The evolving landscape of the hospitality industry has witnessed a transformative shift towards mobile technology integration. No longer just a “nice-to-have,” mobile solutions have become a fundamental component in enhancing the guest experience and driving revenue. This article delves into how hotels can effectively implement a mobile strategy across Food and Beverage outlets and front office operations, focusing on payment solutions that elevate guest and staff experiences.
At a recent industry event, Christine Lising and Ryan Brough presented the transformative impact of mobile solutions on the hospitality industry, underscoring mobile’s crucial role in shaping the future of hotel operations and guest experiences.
Christine and Ryan’s presentation covered three key concepts:
1. Driving ancillary revenue growth through effective mobile strategies
Mobile technology is not just a tool for operational efficiency but a potent driver for revenue growth. In today’s digital era, guests seek convenience at their fingertips. By leveraging mobile strategies effectively, hotels can tap into new income streams, from room upgrades to in-room dining, and capitalise on the opportunities presented by the growing trend of mobile engagement.
2. Enhancing operations with a successful mobile strategy implementation
The modern guest demands a seamless, personalised experience, and mobile technology is at the heart of meeting this expectation. A well-crafted mobile strategy enhances the guest journey, from pre-arrival to post-departure, offering ease, personalisation, and a memorable stay that resonates with the preferences of the contemporary traveller.
3. Improving employee satisfaction through mobile strategies
Often overlooked, employee satisfaction is crucial for delivering an exceptional guest experience. Mobile solutions can streamline operations, reduce workloads, and provide staff with the necessary tools to perform their duties logically and effectively. Happy employees translate into happy guests, thereby driving loyalty and Customer Lifetime Value.
Let’s dive into how mobile strategies reshape the hospitality industry, offering value to guests, employees, and hoteliers alike.
- Transcend traditional practices to create a more dynamic, revenue-generating, efficient operational model.
- Enhance both the guest and employee experience, ensuring satisfaction.
- Be future-ready and equipped to adapt to emerging technologies and changing guest expectations.
The necessity of flexibility
, such as a modern POS System, should operate natively on Windows, Android, and iOS, providing guests with the convenience of ordering and paying for services through their mobile devices. This flexibility dramatically benefits the hotel’s tech stack while catering to the modern traveller’s expectations and increases the likelihood of impulse purchases and upgrades.
For instance, guests should be able to order room service, book spa appointments, or reserve restaurant tables using their smartphones. This ease of access encourages guests to explore more hotel services, thereby increasing earning capacity. Furthermore, personalised recommendations based on guest preferences
, enabled by data analytics , can enhance guest spending opportunities.
Today’s guests expect seamless digital interactions, starting from pre-arrival. As Ryan and Christine’s presentation highlighted, pre-stay F&B previews are important because they allow guests to familiarise themselves with dining options, setting the stage for increased engagement and spending upon arrival. Modern POS solutions should enable guests to explore and order from F&B outlets through mobile devices, encouraging impulse purchases and upselling opportunities.
From the PMS and Front office perspective, mobile check-in and room upgrades can significantly enhance the guests’ journey, making the process more structured and personalised. To illustrate how mobile strategies can significantly boost ancillary revenue, let’s consider a few practical examples:
- Pre-Arrival: Imagine a guest who, days before arrival, receives a notification on their smartphone about the hotel’s specialty restaurant, outlets and services. The mobile app offers an early check-in option, showcases a tempting menu, and provides an exclusive pre-arrival booking discount. Enticed by this, the guest decides to reserve a table for their first night, enhancing the likelihood of dining at the hotel again during their stay.
- Room Upgrades: A guest receives a notification on their mobile app a day before arrival, offering a room upgrade at a special rate. This timely offer, presented when guests anticipate their stay, might prompt them to splurge on a suite with a better view or additional amenities. Such upgrades, easily facilitated through mobile, significantly increase room revenue without extra effort from the hotel staff.
- In-Room Dining Enhancements: It’s no secret that guests today will look to outside services before the hotel’s own in-room dining options when wanting a meal in their room. Uber Eats and other food delivery services provide fast, cost-effective meals for guests but eat into valuable revenue for the hotel. If hotels provide user-friendly, efficient solutions tied to the guest’s device with targeted incentives powered by their chosen POS system, guests could then access a comprehensive in-room dining menu on their mobile devices. They could customise their orders (like adding extra toppings to a pizza or requesting a special dessert) and make requests outside standard service hours. This convenience not only increases F&B sales but also encourages guests to use in-room dining services more frequently.
- Spa and Leisure Activities: Guests can browse and book spa appointments or leisure activities like yoga classes through the hotel’s mobile app. Special promotions or last-minute deals for these services can be pushed via notifications, tempting guests to indulge in additional activities they might not have otherwise considered.
The key in these examples is the convenience and personalisation offered through mobile strategies. Hotels can seamlessly integrate opportunities for enhanced experiences and additional spending by providing guests with these services.
Meet Guests Where They Are
As presented by Ryan and Christine, this technological advancement aims to ‘meet guests where they are,’ essentially catering to their needs and preferences through digital solutions accessible from their devices.
Meeting guests where they are means providing them with seamless, intuitive mobile experiences from pre-arrival to departure. Implementing mobile check-in and check-out processes streamlines the guest journey, allowing for a more personalised and efficient service. For example, guests can choose to bypass traditional front desk interactions, heading straight to their rooms upon arrival, with keyless entry systems controlled via mobile devices.
Meeting guests where they are provides them with convenient and personalised interactions at every stage of their stay. This digital transformation ensures guests enjoy their stay with minimal friction and maximum comfort, such as allowing them to book spa appointments or reserve golf tee times through their mobile devices. Furthermore, integrating mobile payment solutions at F&B outlets ensures quicker, more secure transactions. Mobile ordering and payment solutions expedite service and allow for the customisation of orders, adding to the guest’s convenience and satisfaction.
Enhanced Personalization and Convenience
To make guests’ stay more enjoyable while saving them time in planning and research, hotels can offer personalisation and convenience with digital concierge services. Guests can get recommendations for dining, entertainment, and local attractions tailored to their preferences.
Seamless Access and Control
The use of mobile keys is another significant innovation. Guests can bypass traditional check-in procedures and access their rooms using their mobile devices. This feature speeds up the check-in process and adds a layer of security. Similarly, in-room controls for lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems through mobile apps empower guests to customise their room environment to their liking, enhancing their comfort and overall impression.
Efficient and Secure Transactions
Integrating mobile payment solutions is a great way to speed up service and provide a more secure way of handling guest payments. Mobile payments streamline the transaction process, making the process feel seamless. Guests can enjoy their meals or drinks without the hassle of waiting for a bill, providing their credit card, or dealing with currency issues.
Boosting Employee Satisfaction through Mobile Strategies
The benefits of mobile strategies extend beyond guest services, considerably impacting the day-to-day workflows and overall job satisfaction of hotel staff.
Streamlining Operations and Reducing Workload
For hotel staff, access to real-time information via mobile devices means they can manage tasks and respond to guest needs more promptly and effectively. For instance, hotels offering mobile check-in/out technology can manage guest flows more effectively, reducing queues and wait times at the front desk. This enhances guest satisfaction and reduces the pressure and workload on the staff, contributing to a more balanced and manageable work environment.
Enhancing Service Delivery in Food and Beverage Outlets
Servers with mobile devices can provide faster and more accurate service for order taking and payment processing. This technology streamlines the service process by eliminating the need for multiple trips to a stationary POS terminal and gives staff more opportunities to engage with guests, potentially increasing sales through personalised recommendations and upselling.
Improving Housekeeping and Maintenance Efficiency
Housekeeping teams can receive real-time updates on room status, guest preferences, and specific requests through mobile apps. This leads to more productive room turnover and the ability to address guest needs promptly. Similarly, maintenance staff can receive and respond to repair requests on the go, reducing response times and increasing operational efficiency.
Reducing Stress and Greater Job Satisfaction
Reduces the stress associated with manual, time-consuming tasks by automating routine processes and providing easy access to information. Mobile technologies allow staff to focus on more engaging and rewarding aspects of their jobs. This leads to a more organised work environment and increases employee morale and job satisfaction, a win-win scenario where both guests and employees benefit from these technologies’ enhanced efficiency, convenience, and personalisation. As a result, hotels that invest in mobile solutions are likely to see improvements in guest satisfaction and a more motivated, satisfied, and productive workforce.
Value to Every Stakeholder in the Travel Journey
As emphasised in the HITEC presentation, the prerequisites for successful mobile integration include a global, device-agnostic approach, open APIs, and cloud-native architecture. These elements ensure that the mobile solutions are accessible, flexible, and scalable, meeting the diverse needs of both guests and hotel operations.
With a modern hotel PMS solution, hotels can implement Single Sign-On solutions, Module Selection, and API Integration, ensuring on-site technology is tailored to their needs and utilising only the necessary API endpoints. This customisation enhances the functionality and user utilisation of mobile solutions.
Rebuilding the Hotel Tech Stack for the Future: Embracing Mobile Technology
With the integration of mobile strategies in the hospitality sector, it becomes evident that a fundamental shift is required in how hotels approach their technological infrastructure. Simply updating legacy systems isn’t going to cut it anymore; there is an increasing need for hotels to rebuild their technology stacks from the ground up using cloud-based solutions. This strategic transition is essential to align with modern hospitality’s evolving demands and fully harness the capabilities of advanced mobile solutions.