For hospitality brands to inspire loyalty, they need to deliver a consistently stellar guest experience — but many hotels haven’t been able to hire enough staff members to meet the high level of service guests expect. To overcome this challenge, hotels must increase efficiency and optimize communication between teams.
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Travelers are booking hotels again, with the global accommodation sector projected to reach $903 billion by the end of 2022. Keeping up with this surging demand and delivering stand-out service in the midst of staffing shortages and resource constraints is one of the biggest challenges facing the hospitality industry.
“Travelers expect the same level of service that they experienced on property prior to the pandemic,” said Justin Ricketts, chief product and development officer at Sabre Hospitality. “They’re unsympathetic to the unprecedented labor challenges facing the industry. Travelers know that if they have a negative experience, they have options and may even opt to cancel their reservation mid-stay.”
Every hotelier knows that consistent, solid service leads to guest retention and repeat bookings, as well as a lower cost of acquisition. Hoteliers also know they need to excel while balancing resource constraints.
“One way to do more with less is to give every employee the opportunity to maximize their impact on the guest experience,” Ricketts said. “Doing that requires a connected ecosystem of integrated solutions that seamlessly keeps everyone on the same page so that the employees can deliver the best experience possible.”
Improving the Guest Experience
Communication is at the heart of a stand-out hotel service experience. Today’s travelers want to be able to communicate directly with hotel staff members using multiple methods, and they expect a fast response.
For most hotels, the on-property guest experience is managed through the property management system (PMS), but the PMS is not set up to truly focus on the guest. Preferences are communicated largely through notes in the PMS, which can be easily overlooked and may not account for interdepartmental communication. Task management and guest engagement systems help bridge the gap between the PMS and a great guest experience, elevating a hotel’s service with confidence and ease.
“It’s important for hoteliers to recognize that a one-size-fits-all approach to guest communication is no longer adequate,” said Juan Abello, vice president of product management at Sabre Hospitality and founder of Nuvola, a comprehensive solution that marries back-of-house to front-of-house and provides guest engagement tools. “Guests have a variety of preferred communication methods. It’s no longer only about calling down to the front desk. To be effective, hotels must accommodate multiple methods — in person, text messages, app notifications — and ensure that those methods are easy to use and that the guest sees a response or resolution in a timely manner.”
With the right task management solution, guest requests are processed, assigned, and completed within specified target times, increasing guest satisfaction. Guests are more likely to book repeat stays and write positive reviews when their requests are completed on time — and when given a choice of how they’d like to communicate with hotel staff, honoring the self-service model many travelers have come to expect.
Making Each Guest Touchpoint More Meaningful
Each guest communication provides an opportunity to exceed expectations while doing more with less.
“Let’s say you check into your room and sit down to read a book only to find the lamp isn’t working,” Abello said. “You don’t like talking on the phone or don’t speak the local language, so you are relieved to find you can send a text message to the hotel. The front desk replies within minutes saying they are sending up someone from the maintenance team to fix the lamp. They arrive five minutes later, change the lightbulb, and you return to your book. The issue is resolved without you ever needing to leave your room.”
The combination of task management and guest engagement systems helps bridge the gap through automation, with a centralized, single-destination platform that eliminates the need to toggle across multiple screens or manage myriad pen-and-paper notes.
“Another touchpoint opportunity is right after check-in,” Abello said. “You have guest data to schedule a text message to go out to guests an hour after they’ve checked in, welcoming them and inviting them to text back if there is anything you can do to make their stay more enjoyable.”
Improving the Hotel Employee Experience
Clear, effective, and timely communication builds confidence with guests and staff members alike. It may go without saying, but cultivating a positive employee experience is one of the biggest ways hospitality companies can retain employees.
“Staff members have more to do than ever before, so they need systems that are simple, intuitive, and reliable,” Ricketts said. “Hospitality employees have a lot of choices on where they can work. If we can give those employees a great technology experience that helps them do their job well, then we’ve given the hotelier a sustainable competitive advantage in a tight labor market.”
With a task management solution, short-staffed hotels can increase efficiency by automating guest requests, notifications, assignments, and communications. They can also easily view activity across the hotel operation, including front of house, back of house, and guest services, and they can track staff productivity with comprehensive reports and real-time status updates and alerts.
An Integrated and Automated Solution
A great task management system can aid over-stretched teams while providing the stand-out guest experience needed to win repeat guests.
“When automated systems integrate with a PMS, you have the power to do more with less,” Abello said. “Nuvola’s integrated approach to communications ensures each guest has a personalized and positive experience that is convenient and easy to use.”
In addition, by using one vendor with a single platform solution, the overall purchase cost is less than using multiple vendors, as are the recurring maintenance and support fees.
“It’s not practical for hotels to integrate highly fragmented solutions with limited technology budgets and resources,” Ricketts said. “With Nuvola, hoteliers will know exactly what the guest has requested and exactly how to fulfill those requests in a way that keeps guests coming back and gladly spending more.”
For more information about how Nuvola can help hotels go beyond to connect teams and elevate service, click here.
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