How Smart Mobile Travel Assistants aka Hotel Smartphones and Other Technology Impact Guest Experience in Luxury Hotels Read more
How Smart Mobile Travel Assistants aka Hotel Smartphones and Other Technology Impact Guest Experience in Luxury Hotels Read more
With continuous changes and developments in the digital world, industries and businesses need to adapt to the latest technological innovations and advancements.
After every decade, every industry experiences the need to go through a series of technological changes and transformations. And same is the case with the hospitality and food and beverage industry.
Today, hotel guests prefer to stay at those hotels than can offer a personalized hotel experience to their guests. Right from selecting the best snowbird heliskiing destinations to getting details about accommodations and reservations; people prefer a more quick, reliable and efficient customer service.
All kinds of hotel operators are actively adapting to the latest technologies that are specially made for the hotel industry. Right from building personalized mobile apps to providing virtual room tours, hotel operators are using all their digital resources to improve the overall quality of their service for their clients.
Today, hotels are aware of the competition between both new and old hotel operators. As a result, businesses are striving hard to find stand out by offering more personalized services to their clients.
To survive amidst the corona pandemic, companies need to upgrade their internal and external business operations.
By using the latest technological solutions, hotel operators can address different issues related to the hospitality industry and find effective ways to solve them.
Today the use of the Internet of Things (IoT) can be seen everywhere. Through smart rooms, guests can control all different amenities. And with the help of AI bots, guests can get a timely response on behalf of the hotel operators.
Whether it is IoT (Internet of Things), AI (Artificial Intelligence) or VR, (Virtual Reality), the hotel industry is benefiting a lot by using these technologies.
Just like any other service industry today, clients expect a smooth and uninterrupted hotel experience. The use of technology and the level of service given to customers should be better than what clients have access to at home.
With the rise of Airbnb and other online lodging services, accommodation that is backed by IoT and other smart features are becoming more popular among the general public.
• An IoT enabled smart room allows guests to access all amenities and services through the hotel’s own mobile app or voice assistants like Siri or Alexa.
• In smart rooms, all appliances, gadgets, and amenities are controlled by IoT hardware and voice assistants.
• Smart rooms help the guests to get more personalized and timely services from the hotel operators.
AI solutions, when combined with ML (machine learning), can determine big data that gives more accurate estimates for improving the decision-making powers.
One of the most famous examples of the implementation of AI in the hospitality industry is the increasing use of chatbots. These automated bots can:
• Help to improve the overall user experience of guests during their stay at a hotel.
• Are programmed to interact with hotel guests through various apps.
• Can provide relevant information regarding purchase history, accommodation, food preferences, online and offline payment options, recreational activities offered, etc.
With time and continuous testing and support, these bots tend to improve and become more for giving suggestions and recommendation to guests.
AI-driven bots are more responsive and quick. They can provide prompt answers and suggestions to guests on time. Chatbots have undoubtedly become the foundation of the entire hospitality industry.
Right from making reservations, to providing online customer support when combined with machine learning algorithms can help to predict customer behavior while making a booking with a hotel operator.
With the help of AR, ML, and VR technologies, hotels can provide virtual rooms tours. To experience these virtual tours, people need to have:
• Access to a computer
• Any smart device with a Wi-Fi connection
• VR glasses
In some cases, hotels provide headsets to their clients. Through customized hotel apps, users can access all kinds of information regarding accommodation, food, and other services charges.
Considering the current situation regarding the COVID 19 outbreak, a branded hotel application can help both customers and hotel operators to interact without any form of physical contact.
Moreover, guests can access any hotel service from anywhere anytime. Furthermore, guests can receive various notifications, alerts, messages, and updates through these apps. Therefore, customers can make online bookings, check-in, and check-out through these apps.
For years, hoteliers looking to enhance their guests’ travel experience have been using apps to make travel more convenient and personalized. However, while apps have been used by reputable hotel chains like Marriot International and Choice Hotels, they’re quickly becoming a thing of the past when compared to the capabilities of hotel smartphones like Manet.
With the proven ability to improve guest satisfaction, these devices manage to do everything an app can do and far more. The hotel smartphone, or rather, Manet mobile travel assistant, is already being used in many hotels across the world and is quickly becoming a favorite of travelers and hoteliers alike. The reason? There’s plenty.
A mobile travel assistant is exactly what it sounds like. Someone in your pocket who can recommend restaurants (and keep you from the bad ones), help you book trips and activities, and even help you navigate the city. Devices like the Italian Manet traveler smartphones are a high-quality replacement for the apps that guests don’t bother downloading, have trouble accessing, or simply can’t figure out how to navigate. A mobile travel assistant completely eliminates this hassle. The smartphone is there for the guest in their room, packed with features, equipped with a SIM card and ready to be used for the duration of their stay.
There are so many small cards and devices that hotels use to enhance their guests’ experience. What if these devices were all centralized into just one smartphone? The Manet traveler smartphone can replace a wide range of hotel tech, including:
With all these features incorporated into one device, guests can worry less about losing things they need for their stay. The convenience doesn’t stop there, however, as hotel smartphones also allow guests easy access to room service and the concierge, and are an easy and fast to use communication channel with their hotel as explained further below.
Even if your hotel has a well-running app, what happens if guests need to use it but don’t have internet access? With a smartphone, this problem is completely avoided.
With Manet’s free unlimited local and international calls, and unlimited 4G connectivity in and outside the hotel property, your guests will never have to worry about connectivity and hidden charges.
Even better, devices like Manet can also be used as WiFi hotspots so that guests can use additional devices, like personal laptops, smartphones, and tablets, without additional charges. Talk about earning good favor with guests! With easy 24/7 access to every online service and social app they could want and need, your guests will be taken care of at all times.
Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Manet traveler smartphones can help every hotel guest have an experience that’s tailor made for them and their needs. Here are just a few of the features guests can access on their Manet device:
Having all this services and data collected on just one device, without needing to search and dig around for them, allows guests to relax and enjoy their stay and time in the city. Needless to say, this new way of traveling, accompanied by a hotel smart mobile assistant is being highly praised by guests who’ve gotten to take advantage of it. Hotel smartphones are also a great solution for parents, traveling with young kids, who just don’t have the time to plan any last-minute outings without a ton of stress.
If you use a smartphone and have read carefully what’s written in this article, you can easilly imagine why hotel apps cannot compete with Manet Hotel Smartphones & Dashboard and why the latter are making travelers’ and hoteliers’ lives easier and happier!
Visit www.manetmobile.com to discover more!
While we can still work to prevent some of the environmental threats, others should be reversed. Being a large part of the tourism industry, hotels can contribute to making a significant difference by applying certain changes in their policies.
Apart from offering the obviously necessary environmental benefits, sustainability in hospitality also proves to be more profitable in the long run by lowering costs and attracting consumers. While owning or managing a hotel or resort you have access to a number of practices which will make the place more eco-friendly.
It is no news that plastics are not environmentally feasible. Single-use plastic items, produced for a whole range of purposes are used for one day or shorter. When disposed of, they take 1000 years to decompose, acting as a menace for all animals, especially marine life during that time.
However, it’s becoming clear now that it can be replaced in almost all circumstances. Biodegradable materials, paper bags, and cloth bags are an easy solution for storing laundry, food, and other purposes. You can use wax wraps instead of plastic to store food products. Instead of providing guests with plastic toothbrushes, provide them with eco-friendly bamboo ones with a sweet note that informs them of its organic origin and encourages them to take the toothbrush home after their stay.
Thanks to the increased awareness, many consumers wary of public places that promote the use of plastics. They tend to avoid these places, ruining hoteliers whose success depends on attracting customers. There are a number of startups that offer refills without the hassle of plastic packaging for food products, cleaning supplies and toiletries. Many famous chains including Marriott have successfully started placing pump bottles in washrooms instead of tiny bottles of shampoos and lotions.
One of the most common plastic items on hotel tables are straws. Millions of straws are used and discarded every day. Instead, you can swap them for metal straws, which are safer and can be recycled. Straws made from bamboo or other plant-based materials serve the same way as normal straws but unlike plastic, they decompose easily. Many hotels, bars and restaurants around the world have already opted to go with reusable steel straws instead of plastic ones. There have even been some really interesting developments that can leave your guests wowed, for example, pasta straws that have been developed recently by an Italian manufacturer.
75% of the environmental issues in the hospitality sector are related to the excessive consumption of resources. Thanks to the latest technologies, you can prevent this with ease:
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The things we throw out can often be reused and recycled to serve beyond their original purpose. For instance, many vegetable cuttings can be used to create compost, which can provide important nutrition for your garden. Stained tablecloths and bed sheets can be recycled into new aprons for chefs or into new laundry bags, as proven by one hotel in Toronto. Set up a recycling system for the trash and prompt your guests to properly use it by putting up informational posters.
In an era of astounding technological advances, relying on paper for your day-to-day customer dealings seems not just old-fashioned, but wasteful as well. Almost everyone today owns and uses a smartphone. Every business needs to adapt with its audience, therefore many hotels have developed their own smartphone applications and blogs that the customers can enjoy.
Through such facilities, customers can also pay bills, check in and check out, give reviews and suggestions all at their fingertips. Smart travel assistants like Manet offer tools that help hotels meet at best their guests’ needs making their stay unique as well as sustainable by eliminating the need to print menus, catalogues, leaflets and any other paper based marketing material that hoteliers need to sell their ancillary services.
By collecting rainwater through a simple filter, you can save yourself up to 70% of the main water system’s usage. The Renewable Energy Hub is one company that offers such facilities.
Cars emit tons of carbon into the air every day. You can encourage your customers to use rentals and public transport by offering discounts and giving out a ‘walking map’ which shows all transport points. Environmentally-friendly options such as electric cars and bicycles can be encouraged in a similar manner by setting up bike rentals and EV charging outside the hotel.
Automatic lighting systems are super convenient as they save your consumers the effort while simultaneously saving you bills. No one will have to remember about turning the lights off in their rooms when they go out, and the lights on the corridors won’t have to be on all night. Other options such as LED lights which have the lowest carbon footprint and last longer are a good option as well.
Another pocket-friendly alternative is to use natural daylight wherever and whenever possible. It is known to be an instant mood-lifter – a touch your guests will surely appreciate. You should try and also install skylights wherever possible.
Investing in renewable energy options such as windmills or the more common solar panels may seem expensive. But the one-time charges more than compensate for themselves when your electricity bills go down. These clean energy sources are free for you to utilize, and unlike fuel-powered alternates they produce no harmful emissions. Some governments subsidize investments such as these in order to promote sustainability.
Last but not the least, it’s very important to train your staff on the importance of taking care of the environment. Give them yearly training courses teaching them to take care of non-renewable resources; switching off lights and appliances when they’re not in use, be mindful when using water and to report and fix any leaking pipes. A well-trained staff is more important than any equipment you can buy.
Investing in these eco-friendly technologies and techniques will help you save your costs as well as the environment. As inhabitants of this planet, we should take responsibility for it and do our part in making it better – not worse.
About the author:
Manet Mobile Solutions is a fast growing and evolving, hospitality oriented and data centered company.
The main infranstructure priorities that have emerged since its foundation are 3:
Being a top-notch player in the hospitality technology industry depends on the ability of adapting fast to the dynamics of a constantly changing and highly competitive environment.
Modern competitive dynamics push companies to either grow fast or risk going out of business. Therefore fast growth is an imperative along with the ability to manage higher data and operations volumes.
Today’s most important business assets are consumer data. Protecting this data from threats and processing it in the respect of privacy regulations is vital.
For all the above reasons and after extensive market research aiming to identify a cloud solutions partner that could provide our company with the highest flexibility, scalability and security standards available on the market, we chose to rely on Neboola’s AWS based cloud solutions. Our CIO Andrea Proietti presents our partnership with Neboola in this article.
The competition has never been more intense for selling hotel stays and short-term leisure rentals to business and vacation travelers. Two factors that have acted together to drive down prices are online discount travel sites and the rise of Airbnb rentals.
However, instead of having a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing, accommodation providers need to find a way to add value to the hotel experience. Travelers will be willing to pay more if they perceive a vacation rental or hotel to have extra services that add to the value and enjoyment of their stay.
In the past, baby boomers have been the driving force behind profits for vacation and business travel accommodations. Today, millennials are beginning to join the ranks of work and leisure travelers, leading hotels to cater to their needs and desires as well.
For example, when new chains like Marriott’s Aloft and Radisson’s Blu advertised that they welcomed dogs, the more mainstream Holiday Inn Express wasn’t far behind in opening their doors to customers’ furry friends.
Here are some other ways that hotels and short-term vacation rentals can continue to attract guests without sacrificing profits.
Frequent traveler programs have been around for a long time, and business travelers are the main recipients of the benefits. To really have an impact on guest loyalty, though, a hotel has to include more than just snacks and bottled water at check-in.
Some hotels provide a lounge for the exclusive use of top-tier members. Giving room upgrades whenever possible is another way to pamper these guests without affecting profits. And surveys have shown that corporate travelers are often willing to pay out of their own pockets for ancillary services that they consider valuable.
One way to attract and keep business travelers is to offer upscale accommodations that increase their comfort when they’re away from home. Luxury bed linens, a Keurig-style coffeemaker in the room, and a fully functional business center are a good start. Providing an airport shuttle, dry cleaning pickup and room service with expanded hours are other special touches that business travelers will appreciate and be willing to pay for.
Spa services may be one of the biggest draws for leisure travelers. Salon services such as manicures and pedicures, massages and facials elevate the value of the stay. Providing hair and skin treatments and in-room massage can be the difference that makes a lodging more desirable to a prospective guest. If a hotel doesn’t have the budget or facilities to offer spa treatments, partnering with a nearby luxury spa is an alternate way to attract guests and add revenue.
Sundries shops used to be confined to luxury hotels, but in the past few years, on-site shopping has become a new option for vacationers at mid-priced hotels. The convenience of buying a six-pack of beer, treats and snacks, and even frozen dinners, is a value-added feature for guests. Offering these items for sale, along with headache medicine, phone chargers, batteries and toiletries, can be a profitable ancillary service for the hotel.
From 2015 to 2017, extended-stay hotel stays grew at three times the national rate for other types of rentals in the hotel industry. Kitchens and living areas increased in size, with ancillary services like laundry facilities and bike rentals added to lure travelers to extended-stay hotels.
Rental condos and homes can also provide these services for a modest fee to make a short-term rental an attractive choice for guests. This type of upgraded lodging is billed as apartment-style living with all the extras of a hotel.
Recognizing the attachment people have to their dogs, some luxury hotels are providing pet services to entice travelers. Besides water and food bowls, treats and beds, a few upscale hotels even offer pet massages. Not only do guests get to bring their furry companions with them, but their pets can experience some pampering and it gives the hotel another revenue stream.
For hotels and vacation rentals, a winning profit strategy is to differentiate these accommodations from the Airbnb model while highlighting increased opportunities for guests. Hotels can provide some of the same advantages as Airbnb along with others that are more difficult for private individuals to offer.
The consistency and professionalism of a business that serves hundreds of thousands of travelers a year should be highlighted to persuade travelers to choose hotel accommodations over Airbnb rentals.
Networking with local businesses can also elevate the desirability of staying at a hotel. Local food, beverage and entertainment providers can turn the hotel lobby into a hub of interest and activity. This is something that vacationers will never experience in a private rental environment.
Treating guests to live music or the chance to pay for activities like a ‘paint and sip’ wine party adds fun to the stay. It also gives the hotel an edge that translates into better profits.
One ancillary service a hotel can use to take their image to the next level is adding a lobby touchscreen that connects to guest services, local restaurants and nightlife. Some hotels even have interactive screens that take selfies to be uploaded to guests’ social media accounts.
Millennials are used to sending directions to their phones and connecting with local businesses at a touch. Touchscreens add to the hotel’s revenue through partnerships with local businesses at the same time they increase the hotel’s desirability to guests.
When guests check in, a hotel that offers the choice to swipe Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Venmo will have an edge over less tech-savvy establishments. Once they’re checked in, the ability of guests to connect with housekeeping or room service through a hotel app is another addition to the tech-forward image of a hotel.
The latest example of added hotel tech value is Alexa for Hospitality. This is a digital concierge that can answer guests’ queries about the hotel, play music, report on the weather, or make hands-free phone calls. The in-room Alexa console can also contact housekeeping and room service upon request.
At smart hotels, guests can even ask their digital assistant to adjust the thermostat or raise and lower the blinds. Marriott is testing this perk in several of its hotel chains, including the millennial-geared Aloft hotels.
What Technology Disruptions in the Rent-A-Car Industry Mean for Your Hospitality Business?
Something digital this way comes.
It sees you when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake.
So be ahead of the curve, for goodness sake!
By 2022, the worldwide car rental industry will be worth over $124.56 billion dollars, growing at a rate of 13.55% from 2017.
One of the fastest-growing markets for car rentals around the world so far is turning out to be Europe. It’s an industry that is intricately (and increasingly) tied to the growth of the travel and tourism industry.
So when it comes to the car rental sector, technology is promising to leave no stone unturned as it blows its way through the hospitality industry.
See, there’s a similar digital revolution going on in travel, tourism, and hospitality.
Hotels are already being equipped with mobile check-in solutions. Rooms are undergoing a digital makeover with the use of automated control systems for heating, cooling, app-driven room service, and digital assistants.
The rent-a-car market is facing just such a tech turn in the tides in two waves:
Let’s take a look at these specific technological disruptions and what their advance means for the hospitality industry at large.
Perhaps the greatest single change that all other “tech” changes flow from is the transformation of the car rental industry ethics. We’re moving from cars as an owned unit to “cars as a service.”
As a collective culture, it’s easy to see that disruptive apps like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnb have changed the very idea of ownership. Now, it’s all about mobility and flexibility: Cars-as-a-service (CaaS).
This change in consumption is running alongside enhancements in the car rental market itself. Fleets are changing and so are the digital features of this new and diverse collection of automobiles.
In a survey of the global electrical car rental market, economy cars are dominating the market at 90.17% of the market share, according to 2018 results.
Furthermore, luxury vendors are happily maintaining a fleet of electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S and X.
There’s a clear demand.
Car rental as a service itself is becoming a more viable option even when travelers remain at home because there’s an emphasis on short-term rentals, pay-as-you-go models and subscription-based payments.
First and foremost, search behavior is changing the way that rent-a-car brands are being found — but, also, it’s allowing the data to drive their own “findability.”
Rent-a-car search is now usually seamlessly integrated into travel and tourism bookings, or hospitality reservations.
In other words, when users search for car rentals online, booking engines will offer highly targeted and specific offers on hotel suites, tours in the location of booking, and other travel-related discounts and promotions to not only incentivize a further purchase but to create an entire experience of travel.
Known as “in-destination experiences,” this is what’s really at the heart of this rent-a-car transformation.
“Companies across all industries are trying to create a better experience for their customers,” says Jayesh Patel, a senior vice president marketing at a major car rental brand company. “We are no different.”
Another major driver of tech-inspired transformation within the rent-a-car industry is the unmistakable effect of the “ride-hailing economy.”
It’s not only that the nature of the buyer is changing — from baby boomers to millennials voting with their pocketbooks to keep large, expensive, and often financially imprudent purchases off the bucket list.
It’s also that peer-to-peer car sharing and ride-hailing has opened up the gateway to cars on demand.
Apps offering reservations from a ready-to-go fleet offer individuals who travel around the world as a lifestyle the opportunity to experience that mobility and flexibility on a dime, and on their own time.
“Consumers today have access to more information whenever and wherever they need it; they have a more urban lifestyle and have new attitudes and preferences about accessing automobiles and mobility in general…There is a solid consensus that cars provide an unmatched level of convenience and freedom, allowing people to be in total control of the time, destination and environment – and that is where opportunity exists. We’re not just renting cars … we are providing mobility, and mobility keeps the world moving.” — Pat Farrell, Chief Marketing & Communications Officer for Enterprise Holdings
Alexa, entertain my kids while I keep my eyes on the road.
Okay, that’s not a real command but in-car mobile hot spots enhance the experience of a road trip by offering functionality that is very familiar to the user.
In a way, it fulfills the customers’ expectations and also surpasses it because Wi-Fi is usually a “land”-based feature. How do cars keep connected if they’re not on the “wired” part of Wi-Fi?
They do so in the same way as cellphones and mobile devices, which run on a network.
While passengers — notably children — can take advantage of mobile hot spots in a rental car to keep them occupied, drivers of this new digital ridesharing market can safely and accurately deliver customers to their preferred locations, using routes that are updated in real time.
And it’s not just that. When individuals travel, 15% of them do so for business purposes. This means that in-car mobile hot spots offer businesspeople the chance to conduct their tasks on the go.
Car rentals also want to ensure that part of their customers’ experience is one of trust and safety.
That’s why one of the major “services” offered in this new CaaS economy is an anti-theft satellite system.
Here, the key is integration. Devices like SPOT Trace or Cellutrack take advantage of a device that’s in the hands of billions of users already — mobile phones — to provide added levels of safety, tracking, and security.
It puts the control back into the hands of the driver or user.
See, the user experience isn’t necessarily about inventing new technology.
You’ll notice that many of these so-called “transformations” are simply changes in how things are already being done, relying on a level of assumed consumer adoption (namely, of mobile devices) to run new and innovative software on.
So rent-a-car companies don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
Which makes sense, given that related industries like travel and hospitality don’t have to either. In order to upgrade their users’ experience and set a new standard, they simply need to find and implement digital “mirrors” for common expectations like check-ins and room service.
The actual software itself is running via mobile or digital assistant consoles like the Echo Dot.
But what is it that users want? Why are they even looking to book a hotel room or, in this case, rent a car?
To enhance the user experience, car rental companies must first understand their customers’ reasons for renting. According to a survey of 850,000 travelers in 2017, these were the results of why individual travelers relied on rental cars.
This is a win-win situation. If car rentals are being used as a service or insurance replacement, new features that enhance user experience make it more likely that they will look for similar features when they rent cars for leisure travel.
So far, we’ve seen that updates to behavior equal updates to technology. And updates to technologies call for an update in fleets themselves.
Says Susan Lombardo, senior vice-president of vehicle acquisition at Enterprise Holdings:
“Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles.”
She cites the fact that it’s, after all, the US car rental industry that first helped popularize anti-lock braking, stop-start technology, hybrid electric vehicles and more to consumers.
Car manufacturers are, themselves, offering a greater number of digitally-driven enhancements, including:
So what’s next for the future of rent-a-car “services” and experience-driven digital transformations of cars?
We’re seeing a greater and more rapid adoption rate of self-driving cars, especially in emerging countries, for one.
These numbers reported from 2015 alone forecast that, at a similar rate of growth, and thanks to a growing number of individuals with disposable incomes in these countries, the self-drive car rental market will reach 1.65 billion USD by 2020.
The major shift from car ownership to CaaS will develop alongside changes in conferencing technology (think about location-independent entrepreneurs running conferences during their commutes).
Insurance companies, too, are sure to be swept up in this change, offering innovative, short-term policies on rentals, making car sharing even more attractive or offering discounts on connected vehicles.
So just count on your fingers the number of services and technologies relating to commuting, road-tripping, and car rental, in general. Then watch as these utterly transform in tandem in the next five to 10 years.
Room service has always had and still has an undeniable role in hospitality. However, recent data has confirmed that despite its indisputable importance, it’s subject to operational risks, mainly related to high numbers of required personnel and low profit margins.
As Paul Sacco (CEO and president of the Massachusetts Lodging Association) said ” Room service represented just 1.2 percent of total hotel revenue, down from 1.3 percent in 2011. And it continues to drop. The hotels do it for the convenience of the guest. Is it a profit center? No. Emphatically, I can tell you no.”
However, the answer to room service profitability issues seems to be lying in technology.
New technologies are, in fact, having a big impact on tourism-related businesses and new evidence shows that successful room service goes beyond a beautiful room and qualified staff.
Guest comfort and convenience are becoming always more important and technology, more than any other factor, seems to be key in achieving them.
Room service represents a fundamental part of hospitality services. Despite this, it’s worth only 1% of hotel earnings, according to PFK Hospitality’s 2007 data. Since then, this percentage has kept decreasing. The Midtown Hilton, one of New York’s most visited hotels, eliminated room service in 2013 for this very reason. Many mid-range hotels followed, reducing room service, either by available hours or general offers.
But, in the other hand, room service is fundamental for hotel reputation and its impact goes beyond earnings. In fact, room service is considered an integral part of hotel amenities just like swimming pools or spas: profitable or not these services shape and identify the experience offered by each hotel.
Try to imagine, just for a second, during your stay in a hotel, at night, while it’s raining outside, you get hungry and you realize that the hotel’s restaurant is closed and room service is not available. The only choices you have in that case are either vending machines or dealing with the storm! Therefore it’s easy to understand how important room service is for hotels aiming at being competitive and building a good reputation.
The press pointed fingers at The Midtown Hilton’s room service removal decision. Business Insider wrote “What’s the point of staying in a luxury hotel if you’re not going to be able to order breakfast in bed?” and John Fox from PKF Consulting commented “Here’s a message to hotels that are cutting room service: Suck it up and pay the labor costs for room service, or don’t call yourself a “luxury hotel.”
Guests did the same, commenting, “There are so many hotels to choose from. If everyone is offering room service, I don’t know why I would pay the same rate with no service.”
Moreover, a recent study by Statista performed on adults aged 18 to 65 brought out that room service seems to be the most important element of hospitality-related services, second only to WiFi connectivity.
The reasons behind the importance of room service are numerous. Think for example of people traveling for business and needing a late in-room dinner. Or think of leisure travelers desiring a snack while watching their favourite tv show. It easilly becomes obvious that hotels, instead of being focused on breakfast, should start focusing on 24/7 room service solutions to match their guests’ needs. After all, people go out of their daily routines when they travel so why force them to eat only at standard meal times!
The most dynamic hotels of the world have started adopting innovative solutions to adapt to the market’s room service needs and, at the same time, use room service to delight their guests.
In New York, with the “Emoji Room Service”, offered by Aloft Hotels, guests can use emoticons to place their orders. In NH Hotels’ Mood-Rooms, guests can request a wakeup service with gradual lighting increase, uplifting music, curtains that open automatically and in-room breakfast service. Last but not least, at La Quinta Inn & Suites you might be surprised to see your room service order delivered by TigerBot, a cute delivery service robot.
However, technology by itself is not sufficient to provide a good room service experience. There are other important elements to keep in mind in order to provide the ultimate room service experience.
There are many ways to improve hospitality services. But what’s the best one? The answer is simple: Listen to your guests.
Instead of just pushing standardized services to them, try to understand what their real needs are. There are business travelers needing a quick breakfast very early in the morning before the breakfast buffet becomes available. There are also leisure travelers (representing a huge percentage of overall travelers) who desire a coffee or a snack while they are relaxing in their rooms and at any time of the day (or the night). The only way to satisfy the needs of the above is smart and efficient hotel room service.
A very important parameter of an efficient and profitable room service is timing! Guests want their orders delivered immediately and hotels require the right time to prepare and deliver room service orders. As long as a guest is in his/her room, has available a room service menu and the hotel is ready to deliver things are quite straightforward. But what happens if a guest wants to place an order from outside the hotel desiring to have it ready and delivered at his/her return? Calling the reception, asking for the available options and costs and placing the order by phone becomes frustrating and time consuming and would simply result in an unsatisfied guest and a hotel losing orders and revenues. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore as new smart tools appearing in the hospitality horizon are giving new answers to the needs of the most demanding travelers and hoteliers. Manet is one of these tools and it’s changing the way hotels interact with their guests as, thanks to Manet devices, hotel guests can book hotel services and place room service orders anytime and from anywhere. In fact, Manet smartphones contain extensive information about all services and menus offered to guests by their hotel and also allow fast, effective and ubiquitous text communication between guests and hotel front desk staff.
Thanks to innovators like Manet, the future of hospitality looks really exciting and full of surprises and hotel room service issues, like high costs, are slowly but steadily being transformed in amazing business opportunities for hoteliers.