Hospitality professionals are now operating in an age where user-friendly customer- and guest-facing technology is everywhere (thanks in large part to the omnipresence of mobile internet connectivity) and traveller demographics are increasingly made up of a new cohort of digital-native consumers. The combination of these two factors means that self-service options in hospitality are becoming an expected part of the travel experience.
For this month’s trend digest, we have rounded up the top resources from around the web that take a look at the growing phenomenon of self-service solutions in the hospitality industry, what it means for the guest experience, and how to maintain the elusive human touch.
Whether they’re ordering meals and managing music, making a reservation at your restaurant, or scheduling a session at your spa, providing guests with a self-service interface can help you to upsell your services at the touch of a button.
Guests expect ever more personalised, convenient and streamlined interactions with hotels and their staff, leading to self-service becoming the new norm in the hospitality industry.
“As self-service technology continues to evolve and gain popularity, we can expect improved cost efficiency, personalization and a smoother, more seamless experience for both hotels and guests, as traditional service becomes a thing of the past.” – Jos Schaap, StayNTouch
How much self-service is too much, or too little? How do you find the balance? Ask yourself “who benefits” before implementing self-service procedures – are you doing this to enhance your guest experience, or only because there’s something in it for you?
“In fact, it’s possible that a guest who walks into your hotel lobby this afternoon may not have actually spoken to a single other person face-to-face throughout their entire journey. That’s why it’s so important to think carefully about your hotel’s balance between the convenience of self-service and the authenticity of the human touch.” – WorldHotels Collection
The benefits of self-service transcend industry boundaries, but one thing that self-service kiosks inevitably lack is personality. Deanna Salas discusses how to create more “human” self-service experience for users.
“While machines get a bad rap for being cold and impersonal, they do make it easier to deliver consistent experiences. By entering an email, the conversation starts again, and this time it knows more about me and can keep learning and make relevant recommendations.” – Deanna Salas, Forbes
It can be tempting to jump on the tech bandwagon and give your guests free reign over everything from check-in to check-out , but bestselling customer service author, Micah Solomon, cautions that there are five best practices that you should not ignore when implementing self-service options.
“Self-service can’t be set and then forgotten. It’s always a work in progress... It has to be monitored and reviewed regularly. Specifically, every time you set up a process, you need to monitor it.” – Micah Solomon, Forbes