Hotel Chain Focuses on Guest Experience through Digital Strategy November 04 2014
by Adlane Fellah
Following Hilton’s announcement of its new digital hotel experience, Global hotel operator Accor is redefining the customer experience through its new Leading Digital Hospitality plan. Recognizing that services like fast, free WiFi are essential to providing high-quality guest experience, Accor has crafted a $228 million investment digital plan that spans five years and impacts each of its 3,600 properties around the world.
Accor’s plan has three primary targets in mind, recognizing the benefits that high-quality wireless access will have for everyone within its organization. By considering the impact on its guests, employees, and partners, companies in all industries can demonstrate that guest service success extends beyond merely focusing on the customer. When employees and partners experience convenience and ease-of-operation, it benefits the entire organization. Here are three major ways a hotel can utilize mobile to improve customer service.
Hilton and Accor have both recognized the importance of creating a self-service check-in and check-out process. While these changes require an initial development, over time these hotels will be able to recoup that cost by reducing desk staff and increasing customer satisfaction. The strategies for both companies include the ability to obtain a room key and Hilton allows guests to choose rooms based on a digital layout. Using their smartphones, tablets, or PCs, customers can book rooms prior to the stay and reserve conference facilities. By deploying technologies that give the customer control over his experience, hotels with a clear digital strategy can gain a competitive edge
WiFi in its hotels will allow Accor to equip employees with mobile devices to better manage guest needs. Mobile capabilities take employees from behind reservation desks and cash registers in hospitality, freeing them up to help customers wherever they are. Accor plans to make its solution employee friendly by allowing employees to complete training programs and interact with other workers through an in-house social network. From an HR standpoint, employees can use mobile devices to check in and out at the beginning and end of each shift, view and manage their timesheets, and request time off.
Hotel employees interact with a large number of partners in order to conduct daily operations. Ordering supplies, paying bills, and sending invoices are all time-consuming activities for a hotel of any size. Accor’s solution plans to address partner relationships by optimizing its billing processes and creating a portal through which partners can view their own information. By automating billing and creating visibility for partners into their own accounts, hotels can improve turnaround time on payments. This also cuts down on calls and reduces processing time, freeing up employees to work on other issues. Over time, automated business processes will allow hotels to reduce staff, introducing an ongoing cost savings that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.
Despite the three-pronged approach, at its core, these changes are geared toward creating the best guest experience possible. Hotels know the many benefits of providing free, high-quality WiFi, which are essential to their guests in. Once WiFi has been enabled on a device, a hotel has an unprecedented ability to communicate with guests, including presenting menus for the day, providing coupons, and introducing customer service surveys at the end of a guest’s experience.
While the transition at each of these locations will be gradual, customers can expect a vastly improved guest experiences at top brand hotels throughout the world in the coming years. Mobile devices will be utilized in increasing amounts for everything a guest needs, removing the need to wait in line or make repeat trips to the lobby for things that can be done from the comfort of a guest’s hotel room.