More than just offering a simple bed and breakfast, hotel rooms are evolving and being engineered, one amenity at a time, to meet changing traveller demands.
Today, from the planning of the trip, check-in and out of the hotel, to the moment guests return homes, the entire hotel guest experience journey can be digitally assisted to ensure a superb guest experience.
Read more: Hotels Gear Up For Permanent Changes Post COVID-19
Modern guests want their rooms to be perfectly clean as though nobody has touched the scene before they arrive. They want more plugs to charge multiple devices at a time, continue watching their favourite Netflix series even when travelling and make use of their mobile phones to order room services and demand an instant response from employees.
A portion of guests would also want to turn their room into a "work-from-anywhere station" to get away from their home for some time.
As a result, the pandemic makes us question the existence of the once indispensable, even iconic, in-room amenities. Contactless alternatives for various guest-facing technologies undoubtedly will become the prime competitive advantage for hotels to attract guests. Do we continue to display and offer them as they are?
Guest room transformations
Though no one would question its presence, the significant decline in guest room phone usage and revenues from calls are impossible to overlook. Guests can find other ways to communicate with hotel staff and vice versa.
Read more: How Hoteliers Cope with the Rise of the Sharing Economy
Dropped calls, busy lines, or miscommunication between guests and hotel staff can contribute to an unpleasant guest experience. For instance, phone operators may not be able to answer every single call during peak hours. They may also misunderstand requests due to language barriers.
And let's also not forget the maintenance of hardware, the telecommunications systems plus wages for phone operators, landlines are a costly investment.
With such high investment and low return, hotels need to reconsider and justify the costs with a different alternative for communication.
The hotel's digital concierge solution can play a central role in connecting the hotel and guests effortlessly and intuitively. Hence, it is possible to remove landlines altogether.
Guests can adjust in-room amenities based on their preferences using their devices. Employees are instantly notified when guests leave the room, automatically shut down electricity in empty rooms, or predict and schedule maintenance to prevent appliances from breaking down.
Read more: How the Internet of Things (IoT) Is Transforming the Hospitality Industry
While some believe that the minibar represents an indulgence, others argue that the items presented are highly overpriced and mediocre. Should hotels get rid of minibars too after landline telephones?
The minibars have the potential to become one of the most impactful touchpoints that enhance the guest experience. The challenge lies in creating targeted purchases through in-room minibars while meeting food hygiene standards post-COVID.
Manufacturers have been going the extra mile to ensure food and beverage are 100% tampered-free with sanitised PPE packages and warning stickers. Hotels have ante-upped their safety measures from food-safe spray to trays and storages with disinfection capabilities.
These solutions are designed to integrate with the hotel's systems to notify staff when inventory runs low. Product data also enables hoteliers to know which are guests' favourite items, shelf life, and more, thus building customisation abilities that hoteliers always strive for.
All in all, minibars can create a sustainable and profitable source of income. Instead of selling the typical uninspiring bottles of juice or water, hotels can entice guests by offering them a chance to taste the unique local flavours. Locally sourced, eco-friendly products for the minibars can elevate the guest experience while supporting local communities is an act that modern travellers actively sought after.
Read more: Why Sustainability Is Important in Hospitality and the Best Practices
All in all...
Nearly a handful of physical touchpoints are now reduced to practically one - the guests’ personal smart devices.
Not every solution listed in this series might be practical, and thus deployable, for every hotel. Unfortunately, there is yet to be a one-size-fits-all solution that can provide an ultimate contactless, personalised travelling experience.
Technology investments are hefty and require buy-in from not only the C-suite but also from employees at all levels, an agile organisation culture, and adequate workforce planning strategies.
If you are a hotel owner or operator and interested in building "smart guest rooms" for your guests and "smart offices" to enhance your employees' efficiency, thorough research and investigation into different solutions, vendors, and the above-mentioned technologies are highly vital for the growth of your business.
Don't know where to start? Our Hospitality Resource Portal is a great stepping stone for you.
You have come to the end of Part 3 of our multiple parts series about "Unmasking the New Face of Hospitality" where we will discuss in-depth the various contactless technologies and opportunities for establishing new revenue models.
Read the complete series here: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 4 | Part 5
Are you in need of a solution for your hotel? Talk to our consultants and request a demo today!