Connecting with the modern hotel guest

As technology has improved, guests staying at hotels have begun to bypass the personal touch offered by concierge services and crafting their own experiences through research online. So as a hotel manager, how can you tap-in to these digital users to create opportunities for your business?

Here we look at several emerging hotel technology trends and how a full-fibre connection can allow you to improve guest experience, increase productivity among your staff and save you money through operational efficiencies.

“Reliable, ultrafast connectivity is as important to our guests as a comfortable bed and a hot shower – without it, we wouldn’t have a business

Nicola Taylor, Founder, Chardon Trading

Smart Rooms

The modern hotel room has many different uses – it’s a place for guests to plan their next adventure or culinary highlight, researching on the web to get a sense of the area around them. It’s the digital photo lab, where the day’s best pictures are edited, captioned and uploaded. It’s the rainy-day activity spot, as streamed films and games replace the trip to the cinema on a wet evening. Data-hungry guests expect all these functions to run simultaneously, and run-of-the-mill broadband connections simply don’t meet their standards. Forty percent of guests are worried about the connection available at hotels. Upgrading your connectivity solution to a gigabit-speed full-fibre line should be of paramount importance to hoteliers looking to give their customers the best hotel experience.

The Internet of Things (IOT) is expanding rapidly across the globe, and forward-thinking hoteliers have been some of the earliest adopters of this technology. Wi-Fi  enabled features such as heating, lighting and entertainment systems can now be controlled from a guest’s personal device, allowing preferences to be set from the airport, or from under the covers after a long evening!

Embracing this change and upgrading the room around your guests can massively boost guest satisfaction and lead to return bookings, whilst giving your business added touchpoints and information which can be used to create sales opportunities and discover cost-efficiencies.

Over a basic connection, these technologies would severely hinder guest connectivity, syphoning bandwidth from the other applications your guests are trying to access. However, a gigabit-speed network with robust bandwidth can handle numerous connected devices in each hotel room, all running seamlessly in the background. Each device allows you to get a better sense of your guests’ preferences by collecting data metrics, enabling you to create a guest profile – and personalise their next visit.

As well as personalising guest experience, the data collected from IOT sensors can be used to measure different utilities in your building giving you an insight into areas of the business you could improve. Wi-Fi enabled sensors can be implemented on everything from thermostats to plug sockets – giving you the best picture of your energy requirements and creating an opportunity to save money through clever, efficient automated programs.

The personal touch

Eighty-five percent of the UK’s population now own a smartphone and on average hotel guests bring 3 devices with them to hotels. Most, if not all will connect to the hotel Wi-Fi, presenting a unique opportunity to personalise the guest experience right from their pockets.

Over 60% of guests suggest they would be happy to check in, order room service or contact the concierge via their smartphone. Each of these services offers hotels a chance to upsell additional services in a low-touch manner; sponsored activity suggestions upon check-in, offers and deals on room service purchases etc.

These virtual interactions are also useful in understanding more about your customer, such as food preferences, spending habits or other key information. Data from these interactions can be used to build a guest’s personal profile and, when coupled with data from their IOT device interactions, enables the hotel to craft the perfect guest experience. Guests could arrive to their hotel room and find their favourite song playing, a favourite drink on the bedside table and other preferences catered for which had been defined on previous visits.

Again, these different technologies require a dependable service to run over to handle the array of devices being used in your hotel each day. Otherwise, the digital services you are trying to provide could end up inhibiting your guests’ basic browsing ability. A full-fibre connection is necessary to enable the smooth running of these technologies, guest interactions with the services, and the hotel’s ability to deal with these interactions in an instantaneous and consistent fashion.

Supercharge Operations

These online customer touchpoints also benefit your staff. With so many basic requests now being handled online, your employees can deal with more serious guest issues knowing the small things are being dealt with.

A full-fibre connection can also allow for the implementation of useful online services. A hotel has a lot of moving parts working in sync, and having a cloud-based hotel ops management program running in real-time means your reservations and enquiries will be received without delay. And keeping your staff connected can help add a rapid response to any situations arising, with interdepartmental communication apps allowing for maximum interaction between different parts of the hotel. Having these applications underpinned by a speedy, reliable connection will mean both your staff and your guests get the services they deserve.

Summary

The data demands of your guests are growing exponentially and show no signs of slowing. Switching to a reliable, full-fibre service is necessary to match the uptake in the online services your guests utilise, and with some clever IOT devices and communications systems, a gigabit-speed connection can give your business a game-changing digital boost.