Is it possible that technology can actually lead to greater guest interaction and satisfaction? Usually, when we discuss technology, we decry that it has been the death of the ability for one on one communication. However, new guest interfacing technology enhanced with artificial intelligence may be changing that. We have been piloting software that allows the hotel team to communicate with guests through text messages. Shortly after checking in, the guest receives a text checking on them and giving them the ability to report problems or needs that they may have. This is so much less intrusive than the old days of the front desk calling the room after check-in. It never failed that the call from the front desk would interrupt your unpacking or just at an inopportune time. This contact is now in the form a text message sent to the guest’s phone, so that they can interact with the team at any time throughout their stay.
Recently my wife was staying at small boutique hotel that was using this technology. This hotel used a platform that appears to be aperson’s first name. After interacting with the hotel team for several days through the platform, she began to wonder is this young lady ever got any time off. She finally realized it was not a person’s name, but rather the name they used in for the system. Because of this system, she probably had more positive interaction with the hotel associates than she would have if left up to face to face communication.
What we have found is that guest are more likely share problems, concerns or needs through text than they are to call the front desk or tell someone about the issue. These systems then allow the issue to be routed to the department or individual that can provide a solution. The software records and tracks the interaction and can escalate a response if needed. All of this has led to better problem resolution and higher overall guest satisfaction.
This use of technology has also been helpful for our teams at the property. Fewer calls to the front desk, allow these associates to have better one on one interaction with those guests in front of them. The ability to quickly forward tasks and track resolution takes away wasted time logging these in manual systems. Also, you don’t have the problem of a busy front desk associate forgetting to write something down and failing to act on the situation.
The key to the successful implementation of technology and artificial intelligence on the property is giving the guest a choice. For the guest that is uncomfortable with technology, they should now have a better experience at the front desk, because the technology has freed up the time of the hotel team member to present in the moment interacting with the guest. For the guests that love technology, they have a better experience because they feel empowered to make their stay as comfortable tailored to their needs as possible. When used correctly, technology can be a win-win situation for the hotel and the guests.