How the acceleration of technology is making life easier for King Reef Resort
Guest post by Tracey Patterson, originally posted on LinkedIn.
What is the opposite of a technophobe?
Well, whatever it is, I am it; I love anything that makes my life easier, gives me more time and saves me money. The saying 'work smarter, not harder' is my mantra.
Without a doubt, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the uptake of technology. We are shopping online, ordering our meals online, having online meetings, and even visiting e-doctors. This increased usage of technology means our customer expectations are changing rapidly, and they want an instant response. I read that a customer expects an answer to an email within 15 minutes; I nearly choked as I read it, but that was at a time when I had not responded to emails from three days ago!
The hotel, caravan park and holiday home industries are now in a unique position to use technology to automate processes, deliver a superior customer experience and use technology to increase profits.
I oversee the operation of a small beachside resort and caravan park in a sleepy fishing hamlet in Queensland, Australia. I've made three small technological changes to our operations and the results to date have astounded me.
- Updated our RMS IBE and introduced dynamic pricing
- Introduced RMS guest portal and pre-check-in facility
- Installed Book Me Bob Chatbot on our website and Facebook page
Here are our results from the July to September quarter:
What's even better is that since using the RMS guest portal, 60% of our guest payments have been made online without any interaction from our staff. At a time when we were too busy to even answer our emails or get a line out to return a call, our guests were using the guest portal to pay their balances, check themselves in and make new bookings. This brought other benefits too:
More information about our guests
We now have more data on our guests than ever before. What is it about sharing their information on online forms? They tell us their car registration, if they have dogs, the size of their caravan. Why are they happy sharing this with a computer and not face to face? It was like pulling hen's teeth trying to get this information from a guest on the phone – you know the conversation:
“How big is your caravan?”
“It’s a Jayco Silverline.”
“Thank you, how long is it?”
Shout out to husband…
“Do you want the inside or outside length?”
“Outside please, I need to make sure you fit on your allocated site.”
“OK, do I need to include the drawbar?”
Well, now they just select the length from a dropdown list, tell us if they have a slide-out, and if we wanted to, I'm sure we could get them to tell us what colour doona they had on the bed!
Improved cash flow
Our guests now use the guest portal to pay for their bookings. What's so amazing about this? Well, we usually take a one-night deposit with the balance payable on arrival (outside of holiday times), but now our guests are paying before they arrive, and in some cases, they pay for their whole stay upon booking. We now have clients who have paid in full for their Easter bookings!
Our front desk staff now have more time to do what they do best which is looking after our guests. Our review ratings have gone through the roof as we are delivering on our guests' online and offline expectations.
In a nutshell, our guests seem to be eager to converse with our AI Chatbot (he is state-of-the-art and very sexy tech) to get their questions answered when they need them answered. They then book online (after copious amounts of research – apparently they look at 89 pages before they book) and then handle their booking through the guest portal, pay, check themselves in and even book dinner reservations.
And that my friends is why I am a technophile – which I have just been informed is a person who loves or is enthusiastic about advanced technology.