All great guest experiences start with a great first impression. The Wall Street Journal, while talking about hotels’ efforts to make a good first impression, remarks, “hotels want to dazzle guests during the first, crucial 15 minutes of their stay.”
However, it isn’t always easy to engage, let alone dazzle the digital generation of today as soon as they interact with a brand physically or virtually.
Tech-savvy travelers expect seamless and personalized digital guest experiences nowadays. After all, 93 percent of travelers prefer travel brands with technology that simplifies travel.
But this isn’t enough. Their digital experiences should be seamlessly intertwined with warm and personal hospitality experiences. And, striking the right balance between technology and human touch isn’t as straightforward as it seems.
In this article, we give you tips on how to deliver a great first impression to hotel guests in the digital age.
Start with a strong online presence
Your first impressions are made online in this digital age.
Thus, having an attractive website with fast processing speed, mobile-first design, and a simple booking process, along with a strong social media presence, is a must these days.
You can further strengthen your online presence by having high visibility across various online channels, viz. OTAs, metasearch sites, etc.
Also, engage in social listening and make sure that you reply to all types of feedback on your property and services across various review sites and social media channels.
Consider harnessing the power of other sophisticated digital technologies, like chatbots. Hotels around the world are using AI chatbots and virtual assistants to communicate with potential or current guests online. This helps them gain crucial insights into their guests’ behaviors and preferences while providing customers with quick and efficient customer support.
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Ensure smooth check-in and a warm welcome
As your reception is the first customer touch point upon his arrival, you need to make sure you offer the right balance of ‘high tech’ and ‘human touch’ at this point. This means your reception need not only be friendly but also digitally friendly.
Your guest expects you to provide much more in addition to warm greetings from the well-trained staff and overall clean and bright environment at the reception. Here, they start looking for experiences that would make their check-in simple and smooth. So, you should start providing hyper-digitized experiences right from that point.
Along with online check-in and check-out service, lots of hotels are now experimenting with providing an automated process for guests to pick their preferred room type and other amenities, like double bed, ground floor, and so on, even before their arrival. Guests, in this case, just have to go to the reception and pick the keys to their room as a part of the express check-in feature. Some hotels also allow guests to use their smartphones as room keys, thereby completely eliminating the need to go to the desk at check-in.
Offer other digital engagement touchpoints
There are many other ways in which you can engage with your guests digitally soon after they arrive at your hotel.
Some of these digital engagement strategies don’t only make the guest experience better, they even help you promote your services. You can make use of digital screens in your lobby to promote your services and showcase photos of your property and people enjoying at your hotel while using your services and amenities. Your Wi-Fi connection can also be a promotion tool for you that can take users directly to your website or a landing page.
Robot concierges are being adopted by many hotels these days. Even though the robot technology lacks the high touch factor, robots free up the time of human staff and help personalize a guest’s stay.
A lot of hotels are also partnering with digital service providers, like Netflix or other digital media providers for ensuring exceptional guest experiences. For example, hotels these days provide in-room streaming services via Netflix to ensure a high-quality viewing experience for guests with their Netflix credentials.
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