In the same way that big brands can negotiate special commission agreements with online travel agencies, a middle size hotel brand doesn't always have the buying power of a big brand to negotiate a way out of it. These mid-size brands must look for open application programming interface at every turn with every technology in order to have seamless operations and to avoid the extra integration fees, because in a downturn, those dollars are even more critical to sustaining the organization.
What your guests want is the fastest possible response, whether to a reservation inquiry or a customer service problem. So the solution might look like chatbots, which do create efficiencies. IBM reports that chatbots can answer 80% of questions and save up to 30% in support costs. However, 50% of UK respondents in a survey and 40% of U.S. respondents said that they prefer a person. This leaves hotels with live chat and/or round-the-clock answering services.
With the rise of on-demand services like Uber, consumers have come to expect service even faster. Hotels that offer mobile or kiosk options will excel at user experience, keeping lines short for those who prefer the in-person experience. There are an array of tech solutions for check-in, including tablet check-in with QR codes, facial recognition, fingerprint recognition, and, of course, basic mobile check-in.
It’s time hotels shift their focus to employee engagement. Suggestions include creating forums where staff can offer advice, answer questions, and provide perspectives. Moreover, providing staff with the means to communicate with one another easily, whether via messaging app or text creates more opportunities for engagement, especially for a staff that is constantly moving about the property.