Skip to main content
Category

Blog post

we're open sign on a bike outside a restaurant

Reopening Smart: How to Build Trust With Guests Before They Arrive

By Blog post

As travelers emerge from their homes and get back on the road, they’re likely to carry new expectations and concerns in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The unprecedented crisis not only encouraged people to practice social distancing, but has also decreased trust in many traditional institutions. The paradigm has shifted, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing — it just means that businesses need to adapt to thrive in a new world.

For hotels and the hospitality industry, one of the most post-COVID important tasks will be building trust with their guests. After spending months cooped up at home, guests will be excited to resume traveling yet hesitant to put themselves or their families at risk. Hotels can build trust and make guests feel more comfortable by keeping them informed on the status of COVID-19 in their communities and up-to-date on what measures the hotel is taking to prevent the spread of disease. Guests will expect changes to both hotel policies and local laws, and they’ll appreciate any guidance the hotel can provide.

Of course, the best hotels won’t just do their best to put their guests’ minds at ease once they’ve checked-in. Instead, they’ll be in regular communication with guests before they’ve even arrived. If your property offers express or contactless check-in, it’s wise to share check-in details prior to arrival. You may also wish to communicate the steps you’re taking to ensure cleanliness and proper social distancing, such as changes to F&B service, housekeeping schedules, and other on-site amenities. Finally, if lots of your guests choose to stay at your property due to its proximity to a nearby business, attraction or transportation hub, it would be helpful to inform guests about any changes to their operational procedures.

The easiest way to implement pre-arrival messaging is via an AI-enabled guest communication platform like Ivy. Working hand-in-hand with your PMS, Ivy can automatically send text messages to guests before, during and after their stay, while also connecting the guest directly with a staff member when they’re in need of further assistance. This two-pronged approach ensures that guests receive all the information they need prior to arrival, while also creating space to connect directly with the staff. By leveraging Ivy’s pre-arrival messaging feature, you’ll help guests to feel at ease before they’ve even left home.

portside Southwest plane wing during flight

3 Ways Air Travel Will Change Forever After COVID-19

By Blog post
interior-plane-feature-image

Photo credit: Suhyeon Choi

As people throughout the world follow orders to shelter in place, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on air travel. Millions of passengers have canceled or rescheduled their flights, and airlines are scrambling to stay afloat during this difficult period.

To say the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted air travel would be the understatement of the century. Air travel isn’t likely to look the same again, even after society reopens. Prices will fluctuate due to changes in supply and demand, and airlines will institute new practices as they adapt to changing expectations. Here’s what we’re likely to see moving forward:

 

  1. Crossing international borders will require more paperwork…and more timeAs jokes go, riffs about the absurd wait times when passing through customs are already stale, but don’t expect to stop hearing them in the future. In response to coronavirus, you can expect the customs and immigration process to skyrocket.In the short term, many countries, including South Korea and Singapore, are not only checking passports, but they’ve also begun swab testing each and every traveler who steps off an international flight. This practice mitigates the risk of secondary infections, but it also creates longer waits.That said, on-the-spot swab testing isn’t a practical or sustainable long-term solution. Instead, countries are likely to begin asking for health and immunization records, in addition to your passport (technically you’re already supposed to bring your immunization records on international trips, but in our experience, this is rarely enforced). Not only will border protection officers need to double-check your identity, but they’ll also need to verify that your medical history won’t put their citizens at risk.
  2. Automation and self-service as safety features, rather than a convenienceBetween check-in kiosks, self-tagged bags and mobile apps, airlines have already begun to embrace the growing role of automation and self-service in the travel experience. After COVID-19, however, consumers won’t view these features as luxuries, but instead as necessities. In addition to promoting good hygiene and health practices, a shift towards automation and self-service can also be a boon for airlines. Rather than having to use their limited manpower to perform the same repetitive (yet necessary) duties day in and day out, airlines can rely on technology to accomplish these tasks more efficiently and frugally, leaving staff free to connect with passengers and work on the kinds of problems that require a human touch.
  3. Air filters, hand sanitizer, and thorough cleaning will be positioned as selling pointsSelecting the right flight is already a complicated dance — it can be tough to find a flight that fits your schedule, contributes to your travel rewards points, and offers the on-flight features you need to get through a long journey without losing your mind. And of course, you’ll need to meet all these requirements without breaking the bank.

    In the post-coronavirus era, you’ll have to add a new item to your list of things to consider when booking a flight: safety features. Airlines are likely to tout their state-of-the-art air filtration systems, unlimited hand sanitizer, and extremely thorough cleanings in an effort to persuade travelers that their planes are a safe environment.Airlines aren’t going to stop at onboard features, either. Expect to see a wave of changes to the boarding process designed to reduce contact and promote social distancing whenever possible. For example, Delta began experimenting with virtual queueing in their app earlier in 2020, and they’re likely to broaden the scope of this feature moving forward.

COVID-19 has already changed the face of the airline industry. As the world begins to travel again, passengers will hold a different set of expectations for air travel, and it’ll be up to the airlines to respond. It’ll be a shift, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing: through collaboration and listening to passengers, the airline industry can reshape itself to be safer, more efficient, and more sustainable than ever.

Ivy_Go_Moment

What is Contactless Hospitality?

By Blog post

As the hospitality industry continues to adapt to challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, one phrase seems to come up over and over: contactless hospitality.

Developed to assist travelers and hotel staff with social distancing, contactless hospitality is a set of best practices that minimizes the risks of transmitting COVID-19 while still offering guests the high-quality service they deserve.

Contactless hospitality provides a safer alternative to many traditional hospitality practices. For example, rather than serving a breakfast buffet in the lobby, many hotels are preparing grab-n-go bags to eat back in the guest room. Other properties have begun to insist that guests utilize express or mobile check-out services, rather than dropping their room key off at the front desk. Some hotels have even reduced the frequency of housekeeping, opting to clean rooms twice a week instead of every day unless the guest asks otherwise.

woman lying on bed white holding board

A social distant — but still delicious — breakfast! Photo by: Toa Heftiba

The specifics of contactless hospitality may look different at each property, but the goal is always the same: creating the safest possible experience for both guests and staff while maintaining great service.

Here at Go Moment, we’ve been proud to see hotels throughout the world rely on Ivy to help them practice contactless hospitality. From pre-arrival messaging to room service to check-out, Ivy offers a convenient channel for guests and staff to communicate with each other while avoiding face-to-face contact.

Between Ivy’s AI-enabled smart responses and the hotel team’s expertise, guests can control the entire hotel experience from their mobile phone, eliminating any risk of exposure to COVID-19 and making it simple to contact the staff with any requests or inquiries.

Many of the changes spurred by contactless hospitality are likely to disappear once the COVID-19 pandemic passes. On-site amenities like pools, gyms, and spas will reopen, and restaurants will again welcome guests to their tables. Continental breakfast buffets will be a staple of American highway travel once more.

However, some aspects of contactless hospitality are likely to persist. In particular, guests will be more open to communicating with the staff remotely, and they’ll see less of a need to walk down to the front desk for every little request. In the last decade, we’ve already seen a shift towards self-service models in retail, banking, and food service — it’s likely that with contactless hospitality as a catalyst, we’ll see similar changes take hold in the hospitality industry.

The smartest hotels not only view contactless hospitality as an important step in their response to COVID-19, but they also anticipate a change in guest’s expectations of the hospitality industry. By leveraging technology and embracing self-service, hotels are well-poised to meet guest’s needs more efficiently and sustainably than ever before.

 

Interested in hearing more about contactless hospitality? We’d love to hear more about your property’s needs and how you’re evolving to thrive post-COVID. Please reach out to Jennifer Suski (jennifer@gomoment.com) to learn more!

5 Underutilized Ways to Drive Incremental Revenue at Your Hotel

By Blog post

By Raj Singh, CEO Go Moment

 

This time of year is always busy. It is the final quarter of the year, hotels are pushing to meet their goals, and it is mid-month already. This is the perfect opportunity to take a quick look at where you stand on those goals, whether it’s purely revenue-oriented, or perhaps it’s guest satisfaction. Time to assess and course correct, if needed, to end the month stronger.

Let’s focus on revenue and specifically, some underutilized ways to drive incremental revenue to your hotel. First, make sure your property is communicating with your guests. This could be through an email welcome prior to arrival or via a text messaging service. This opens the dialogue for revenue generators in a natural, unintrusive way that guests are accustomed to. Take this to the next level by implementing a text messaging service that is AI-enabled, such as Go Moment’s smartconcierge Ivy, that can proactively engage with guests and automate responses to many of their questions and requests. This allows your staff to focus their efforts on guest interactions and satisfaction on property.

A recent study shows 9 out of 10 travelers prefer to communicate with their hotel via text, and text messages have an impressively high open rate: 98 percent, compared to just a 22 percent open rate for email. The communication you send to guests is only beneficial if they are actually reading it, so contacting them via their desired channel is key.

As reported in Skift, using a texting service can significantly raise guest satisfaction scores as well. The article stated, “Caesars compared responses from guests who had used the chatbot to those who hadn’t. Ivy users gave the properties approximately 10 points higher satisfaction scores.”  If guest satisfaction is your goal, this is an incredible added bonus to implementing a texting platform.

1) Pre-arrival Messaging

As alluded to above, start the guest experience on the right path. Reaching out to guests, letting them know you’re looking forward to their arrival sets the tone for their stay before it even begins. This signals that you are prepared, excited to welcome them, and confirms their reservation. In this same communication, inform guests of available room upgrades, early check-in opportunities, or special packages that may have come about since booking their reservation. Seasoned business travelers know to check for room upgrades, but did you know that a large portion of non-business travelers don’t know they can upgrade to a better room or check-in earlier for a small fee?

2) Inform Guests About the Property’s Amenities

If your property has a resort fee (hot topic as of late), be sure to communicate what’s covered in that fee. Often guests do not know and, as such, may not take advantage of those amenities. Not only does this open the door for a frustrated guest experience when they find out the resort fee covered the use of daily spa services, but it is also a missed opportunity to upsell related services. If your property has an exclusive dining offering, maybe a mimosa brunch, share the details with your guests so that they may enjoy it and write about it in glowing reviews. More guest usage of resort services also usually decreases billing issues around the resort fee.

Additionally, texting with guests allows your property to push out specials in real-time to guests who have opted into offers. Maybe happy hour traffic is slow. An instant invitation for guests to sample a house cocktail that evening can increase traffic and in turn, increase revenue!

3) Provide Mobile In-room Dining Info

Tell your guests what’s available to them as far as in-room dining goes. Don’t rely on the guest to open the physical in-room menu to decide if they really want to order room service. Visuals go a long way as evidenced by the saying, “we eat first with our eyes.” If your hotel has a seasonal menu or a special offering, have enticing in-room collateral that will make your guests want to take part. With a service like Ivy, hotels can alert guests via text about a seasonal special and even send PDF menu links directly to the guest’s mobile phone. For example, “Try our limited harvest breakfast from local farms featuring Belgian pumpkin waffles.”  Ivy is able to expedite room service requests and help increase the value of the order.  When guests text Ivy with a coffee order, she replies instantly and asks whether a scone or a muffin would be good to add to the order.  The order is quickly routed to the café, without the guest having to leave their room or be on hold for in-room dining. The success of using a texting platform is clear according to Skift who reported The Cosmopolitan found that hotel guests who text its chatbot spend as much as 30 percent more than those who do not.

4) Drive Late Check-Out and Extended Stays

Many guests do not realize that late check-out or extended stay is possible. By communicating with guests both at check-in and consistently during their stay, there is an opportunity to keep them on property longer, even add an additional night if you have the availability. Guests who depart later than the traditional 11am check out time will spend more money in the form of an additional meal or take advantage of hotel services, like the pool or spa. Using a messaging service allows you the flexibility to communicate with guests as availability changes. Perhaps a late-check out was not available upon arrival and has now opened up. This allows you to meet a guest request and keep them on property longer as a satisfied guest.

5) Help Guests Book Their Next Stay

Providing your guest with an incentive, whether that’s a discount or special amenity package to book a return visit before they depart is always a great way to generate revenue. If you utilize a smartconcierge, like Ivy, you can check in with your guests mid-stay to see how their stay is going and even ask them to rate their experience. This real-time insight is invaluable in today’s hospitality environment. When guest feedback is positive, Ivy can present guests with the opportunity to leave an online review right there. In case guest sentiment is anything less than stellar, Ivy provides guest services agents the chance to contact the guest for more detail and correct the situation well before the guest checks out. Either way, give guests a reason to book a return stay with your hotel when you know they’re enjoying their current one.

These are just a few ways you can capitalize on additional incremental revenue with existing guests. The best part is that most of these tips can also increase guest satisfaction, and in turn, can help boost your property’s online reputation. Since we all know positive ratings influence booking decisions, this is just one more added benefit to serving guests in real-time and on the mobile channel they prefer.

 

###

Raj Singh

Product design expert Raj Singh is CEO at Go Moment®, a Google-backed company dedicated to making customer service instant. Go Moment’s award-winning smartconcierge Ivy®, as seen on NBC, is the world’s largest guest engagement automation platform for hotels.

Singh brings cross-discipline design, technology, and marketing experience from hundreds of large-scale technology projects for leading brands like Virgin, Lady Gaga, and HEB Grocery Company. Blending his deep expertise in UX and market research, Singh works alongside leaders in hospitality to address the industry’s needs in using next-generation technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and labor automation. In partnership with IBM Watson, Go Moment’s Ivy platform, which utilizes text or voice messaging and leverages human expertise and automation to resolve requests instantly, is currently available to millions of hotel guests. Singh’s select speaking engagements and panels include:

  • HITEC 2019 Tech Talk
  • CHTA Future Travelers
  • HEDNA Innov8
  • Oi Summit
  • BLLA Stay Boutique Live
  • Phocuswright Conference
  • CWT VIP Summit
  • Plug and Play Ventures
hotel beach chairs with palm trees

Surprising Ways Hotels Lose Business

By Blog post

For nearly a half-decade now, the hotel industry has buzzed about “authentic guest experiences.” It was its reaction to the growing success of Airbnb and its ability to deliver upon the theme of “Belong Anywhere,” where travelers who wanted to be insiders could engage with people and culture. But should hotels be trying to replicate an Airbnb experience? Are hotel guests also really looking for “authentic” experiences, or do they come with a different set of expectations in mind?

Let’s get real. When it comes to hotel guests, I would assert that authenticity is overrated. I recently had an authentic hotel experience – it was authentically poor. That’s what I will now remember about that hotel. While positive experiences influence hotel purchasing decisions 74% of the time, no brand today can afford to risk a bad experience – one in three consumers say they will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.

What hotel guests really want is a great, frictionless experience, period. They want their check-in process to involve as little wait time and effort as possible. They want their hotel rooms to be clean and their beds to be comfortable. They want in-room and property amenities to minimally meet the standards the hotel has established in their published information. They want the hotel staff to be attentive to their needs. Meeting these expectations could be enough for a guest to come away feeling they had a good to great stay; exceeding these expectations with something surprising or amazing will improve the odds your guests will conclude they had a great stay.

Surprisingly Simple

Sometimes it’s not so hard to surprise and delight hotel guests. Take using an AI-powered smartconcierge, for instance. The smartconcierge automates the responses to common repetitive questions and problems. Accessible 24/7 through a guest’s smartphone, smartconcierges “converse” in natural language making the guest feel as though they’re communicating with just another staff member on the other end of the conversation. In fact, smartconcierges speak so much like a human that guests have been known to mistake them for real people. And yet, the responsiveness and issue resolution happen so quickly – the majority of the time in seconds, not minutes – that guests might conclude they’re interacting with technology rather than a super-human. Regardless, the guest cares not if the smartconcierge is a technology or a human being – they’re just pleased to have their problem go away, or their question answered promptly and with such little effort. This, of course, makes for a more satisfied guest.

Surprisingly Effective

Smartconcierges also make hotel employees more effective. With smartconcierges on-deck to answer basic queries and better connect guests to the help they need, hotel staff has more time and bandwidth to build better relationships with guests or focus on more complex issues when the smartconcierge needs to elevate a problem to its human counterpart. This then translates into happier guests with a tendency to spend more at your property. More effective employees are also happier employees – most people take pride in a job well done – and that has the unexpected side benefit of increased employee retention rates: happier employees stay with their employer longer.

Surprisingly Consistent

Though not everything in hospitality is formulaic, guests count on consistency, particularly when it comes to brand reinforcement. Smartconcierges enable hotels to provide consistent experiences. Responses to the exact same question do not vary by guest (nor from one hotel staffer to the next). The smartconcierge exhibits a reliably energetic tone and attitude – there is no bad day for a smartconcierge. And the smartconcierge doesn’t miss an opportunity to upsell or up-service your guests – its programming rules increase the likelihood that your average guest folio will increase over time.

Surprising Insights

AI solutions create data; data that can be quantified and analyzed. A smartconcierge can create data that hotels haven’t been able to easily collect and analyze before, data points such as response time by all staff, response time by the smartconcierge, issue-resolution time, and real-time mid and post-stay guest sentiment. These deep and powerful insights enable the hotel to make improved decisions and actions for the future and can expose strengths and weaknesses that might have otherwise been less obvious.

Phocuswright analyst Robert Cole sums all of this up in his 2018 report, It’s All About the Experience: How
Will Technology Improve the Hotel Stay?
: “Modern technologies hold the promise of enhancing every aspect of a guest’s hotel stay by improving personalization, service delivery, and experiential relevance. They can similarly help owners reduce capital expenditures, shrink operating overheads, and radically upgrade staff efficiency. As technological advancements impact all aspects of life, hoteliers will need to keep pace, or risk losing share to more technologically advanced residential short-term rental properties or competitors with more sophisticated and productive data-driven guest engagement strategies.”

One simple and effective part of this strategy that will take your hospitality operations to the next level should be the deployment of a smartconcierge.

young asian woman recieving SMS from Ivy digital concierge

High Tech Enables High Touch Guest Service

By Blog post

Many luxury hotel brands pride themselves on their responsiveness and attentiveness to their guests – it’s one of the hallmarks of what distinguishes them from other hotels. “High touch” has become synonymous with private concierges, VIP lounges, personal butler service, 24/7 room service, and a host of other exclusive features designed to attract the discerning traveler.

One luxury hotel representative described their high touch this way: “High touch is a corporate mantra. It means that each associate is empowered to work on behalf of the guests. Comprehensive guest profiles are kept that include information such as preferred pillow types, what they like in their mini bar, and other information to make the guests comfortable – associates are in-tune with guests even before they ask for what they need.”

But does high touch have to conflict with high tech? Not at all. In fact, in today’s world, luxury also implies high tech, which can manifest in several ways. More and more modern luxury hotels now come equipped with wireless broadband connectivity throughout the property such as wide-panel smart TVs, keyless entry, and even voice-enabled digital assistants. The reason? Because luxury travelers have come to expect that their hotels will at least maintain the standards these guests have in their own homes.

High Tech and High Touch Can Coexist

So how do luxury hotels provide a high-tech experience above and beyond what guests already have at home and still deliver upon the high touch expectation? The answer is both simple and surprising: it lies in artificial intelligence (AI) that communicates in the lingua franca and with the energy and etiquette of a hospitality-focused human being.

The term “AI” shouldn’t fill the luxury hotelier with dread. AI in this context doesn’t refer to drones or tacky robots. AI is merely a computer program that can learn for itself over time. AI’s built-in learn-and-response feedback loop allows the program to improve and refine its responses over time, with the same intention of the human-curated guest profile containing pillow type preferences, for example. Only AI is much more powerful and can collect, manage and process far more data in a fraction of the time. In hospitality, imagine a kind of AI that acts like the private concierge, the 24/7 room service, and the personal butler all rolled into one. It’s a smartconcierge, and it can act, communicate, and perform many of the same high touch guest services luxury hotels already deliver, just in an imperceptibly automated fashion, and faster than expected.

Guest Experience Matters Most

Every day, millions of simple guest interactions get handled. That these requests and issues get handled satisfactorily gets to the core of what makes a positive guest experience. Who does the handling isn’t necessarily as important – no one complains when the bellhop brings extra towels up to the room instead of a member of the housekeeping staff. In hotels, guests realize that to some extent, roles are fluid as the hotel strives first and foremost to serve its guests.

The role of the smartconcierge fits this model perfectly. Its role is to act as the front line for simple guest requests and either handle them completely or process them onto their human guest services counterpart. When the smartconcierge handles the guest request, it’s a seamless experience – oftentimes guests merely think they’re messaging with a member of the hotel’s guest services team. When the smartconcierge elevates the guest request to a human counterpart, the entire guest conversation also gets passed along, furthering the seamless, satisfactory guest experience. In fact, a recent Capgemini Research Institute report found that 55% of consumers prefer interactions enabled by a mix of AI and humans, with 63% citing the top benefit of AI being “greater control over my interactions.”

In its Shaping the Future of Hospitality – Outlook 2030 report, L’Ecole Hôtelière Lausanne describes the need to make high tech work with high touch by facilitating an emotional connection. Communication fosters an emotional connection and satisfactory experiences (or unsatisfactory ones, for that matter) also evoke emotions. The role of the AI-powered smartconcierge is to provide highly satisfactory guest experiences that feel like natural language text messaging conversations. The guest communicates an issue like, “The wifi is slow, ” and the smartconcierge responds just like its human counterpart would: “I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll let our technical team know. Meanwhile, try this network: VIP Guest. The password is strongsignal.”

High Tech, High Touch Competitive Advantages

When a hotel uses a smartconcierge as its frontline, it empowers itself with the competitive advantage of speed and capacity. A smartconcierge responds instantly – in seconds rather than minutes – requiring no phoning or walking down to the front desk, no waiting on hold or in a line. Guests can connect and engage the smartconcierge for what they want, when they want, using their preferred channels.

And thanks to its technology, the smartconcierge can also handle hundreds of simultaneous requests in a way that a single human being can’t possibly do. This capacity to handle simple, repetitive requests actually takes a huge burden off the hotel staff who can then be available to tackle more nuanced, high-value interactions. This kind of pay-off not only benefits the guests but the employees as well: research conducted by Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration has shown that hotels using smartconcierges have better-engaged employees by as much as eight percent per year.

The bottom line is this: Brands that take calculated chances with smartconcierges to create better experience and value for their guests are going to be further ahead than their competitors that don’t.

young african american man researching Ivy digital concierge

What You Should Look For – and Avoid – In a Hotel Smartconcierge

By Blog post

Everyone’s talking about hotel technology and the hotels of tomorrow. We hear about smart rooms, the Internet of Things (IoT), ambient intelligence, voice search and assistance, personalization, and artificial intelligence (AI). They may seem futuristic, but many of them are already realities. Take the AI-powered hotel smartconcierge, for example.

Like its human counterpart, the hotel smartconcierge exists to provide unparalleled guest service, a key hospitality objective. Unlike its human counterpart; however, the hotel smartconcierge can handle millions of guest interactions simultaneously and accurately. Managing this load is just one benefit a smartconcierge provides to both a hotel and its guests. There are plenty more.

Here’s a list of what you should look for… and what you should avoid when considering a hotel smartconcierge:

Considerations for Guests

  • Ease of use: Technology tends to be adopted when it’s intuitive to use; in other words when it leverages common behavior people are already used to doing. The hotel smartconcierge relies on one of the most common activities people do today – text messaging – to deliver guest service.
  • Natural language:
    Research has revealed that people prefer and respond to AI with human-like qualities. A hotel smartconcierge that sounds and acts human while providing accurate and appropriate responses quickly wins guests over. When guests are comfortable, they’ll be more likely to use the smartconcierge for future requests.
  • Instant responses: We live in instant gratification times. In the hospitality industry, that heightens expectations even further. A good hotel smartconcierge responds in seconds, enabling guests to have more time to enjoy their vacation instead of waiting on hold or in line at a guest services desk.
  • Ever-present: Even the top hotels with butler service cannot (and will not) be ever-present at a guest’s side, but a smartconcierge can be. Because it’s accessed by the guest’s smartphone, the hotel smartconcierge is likely to be conveniently located in a pocket, a bag, or on a nearby surface – waiting to address the guest’s whim or issue.
  • Guest control: Not only is the hotel smartconcierge ever-present and conveniently available, but it can also be less interruptive. For instance, the guest can request something of the smartconcierge while in the middle of a meeting and check for the response only after the meeting has concluded. Alternatively, for guests who prefer do-it-yourself interactions to avoid dealing with a human being, they can complete tasks like virtual check-out through the smartconcierge.
  • Seamless service experiences: When a smartconcierge cannot adequately solve a guest’s issue, the smartconcierge solution should escalate the matter to a human (hotel staff) counterpart. That hand-off should be communicated to the guest and executed seamlessly without requiring the guest to repeat their issue all over again. The right hotel smartconcierge can manage this process flawlessly.

When the hotel smartconcierge works as it should, hotels can expect markedly improved guest experiences and guest satisfaction scores to increase by 10-30%. These benefits alone could be powerful enough, but hotels with the right smartconcierge solution can realize additional gains operationally.

Considerations for Hotels

  • Ease of integration/startup:
    Even the impressive technology might be a nightmare to install, to transition to, and to train staff on. Hotels looking for the right smartconcierge should look for ease of integration, meaning less than a week to go live. Also, ensure the solution has a proven integration track record with their existing PMS.
  • Hyper-personalized messaging to best serve hotel objectives and guest needs: A casino resort has different objectives than a luxury resort in the rugged outdoors. The right hotel smartconcierge can be customized to address the specific requests of each property, including special promotions that can help boost engagement in on-site activities, check reward programs standings, and upsell revenue opportunities, to name a few.
  • Constant, automated learning: Through advanced machine learning programming, an AI-powered hotel smartconcierge automatically and continually learns how to respond better. The more seamless and accurate the responses, the more it reduces the load on their human counterparts. And since the smartconcierge manages mostly redundant, repetitive requests, it not only frees up employees for more high-value interactions, but also improves employee engagement, sentiment, and retention rates. Most guest services personnel would happily give up having to answer the same mundane questions over and over again.
  • Issue closure: A true hotel smartconcierge will follow a guest issue through until it’s resolved, which means providing both the guest and hotel staff with follow-ups and alerts until the task is complete
  • Communications transcripts: When issues do need to be elevated to a human guest services representative, it can’t be a seamless experience if the transcript of the guest conversation is not provided first. Such transcripts let the hotel staff immediately pick up where the smartconcierge left off and can also be reviewed and analyzed after the fact for trends and lingering issues the hotel needs to address.
  • Simple staff portal: For human staff to serve guests and access communications transcripts, there needs to be a simple, easy-to-use dashboard which centralizes all the information in one place.
  • Real-time analytics: Hotel operations leaders will want insights into how the smartconcierge-human counterpart tag-team effort resolves guest issues, leads to special offer redemptions and incremental revenue gains and improves satisfaction scores. Look for a solution that provides these data points in easy-to-absorb, real-time dashboards.

What to Avoid

A word or two of caution when venturing into the world of hotel smartconcierge or virtual concierge-like solutions: Look for a proven provider who has worked with properties like yours in the past, and further still, partner with one that specializes in the hotel and hospitality sector. The hospitality industry has unique needs and demands, and guest services isn’t an area you want to gamble and lose on. Also, avoid solutions that aren’t focused, try to do too much, or solve too many problems. You wouldn’t ask your Director of Housekeeping to also be your property’s Executive Chef, so don’t expect your technology to excel if it is positioned as a jack-of-all-trades either. Look for a smartconcierge provider that knows their lane and has laser-focus on it. Be a smart shopper of your smartconcierge selection.