The Digital Lobby
How touch screens and tablets can improve the guest welcome experience.
Tech is permeating all aspects of hospitality, from in-room tablets to text-enabled room service. The latest trend: modernizing the lobby. According to Guest Preferences for Technology Use in Hotels: IndustryView 2015, a survey by technology research and advisory company Software Advice, 60 percent of respondents are more likely to book a location that allows them to check in with a smartphone, and 37 percent are more likely to stay where there’s technology in the lobby such as touch screens and self-serve kiosks. These advances help minimize lines at the front desk and speed up check-in.
“Hospitality technology should reflect the kinds of conveniences travelers expect in their daily lives,” says Taylor Short, hotel market analyst at Software Advice and author of the report. Many everyday transactions have become self-serve, such as grocery store checkouts and airline check-ins, and travelers expect the same experience.
Kiosks are great for guests who want to access their rooms quickly, but Short recommends a mix of staff and self-serve technology to increase efficiency without losing personal service. Red Lion Hotel Corporation strikes a balance by offering a traditional check-in but virtualizing the concierge through InfoGlass touch screens, which offer information about the resort and the surrounding area.
Or consider equipping staff with tablets so they can move around while checking guests in, which expedites the process while maintaining quality. Outside the lobby, tablets can help staff take orders by the pool, manage schedules and more. “Maximize convenience for your guests so they can maximize their experience,” Short recommends. One caveat: Be sure not to sacrifice customer service while you upgrade.
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