skip the line at the front desk and go directly to their room. Mobile key technology is a substantial time-saver especially for business travelers who are consistently looking for value-added shortcuts. From a branding perspective, mobile key solutions are one more way to leverage technology and drive guest loyalty through processing efficiency and better utilization of staff contributions.
Travelers want to trust that when they stay at a hotel, their personal data is protected — credit card numbers, billing addresses, and contact information. With the influx of hotel data breaches over the last few years, individuals and corporate travel managers have questioned whether promised security is even possible.
Virtual credit cards have emerged as a proven solution, providing a secure payment alternative that mitigates the risk of future data breaches that can impact hotel guests. Virtual cards employ a single-use number with a preset spending limit specific to the expected hotel transaction amount. If a charge is attempted outside of those preset limits, the transaction is declined. After the virtual card is used, the number and accompanying data instantly becomes invalid. This reduces the opportunity for fraud exponentially. If a hotel data breach does occur, travelers using virtual credit cards can rest easy knowing that their information is protected.
In order for travel brands to stay relevant in a highly competitive space, they’ll need to understand what today’s consumers value most. Travelers are seeking a more customized experience, and hotels that can fully embrace technology will ultimately be more successful. Those who fail to adapt, may quickly find themselves falling behind and grappling to answer important questions about payment security.
CSI is looking forward to HITEC this year, where we’ll join other industry professionals to learn more about the latest trends in hospitality technology. If you’re attending HITEC Minneapolis, visit us at booth 3021.