How Hotel Automation Benefits Your Guests

When considering how you can enhance your hotel operations, you probably think about what solutions could make day-to-day tasks easier for your staff.

But what about your guests?

Do you make it easy for them to book a room? Are you providing them with the highest level of convenience and personalized service?

These are only some of the factors that can make or break their experience with your hotel.

That is why today, we are exploring how automation can help you elevate their experience and turn them into repeat guests.

So, let’s start at the beginning—with the room booking process.

Enables Direct Bookings 

In this day and age, enabling the room booking process directly through your website is no longer just a nice to have.

According to the European Hotel Distribution Study conducted by HOTREC, the share of direct online bookings has increased to 55.2% in 2021.

On top of that, another study shows that online direct is the fastest-growing distribution channel, whereas other channels are seeing a decline.

statistics about the popularity of direct online bookings

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: HOTREC and Statista

These numbers go to show that travelers love being able to book a room directly with the hotel of their choice, and it is your job to make this possible for them.

But why are direct online bookings such a popular option?

The short answer is, they are quick, convenient, and secure.

Imagine for a moment having to call the hotel to make a room reservation, sight unseen.

This would include a lot of back and forth about which rooms are available, what they look like, and what amenities they include.

Then, more discussion about the guest’s preferences, making note of special requests, and the risk of misunderstanding the guest and getting crucial information completely wrong.

With a direct booking engine, all of this becomes a thing of the past.

For example, Hotel Villa Magdalena, located in the Zagorje region of Croatia, uses the WebBookingPro Web Booking Engine to create a seamless direct booking experience for their guests.

As you can see, the listing includes ample information about the room and all of the amenities it has.

That way, any guest questions are answered then and there.

hotel villa magdalena reservation screenshot

Source: Hotel Villa Magdalena

This makes it easy for them to decide whether the room matches their needs and allows them to book it in just a few clicks.

Our booking engine is easily installed and integrated into your website, allowing you to maintain your brand identity and include all relevant accommodation information.

On top of that, using a direct booking engine like WebBookingPro offers an additional layer of security.

Namely, scams like the one described in the Reddit post below are becoming more common and more convincing.

reddit post screenshot about a booking scam

Source: Reddit

Unpleasant situations like that seem to be a cause for concern for many travelers, inspiring them to opt for direct bookings instead.

reddit comment about the benefits of booking a hotel room directly

Source: Reddit

Not only does booking directly often come with a better price—like this user pointed out—but it also comes with elevated data security, as guests aren’t redirected to (potentially suspicious) third-party websites to complete the payment.

As you can see, the benefits of introducing automation in the form of direct online bookings to your hotel are plenty.

So, if you’re still not reaping them, now is the time to jump on the bandwagon.

Offers More Convenience

Once the guests have arrived at your hotel, chances are, they are excited to get to their rooms as soon as possible.

Whether they had a long flight or arrived late at night, guests seem to love having the option to check into the hotel on their own.

Namely, according to Tabhotel's research, 71% of surveyed individuals stated that they are more likely to stay at a hotel that offers self-service technology.

On top of that, a significant amount of travelers wish hotels had mobile check-in and check-out, as well as automated check-in kiosks.

statistics about the popularity of automated hotel checkin among guests

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Tabhotel

These findings indicate that automating the check-in and check-out processes at your hotel might be an option worth considering.

It is a great way to reduce (or completely eliminate) the amount of time guests spend waiting to check in at the front desk, thus streamlining the experience and providing an extra layer of convenience.

However, automating check-in and check-out can be a double-edged sword.

While some guests love having the option of digital check-in at their disposal, others still prefer checking in with a staff member, as you can see from the review below.

tripadvisor comment about self check in at hotels

Source: Tripadvisor

Whether automating the check-in process is going to provide guests with more convenience or turn into an inconvenience will differ from one hotel to another.

Are your guests typically younger and tech-savvy? Do you get a lot of business travelers on tight schedules, or perhaps travelers arriving late at night?

If so, introducing self-check-in might be the right fit for your hotel.

But if you’re not quite sure, don’t worry—there are plenty of other automations that can create a more comfortable and convenient experience for your guests.

For instance, using automation systems that allow your guests to customize their room preferences is an important one.

The experience of this Tripadvisor user testifies to that.

tripadvisor comment about the importance of being able to customize hotel room preferences

Source: Tripadvisor

Enabling your guests to control aspects like room temperature and lighting or request housekeeping and maintenance on their own can significantly elevate their experience at your hotel.

It allows for a custom-tailored experience that not only enhances their comfort but also contributes to a sense of luxury, making their stay with you more memorable.

While there are various automation options that can offer more convenience, the right choice(s) will vary from hotel to hotel.So be mindful of your guests’ preferences when deciding what to automate.

Helps Create Personalized Experiences 

If you want to create memorable, personalized experiences for your guests, automation is going to play a crucial role yet again.

Let’s be honest: everyone likes to feel valued and have their individual needs met when staying at a hotel—and personalized service can significantly contribute to that.

When implementing personalization at your hotel, you get to cater to the unique needs and preferences of your guests, thereby making their stay with you more convenient and enjoyable.

But knowing the individual preferences of even the most frequent guests off the top of your head is a nearly impossible task.

That is why more and more hoteliers are turning to automation for help, says Gretchen Hartley, Senior Director at Marriott International.

quote about the importance of automation for personalizing hotel guest experiences

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Quote: Hospitality Tech

Realistically, investing in innovative solutions like facial recognition technology might not be a viable option for smaller and independent hotels.

However, there are other solutions—such as property management systems—that can make gathering information about guest preferences a breeze.

Namely, well-rounded PMS solutions have the ability to gather and consolidate guest data from various touchpoints, thereby creating a centralized repository you can use to deliver a personalized experience.

For instance, WebBookingPro’s Property Management System boasts a Guestbook feature you can use to keep all relevant guest information in one place.

webbookingpro tool screenshot

Source: WebBookingPro

When a guest comes to your hotel, you can have your staff make note of any preferences and special requests they make.

That way, every time they come back, you’ll be able to provide them with service tailored to their individual needs—from room preferences to amenity recommendations.

According to Mike Webster, senior VP and General Manager of Oracle’s hospitality group, the days of reactive and generic service at hotels are over:

"They want to deliver a real-time, personalized guest experience using the data they’ve gathered from multiple channels."

Nowadays, it is all about standing out from the competition by getting to know who your guests are and what they like, and delivering exactly that—without them having to ask for it.

So, use automation solutions to elevate your approach to personalization, and deliver a superior guest experience.

Provides Easy Access to Information 

Whether your guests are visiting for leisure, business, or sightseeing, one thing is for sure: they are going to be interested in more than just having a place to sleep.

But helping them make the most of their stay at your hotel isn’t always an easy feat.

Let’s say a guest tries to call the front desk to book a wellness treatment or ask about recommendations for local events, only to be unable to do so because the line is constantly busy.

This situation is both uncomfortable and frustrating, and can easily lead to a negative review like the one below.

yelp negative hotel review about unhelpful staff

Source: Yelp

As you can see, the hotel failed to provide this guest with assistance on multiple occasions, thereby making it difficult for them to enjoy their stay.

On the flip side, being available 24/7 to address all guest inquiries and requests can be challenging, especially during busy periods.

This is where hotel automation comes to the rescue.

By investing in a virtual concierge, you can make sure that your guests have all their needs met at the click of a button.

Here is an example of a web virtual concierge.

webbookingpro virtual concierge

Source: WebBookingPro

This tool provides your guests with access to hotel services at any time of the day, making it easy to book treatments, order room service, and explore other amenities your hotel offers.

Additionally, you can create resources you think your guests might find useful—think guides, promotional materials, or perhaps a digital map of the hotel.

In the case of WebBookingPro’s virtual concierge, your guests won’t even need to install an app to use it.

It can easily be accessed from any device and used to securely pay for the booked services.

By automating this aspect of your operations, both you and your guests reap the benefits:

They get assistance around the clock, and you get to enhance your operational efficiency and guest satisfaction.

Enhances Communication with the Hotel

The final benefit on our list for today is arguably one of the most important ones, as it significantly affects the reputation of your hotel.

We are talking about meaningful and personalized communication with your guests—before, during, and after their stay.

This is yet another aspect of your operations in which automation comes in handy, this time in the form of guest messaging software, or GMS.

guest messaging software definition

Illustration: WebBookingPro / Data: Cloudbeds

Simply put, GMS solutions allow your hotel to interact with your guests through various messaging channels—from SMS to messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp.

Given that this kind of software integrates with your PMS, you can always be sure that the information you’re sharing with your guests is accurate and up to date.

For instance, if a guest messages you inquiring about the details of their reservation, the messaging system will automatically check the PMS and provide the guest with a response.

If your staff had to manually keep up with guest messages on various platforms, chances are you’d end up with a huge backlog, because your staff is already juggling so many different responsibilities.

But by automating this task, you’re making sure that your guests have their needs met in a timely manner, thereby leaving a positive impression and enhancing their experience with your hotel.

benefits of automated hotel communication

Source: WebBookingPro

On top of that, enhancing guest communication benefits your staff as well.

Think about it: not having to manually respond to frequently asked questions each time minimizes human error that comes with the manual approach, and automates this repetitive task, leaving your staff with more time for in-person communication.

In our book, that is a win for both you and your guests, so consider automating your guest communication.

Conclusion 

We hope that this article has successfully illustrated just how beneficial automation can be—not only for you and your staff, but for your guests as well.

If you actively listen to what your guests need and want, you can invest in the right automation solutions and bring the experience of staying at your hotel to a new level.

So provide them with convenience, personalized experiences, and easy access to key information—it’s bound to leave a lasting positive impression and keep them coming back.

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