Changing lifestyle and expectations of guests are largely contributing to the pace of change in the facilities and services being offered in the hospitality industry. Mobiles, tabs, laptops, wi-fi, applications, social media… play an essential role in the next gen technology driven housekeeping. Harish Chandra, Chief Information Officer, Sarovar Hotels, deliberates on the pros and cons of smart solutions in housekeeping.
In the last few years, smart phones, i-pad and laptops are largely being used by guests to make their bookings and avail of facilities during their stay at the hotel. Moreover, social media has empowered today’s guests to post instant messages and comments about their stay at any hotel.
Guests demand a superior stay experience and expect a wide range of reliable and efficient information, entertainment, communications and hospitality support services that can be easily accessed whenever they need them. They expect staff to be able to respond to their needs quickly by leveraging all available hotel services.
A paradigm shift is required to think about the guest needs differently and to align them with the hotel’s practices and hospitality business trends Hotel chains have started looking at an approach that leverages new technologies enabling a more robust system with centralized control and that provides the best solution for guest experience.
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Hotels are gearing up to cater all the Gen’s of consumers. Today’s guest prefers simple electronic & technology systems and wishes to experience a ‘home away from home’. In this view hotels prefer to use KISS principle -‘keep it simple and sober’ – instead of overdoing or over playing with technology.
– Harish Chandra
Hotels depend on new age smart solutions to track guest preferences. Identifying a guest in hotel reception or lobby using ‘iBeacon Blue tooth Technology’ and knowing his past stay experience, complaints and appreciations help hotels in offering customized services and facilities as per guest likings. Social Media, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC) facilitate hotel chains monitor and analyse online available data for guest service request. Hotels are able to identify the source of complaints and analyse types of complaints lodged by the guest. In the long run, this also helps include guest preferences in the annual budgeting.
Different applications are used to increase operational efficiency which eventually adds to bottom line. The Apps help mobilize the work force through an auto assigning system on smart mobile devices to cater to guest service requests. It also monitors whether a service request is closed as per hotel standards and within the defined time. It also brings down the escalating unattended service challenges faced by hotel executives up the hierarchy.
The Apps also maintain records of all service requests, to whom it has been assigned and the completion of task.
Guest service management solutions that have ability to handle high volume are used by most of International chains. Some have capabilities to record guest likes and dislikes. This info is stored in ‘CIS’ – Customer information service’ for future customized offerings.
There are hotels that are deploying converged solutions that operates and integrates the disparate systems onto a single managed application for automated billing minibar systems, point of sale system, CCTV monitoring and property management systems in a more cost effective way.
A reliable Hotel CRM solution supports guest services and hospitality management operations. In fact, it is the foundation to a superior guest experience. This is a new approach to manage guest needs, to create guest loyalty and WOW factor.
Customizable and Accessible apps that make hotel more efficient and improve guest’s satisfaction are available today. Apple mobile applications for iphone, ipad, itouch and other smart phones apps are also available with hotel employees. These can be used by both front desk staff and back-of-house employees.
Dashboard provides quick snapshot of service request and gives real time overview of all happenings in the hotel; i.e. How many requests are pending, closed or unassigned service calls. Occupancy, VIP in house or expected to arrive etc. can also be seen. These apps facilitate efficient guest service commitment by anticipating guest needs and promise prompt service.