Improving the Guest Experience: Three Must-Ask Questions for Solution Providers

Hoteliers need to understand the underlying issues related to how guests are experiencing their brands and properties and work diligently to improve the guest experience on an ongoing basis. 

The good news, according to The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management (currently available for complimentary downloadis that nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of large and full-service hotels, and more than half (51 percent) of midsize and limited service hotels, indicate that their organizations have been either “successful” or “very successful” in improving the quality of the guest experience in recent years.

Infographic - The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management

This success is due, in large part, to the implementation of next-generation technology solutions. The key question for hoteliers to ask is: What combination of technology capabilities are required in order to deliver more personalized and relevant guest experiences, based on people’s individual wants, needs, situations and preferences, both stated and inferred? 

Perhaps more than anything else, Guest Experience Management is about making guests feel special and appreciated. It is about recognizing and acknowledging their value. It is about anticipating and catering to their needs.  

The following are just three of the questions that decision makers and influencers may wish to explore with technology solution providers. The goal is to ensure that, once implemented, the solution — whether a next-generation PMS, a department-specific module (spa, valet, golf, etc.), a service optimization / guest response management solution, an advanced housekeeping management solution, and/or a CRM solution — will achieve the desired objectives with respect to GEM platform capabilities.

Does the solution readily integrate with other technologies?

Seamless technology integration (best achieved through an open API model) is the name of the game when it comes to optimizing hotel operations as well as improving the overall guest experience. 

Technology interoperability across hotel functions and departments is key to creating unified platform capabilities and a unified view of guest relationships. Guest profile data housed in the PMS needs to be continuously updated with transaction and interaction data, from retail shop and restaurant food and beverage purchases to maintenance, housekeeping, concierge and valet requests. 

All data needs to be integrated into the common flow. The goal is to connect to guests in all the ways they want to interact, connect to staff members and service teams so they can service guest request, and connect to all systems to streamline workflow and provide better and more personalized offers and services.

Tip: Confirm that any solution under consideration can be integrated with the existing technology infrastructure. Look for platforms that use an open API to augment their core offering, with an integration layer that enables easy connectivity.

Does the solution offer flexibility in performance reporting? 

Hoteliers may have special reporting needs. Most solutions come equipped with a large number — in some cases, dozens — of standard dashboards and reports that should meet most hoteliers’ day-to-day performance management requirements. That said, not all data queries can be anticipated in advance. 

With 87% of hoteliers ranking the need to gain access to data and insights from the PMS and other technology solutions as “important” or “very important” for the purpose of identifying new opportunities to enhance the guest experience, it stands to reason that they would also want to ensure that any solution under consideration is able to meet these expectations.

Tip: Find out to what extent custom reporting is possible in the context of the hotel’s GEM-related initiatives.

Is the solution mobile-optimized? 

Mobility has become an important enabler of the guest experience. Giving all staff members instant access to information through their mobile devices significantly reduces guest wait times and minimizes guest inconvenience. Employee-facing mobile capabilities, including check-in and check-out, enable staff to better service guests on the go. 

According to the research (click here to access), 86% of survey respondents agree that employees at all levels and across all parts of the organization require mobile access to be most effective in their jobs. This includes managers who need to be able to remotely monitor operational performance and track productivity.

Tip: Ensure that mobile enablement is a core feature of any solution under consideration. 

Published this month by Starfleet Research, the leading provider of best practices IT research and recommendations for the hospitality industry, The 2017 Smart Decision Guide to Hotel Guest Experience Management is now available for complimentary download. It can be accessed here

The research is based on data collected from 183 qualified survey respondents. The content was independently produced, providing for unbiased, fact-based information. The underwriters of the new Smart Decision Guide are the following industry leaders: Agilysys, ALICE, Amadeus, Infor and Sabre Hospitality Solutions.