How to boost customer loyalty in the hotel industry

Using original research, this article helps decision makers to decide what technology will benefit customers and directly respond to growing demand.

Hotel owners can often find it difficult to determine which technologies are a passing craze and which will genuinely bolster customer experience, and in turn, help drive profitable success.

With half of visitors claiming that they use their smartphone every time they visit a hotel it is important that hospitality venues harness this opportunity to achieve more profitable interactions with customers. As budgets tighten in the lead up to the busy winter period, how can hotel owners ensure that the technology they’re considering will positively influence customer spend and frequency?

Our recent report, Battle of the Bandwidths: Why customers are won and lost on the strength of hospitality networks, has directly asked consumers what they want. Our findings provide a unique insight into what current visitors believe their hotel experiences are lacking, when it comes to technology, and how to better engage them in an increasingly digitised world.

1) Engage customers over multiple channels

More than a quarter (27%) of customers claim that they would be more loyal to a venue – or chain – if menus were available to view online. Although it is now commonplace for the reservation process to be digitalised, hotels should also ensure that information is compatible across all mobile screens, signposted and accessible.

With customers engaging online prior to their visit, hotel owners need to recognise this lucrative opportunity to offer personalised incentives based on their browsing activity. If possible, it would also prove beneficial for managers to identify the customer from their card or mobile device on arrival, thus providing an attentive and customised experience.

2) Pain-free payments

Almost a third of customers (28%) stated that they would like contactless and mobile payments to be readily available. With new technology, such as Apple Pay and mobile wallets, becoming mainstream it is worth decision maker’s time to consider whether the investment to boost profits, make payments painless for visitors, and reduce queue times.

To ensure that ‘tap and go’ payments are implemented to provide profitable returns, hotels will need to ensure that networks are robust enough to cope with the new software and heightened traffic during the busy trading period.

3) Technological table service

With over a quarter of consumers (26%) saying they would visit more frequently if they could order digitally from their table, the hotel business needs to review, and reimagine, table service to meet this growing demand.

This type of service is already adopted across many fast-food outlets which offer self-serve kiosks, where customers can order and pay away from a fixed point of sale. It stands to reason, therefore, that this kind of popular service will possibly be rolled out across restaurants within hotels.

4) Staff ambassadors

Almost a quarter of customers questioned claimed they’d like more staff to be equipped with technology to aid the serving process. Staff will then be able to answer any questions instantly, provide a personal experience, as well as potentially enable payments to be taken remotely within the venue.

Happy customers are loyal customers. As our research shows, customers want technology to have a more accessible and integrated presence within the hotel industry. By reviewing whether technology is helping to boost consumer experience, which, in turn will encourage them to increase send, or visit frequency, hotel decision makers can optimise the lucrative opportunities technology innovations present ahead of the festive season.

For more information, please visit http://www.vodat-int.com/

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