While tech-powered customer experiences have been around for a while (such as online check-in for flights), the initial purpose was to save people time by utilising the tech at their fingertips. However, since the arrival of COVID, the role of technology to deliver a contactless guest experience has become essential, rather than just a convenience.
Empowering post-COVID travel
When COVID first made its unwelcome appearance, the hospitality and accommodation industry was one of the worst to be affected.
“The COVID-19 pandemic caught the entire hospitality sector off guard,” says Mr Chander Baljee, Managing Director of Royal Orchid Hotels in Bangalore. “The resulting impact of the outbreak left hotels with no choice but to innovate, develop and adopt agile strategies to meet the ever-evolving guest needs. Among the areas that saw a paradigm shift in the way things were done is the adoption of digital technologies by the hotels.”
RMS Cloud was one of the first hospitality vendors to respond to hoteliers’ and their guests’ needs. “We recognised that contactless guest experiences would be the future of hospitality,” says Peter Ferris, Global Sales & Marketing Officer at RMS Cloud. “Our team put their heads together, and within two weeks of initial lockdowns, RMS rolled out a guest declaration and contact tracing form to help properties navigate the new normal.”
This digital in-product wizard enabled properties to manage guest and staff safety while still maintaining service standards upon reopening. By predicting the future of technology, RMS’ tech support empowered operators during an unprecedented operational crisis, enabling many to stay in business thanks to the tools made available in their PMS.
Tailored COVID declarations - making safety compliance easy
The guest declaration wizard offers customisable fields, enabling properties to tailor screening questions to align with local contact tracing regulations. Questions answered insufficiently are flagged in the property’s PMS, allowing them to immediately contact the guest. This prioritises the health and safety of staff and guests and ensures guests are permitted to travel before they arrive on-site.
Enabling guest self-service with digital check-ins
According to Mr Baljee, hoteliers need to strike the balance between guest expectations and costs while also taking a long-term view of things to come in order to be future-ready.
“It’s become evident that technologies such as contactless guest interactions and digitising the customer journey at every possible touchpoint will not just help engage with guests better but also spur guest confidence,” says Mr Baljee.
To help hoteliers achieve this balance, RMS provides a customer-facing guest portal, which enables guests to manage every aspect of their reservation. During the pandemic, RMS also introduced the option for guests to complete a pre-check-in via the guest portal.
This ability to check-in from one’s device prior to arrival (or boarding the plane if taken as an example) has already proven to be a hit among travellers and boasts numerous benefits that have become a vital tool for operators and guests alike as we move to resume post-pandemic travel.
“RMS’ pre-check-in functionality is advantageous for both the guest and hotelier, now and in the future,” says Peter. “As well as keeping face-to-face contact to a minimum by reducing how long the guest spends at reception, it also creates a more efficient workflow for hotel staff, as pre-check-ins are automatically updated in the PMS.”
Fully contactless digital key integration
Cloud-based platforms like RMS have the capability to integrate with other hospitality systems, enabling properties to build their perfect technology ecosystem. By integrating with a digital key provider, properties can take their check-in experience one step further by offering a fully contactless guest journey. If the guest’s mobile number is captured under their reservation, they can bypass reception and head straight to their room, while the property sends an encrypted digital key to their mobile device.
Cutting-edge, self-serve tech is here for the long haul; not only will this streamline the guest journey, but it will also deliver a safe experience for all involved. Guest-facing tech such as a mobile portal also eliminates the need to invest in bulky and expensive technology by putting a personal kiosk in the palm of your guest’s hand. By managing guest expectations while also delivering first-class customer service, hoteliers will lay the foundations for positive word-of-mouth reviews and most importantly, long-term loyalty to your brand.
This article was originally published on ANI.