Hotels and resorts didn’t always need to differentiate themselves through cutting-edge technology. Before the pandemic, many brands could get by with the attitude “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” choosing instead to invest in face-to-face customer service. Yet the days of in-person service being separated from digital service are over. A slow and siloed tech stack can’t carry your hospitality brand into a post-COVID world.
Now, 50% of U.S. consumers say that COVID has increased their prioritization of customer service as a factor when deciding to do business with a brand. And the very definition of customer service has changed; modern travelers want features like touchless payments and check-ins as well as easy cancellations to accommodate shifting travel restrictions.
All of this is easier said than done and you may be at a loss for how to get started. We’ll highlight the top areas that could benefit from a technology reboot and emphasize clear goals for each.
Whether you’re just beginning to make updates or you’re already making use of some newer software, this checklist can help you chart a path forward. These four areas are key to keeping up in today’s business landscape:
Tracking customer data is paramount. You need tools that categorize customer behavior automatically. If you can understand the journey customers take from comparing various hotels to booking yours, you can hone in on the right metrics – the ones that make a difference for your brand specifically. Look for software that allows you to create customized dashboards and reports from aggregated data.
Your team members face added pressure to maintain rigorous health and safety standards. Whatever software you purchase, think of your team. Choose process automations that slash manual tasks and tools that ease internal communication. We recommend software that will allow your team to chat and share documents in real-time. The more obstacles you remove for them, the better service they’ll provide to guests.
Guests will always judge your brand based on how quickly your team handles requests and responds to complaints. Once again, automation is the name of the game. Automating service ticketing is a proven strategy to boost CX. If you need to scale support, consider AI-powered chatbots. The automated workflows behind such chatbots mean customers are connected to the right help, faster.
Today, 85% of brands believe they offer personalized customer experiences but only 60% of consumers agree. Personalization builds brand loyalty. Yet sadly, as the above numbers illustrate, offering tailored service to all guests is tricky. This is where tracking data pays dividends; with a unified software system, guest preferences are at your fingertips.
So, your team can craft personalized interactions – like discounts, coupons and recommendations – in real-time. Such experiences make guests eager to sign up for loyalty programs and keep coming back.
Effective marketing goes hand-in-hand with loyalty. Modern software allows your team to automate brand communications; for example, you can send nurturing messages to prospects undecided about their next vacation and special offers to corporate guests that travel frequently. Some tools even personalize emails and site landing pages automatically, accounting for each individual’s history with the brand.
When updating technology to suit customer expectations, hotels and resorts can draw inspiration from other industries. For example, Salesforce has been applied successfully to boosting CX in myriad business scenarios. Tools like Intelligence and Tableau allow users to track end-to-end customer journeys for granular audience insights. In hospitality, Salesforce has traditionally only been used as a CRM. If you oversee a hotel or resort, you may not realize you already have versatile software at your fingertips – software, that if used to full capacity, opens the gate to broad digital transformation.
Of course, Salesforce isn’t the only option; it’s just often overlooked. Regardless of the technology you choose, make sure you have a clear plan for automating processes across data analytics, service, loyalty programs and marketing communications. The time for change is now.