why hotels must provide self-service options to guests?
By Piyush Kedia
16 September 2019
Hospitality is synonymous to human touch and warmth. There is no alternate to a cheerful greeting to make your guests feel happy and comfortable. However, most interactions between hotels and guests are transactional in nature and do not necessarily require human intervention.

Why guests interact with hotels?
Most interactions between hotel staff and guests is related to exchange of information about services being offered. These interactions can be grouped into the following categories:

-      Enquiries: enquire about services or amenities, pricing, timings
-      Requests: request for something
-      Exchange pleasantries: general conversation or greetings

Conversations related to enquiries and requests are mundane and do not necessarily facilitate in establishing a connect with the guest. In fact, if inaccurate information is exchanged, it could result in loss of revenue or an unhappy guest.

How enquiries and requests are handled by the hotel?
The guest usually approaches the front desk using the room intercom and enquires about a service or tries to place a request. In case the front desk is unable to assist, they redirect the guest to the relevant department. These repetitive tasks are often handled with neutral enthusiasm and hence do not affect guest experience positively.

Redirecting guests to different departments or internally routing requests within departments makes the process more inefficient and increases the turnaround time and lowers guest satisfaction.

How self-service can be a game-changer?
Guests are always looking for an enhanced and a personalized experience at hotels. They expect to have convenient access to services they want to use and should be empowered with sufficient information to do so.

It’s convenient
Guests should be able to use all services and amenities at the hotel with ease. Sufficient information about the offerings, timings and pricing of services should be readily available at all times. Guest focused mobile based solutions can make this information easily accessible from anywhere and at any time.

Hotels restrict access to this information only from rooms in the form of printed menus. This makes it very inconvenient for guests to avail services and hence reduces the usage of these services. Most guests are unable to explore all services and amenities are large hotels or resorts due to lack of sufficient information served conveniently.

It’s engaging
It is essential that hotels take all efforts to engage with their guests to ensure that they have a great stay. A great stay is a combination of clean and comfortable rooms, courteous hotel staff and the pleasure of using hotel services and amenities.

To encourage guests to use services it is important to promote the right services to each guest individually and then make it really easy to raise requests. All barriers like lack of information and difficulty in raising requests from anywhere should be removed.

It’s efficient
Hotels usually have a dedicated department for each service. Each of these departments has a person designated to receive guest enquiries and requests through phone calls. On receiving the request, this designated person has to pass on this information to other colleagues for it to be fulfilled. This increases manual intervention and the probability of manual errors, along with an increase in time taken to complete the request.

Technology can make all guests requests directly accessible by the last person in the chain. This reduces the operational complexity and time taken to fulfill a request. In a large hotel this can immensely contribute in reducing the load during peak hours, like lunch time for the room service department.
Technology can play a big role in engaging with guests for repetitive tasks or to efficiently exchange information on services. This will not only result in increased guest satisfaction but also higher revenues. We at AtHotels help hotels transform guest experiences through our Personalize, Interact and Engage approach to hotel stays. To know more or get in touch, visit our website www.AtHotels.app