John Jones has an extensive background in university management and commercial trading and has spent the past 10 years working in the hospitality sector. As Managing Director of online hotel booking systems specialists, Welcome Systems Ltd, he believes the gap in big chain dominance over hospitality tech and independent hoteliers is narrowing.
If you’re an independent hotelier frustrated by the feeling that big hotel industry players get all of the tech toys ahead of anyone else don’t abandon hope
While the upfront cost of investing in cutting-edge systems may seem to be an obstacle for independents, tech trends tend to find a way of trickling down eventually.
If you consider yourself to be a tech-savvy hotelier, here are five developments being embraced by the big chains which will soon be attainable by independent operators.
You may know that smart TVs with internet-enabled abilities are entering circulation at mainstream hotel chains. And with brands like Samsung driving down the price of their intelligent displays, this technology is becoming more accessible.
Smart TVs are about more than just meeting guest expectations and opening up a new world of content; they also appeal thanks to their interactions with other gadgets. From mobiles and laptops to consoles and beyond, a modern television can enhance the stay of any traveller.
VR has gained a lot of traction thanks to affordable headsets and the engaging, interactive experiences on offer. As such it can be surprisingly effective as a tool for marketing hotels and destinations.
You can let guests get a preview of rooms in full 3D before they visit or highlight local attractions with VR. It’s an exciting opportunity to get creative and sell, sell, sell.
Providing guests with a place to plug in their gadgets is standard practice in the age of the smartphone. But modern devices are moving away from cables altogether, thanks to wireless charging technology.
Apple’s most recent raft of iPhone handsets come with wireless charging capabilities, and interestingly it was a little late to the party. Many of its rival mobile makers had already embraced this tech.
Adding wireless charging stations to a hotel room will make things super convenient for guests, and could be a real selling point. Plus they’re relatively affordable, which is a bonus.
AI Customer Service Capabilities
While true artificial intelligence is still a way off becoming a reality, hotels are harnessing this tech in the form of chat bots which can deal with guest questions in an instant.
Adding a chat bot to a hotel website makes it simple to engage potential customers from the outset. And if you have limited customer service resources at your disposal, this can be a great way to avoid missing out. So it’s not just for major chains.
Guests like a personal touch when they visit a hotel. And various technologies are coming together to ensure that each visit is as unique as possible.
In-depth analysis of data is at the heart of this movement. Mobiles are particularly useful here, since they can provide location-based insights into customer behaviour which are really relevant for hoteliers.
Successfully managing your relationship with guests from the point of first contact to the follow-up marketing after their stay is less of a pain thanks to personalisation.