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May 7, 2024

How to integrate technology to deliver more personalized guest experiences

In this article, our integration partner Cloubdeds explores how lodging businesses can utilize technology to deliver personalized guest experiences throughout the guest journey

In this article, our integration partner Cloubdeds explores how lodging businesses can utilize technology to deliver personalized guest experiences throughout the guest journey

Every traveler has a different idea of what a great guest experience looks like. From bypassing the front desk entirely to being taken on a guided property tour, there’s no one-size-fits-all.

Both high- and low-touch guest experiences require technology to ensure seamless operations. It’s crucial for lodging operators to define the experience they want to deliver to guests and determine how to accomplish it with the right processes and tools. 

In this article, we explore how lodging businesses can utilize technology to deliver personalized guest experiences throughout the guest journey that don’t just meet but exceed expectations.

 

Understanding guest expectations 

Guest expectations are ever-evolving and shaped by a myriad of factors. From past experiences at your hotel or other lodging businesses to word-of-mouth recommendations, online reviews, and marketing materials, guests form a perception of your hotel before they even arrive. 

Add to that guest preferences—some guests seek seamless, contactless interactions facilitated by technology, while others crave traditional, human-led hospitality. To satisfy guest preferences and expectations, lodging businesses must invest time in understanding their guest personas to deliver personalized experiences.

 

Personalization throughout the guest journey 

What are some actionable use cases you can use to elevate the guest experience from pre-arrival to post-stay? Here are a few examples of how lodging businesses can implement touch points, both big and small. 

 

Pre-arrival

The pre-arrival phase of the traveler journey is all about supporting and educating potential guests before they arrive. From researching on your website and other online sites to preparing for their trip, lodging businesses must provide guests with the proper resources. 

  • Engage potential guests on your website with compelling copy, chatbots to answer questions, and rate comparison widgets to easily compare prices across sites. 
  • Include upsells and add-ons in your booking engine so guests can personalize their stay with activities, in-room amenities, and packages. 
  • Message guests before arrival with information about your property, like where to park, directions from the airport, and where to eat their first night in town. 

 

Arrival

The arrival experience shouldn’t be a burden on hotel guests. It should get them excited about their stay. Think of ways to streamline check-ins, getting guests settled in their rooms as quickly as possible while providing personalized information on activities and on-site amenities. 

  • Provide an option for mobile check-in, where guests can enter all of their details ahead of time on a web-based app, cutting down wait times at the front desk.
  • Address guests by name and check the PMS to see if they’ve stayed with you before or if any notes about their upcoming stay have been added. 
  • Take guests on a tour of the property to showcase all of the amenities available.

 

In-stay

Ensure you’re checking in on guests and jumping on any opportunities to make their stay unforgettable. From identifying areas of service recovery to quickly fulfilling guest needs, lodging businesses need to leverage internal workflows and forms of communication to get things done fast.

  • Check in with guests a couple of hours after arrival via SMS, messenger, or WhatsApp to ensure they’re satisfied with their stay. 
  • Send guests a link to a digital concierge with recommendations on top-rated restaurants, hidden gems, or relevant activities, depending on the segment. 
  • Offer guests a number to message in case of service requests, such as more towels or purchases from the bar. 

 

Post-stay

Just because a guest leaves your property doesn’t mean your time with them is done. Consider ways to nurture the relationship to earn repeat or referral business and collect positive reviews for your distribution channels. 

  • Send a post-stay text thanking guests for staying with you, and include a survey link to gather feedback. 
  • Encourage guests to leave reviews on relevant platforms like Google and Tripadvisor
  • Follow up with guests periodically through their preferred form of communication with exclusive discounts for future stays or referrals.

By infusing each stage of the guest journey with personalized touches, lodging businesses can forge stronger connections with guests, leading to enhanced satisfaction, loyalty, and advocacy.

 

How technology facilitates seamless guest experiences

Delivering innovative and personalized guest experiences can be challenging for lodging businesses, especially those without the proper technology. Whether you want more self-service or human-led interactions, technology will be pivotal in delivering seamless experiences. 

Behind the scenes, hotel teams can leverage the following technologies to facilitate a seamless guest experience. 

  • Property management system to collect and store guest information
  • Online booking engine to facilitate a seamless booking experience with upsells and add-ons 
  • Channel manager to ensure accurate rates and availability across channels
  • Revenue management system for effective pricing
  • CRM to send targeted marketing messages to guests 

Lodging businesses can also implement guest-facing technology to personalize the experience, including:

  • Mobile check-in to reduce front desk wait times 
  • Keyless entry system to bypass reception completely 
  • Website chatbots to answer frequently asked questions
  • Guest engagement solutions to enable communication via SMS and messaging apps

These tools and technologies work together to ensure seamless operations across the guest journey. For lodging businesses, these systems must be integrated so that data flows freely, giving team members the most up-to-date information for decision-making. 

 

Understanding guest satisfaction

How do you know if you’ve met guest expectations or not? You can implement all the technology and processes to enhance the guest experience, but without tangible feedback, it’s hard to know if your hard work is paying off. 

To understand whether or not your guest experience fits your target audience’s expectations and preferences, you need to survey guests and monitor online reviews. 

Using reputation management software, lodging businesses can automatically send an email or text post-stay with a customer satisfaction survey. Ensure that someone is responsible for monitoring feedback, following up with happy and unhappy guests, and creating action plans for addressing comments. 

You should also regularly monitor reviews across all active platforms, including Google, Tripadvisor, OTAs, and metasearch sites. Travelers regularly read reviews and are more inclined to trust a brand that responds to negative reviews with actionable feedback on how it is making improvements. 

 

Delivering exceptional guest experience

Lodging businesses that embrace innovative solutions and strategies to create personalized, seamless experiences will find success as guest expectations evolve. From harnessing the power of data analytics to deploying guest-facing technologies such as mobile check-in and AI-driven chatbots, the possibilities for elevating the guest journey are limitless. However, the accurate measure of success lies in understanding guest satisfaction and leveraging feedback to refine and optimize the guest experience continuously.

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Cloudbeds is the leading platform redefining the concept of PMS for the hospitality industry, serving tens of thousands of properties in more than 150 countries worldwide. Built from the ground up to be masterfully unified and scalable, the award-winning Cloudbeds Platform brings together built-in and integrated solutions that modernize hotel operations, distribution, guest experience, and data & analytics. Founded in 2012, Cloudbeds has been named a top PMS, Hotel Management System and Channel Manager (2021-2024) by Hotel Tech Report, World’s Best Hotel PMS Solutions Provider (2022) by World Travel Awards, and recognized in Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 in 2023.

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