Feature: The Connection Game

Posted under Interviews & Features.
by Patrick Ryan | Published 9 months ago

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Frederick Sabty, vice president of Hospitality Solutions, Avaya International on how upgrading communications can empower employees and enhance the guest experience…

Frederick Sabty

Frederick Sabty

As the popular Maître d’hôtel, Fred Sirieix, quintessentially described the art of service, “If you get the hospitality right, the food tastes better”. This can also be said about the hotel guest experience. Once you get the hospitality right, a night in your hotel becomes much more memorable.

For today’s hyper-connected guests, getting the hospitality right increasingly means delivering a digitalised experience. The opportunities to create memorable experiences before check-in, during a guest’s stay, and even after the guest has left the property are all owned by hotel employees – they just need to have the right tools to innovate.

Based on findings from our recent GCC Customer Experience in Hospitality Survey, Avaya has determined three ways hotels can empower employees to deliver memorable experiences throughout their guests’ hotel stay.

Facilitate communication beyond phone and email

With GCC countries having some of the world’s highest smartphone penetration rates, it comes as no surprise that 89 per cent of GCC travellers say they use hotel mobile apps for a variety of tasks.

Today’s travellers also prefer to book their rooms digitally, with respondents selecting online travel agents (OTA), hotel websites, and hotel apps as their top three preferred booking methods, emphasising the importance of supporting multichannel communications within the hotel booking process. Global OTAs such as Trivago and Hotels.com have already started to offer Arabic language platforms aimed at attracting this growing digital population of the region.

Upgrade your in-room experience

Many properties feature outdated in-room devices that are only capable of connecting guests to basic services, such as the hotel reception. Smart devices connected through the IoT, however, provide a much wider range of functions that enable guests to not only communicate better, but to control their environment, too. Today four in 10 hotel guests in the GCC expect to control in-room hotel amenities such as entertainment, lighting and temperature from their room phone. Beyond this, 36% of guests would like to use the phone to engage with hotel staff via chat and messaging apps, not just over voice.

Integrate mobile into daily workflows

Empowering hotel employees with unified communications and collaboration solutions on the go is one of the highest-impact drivers in building a superior guest experience. After all, rarely do hotel employees stay in one spot, and yet they constantly need to be in contact with each other.

The solution here is integration. For instance, putting a call on hold from a distressed guest, trying to locate a missing item, may be the only thing that a services agent with limited communications capabilities can do. Imagine if that guest is about to board a flight, and the agent has a limited amount of time to contact hotel security.

Upgraded communications tools and mobile apps could simultaneously connect the guest with the security lead on the property, who in turn would find the lost item while the guest remains on the call or chat. Not only will this prompt the guest to leave a positive-review online, but the hotel will also grow their brand equity. This is what guests are willing to pay a premium for.

Getting the guest experience right is vital, with 44% of GCC consumers saying they wouldn’t give a hotel a second chance in the event of bad service.

Keeping Up

For GCC’s hyper-connected guests, seamless service is a must if hotels want to boost their revenue per-available room (RevPAR) rates.

Keeping up with the rapidly developing digital world and meeting the demands of today’s guests is more straight forward than it may seem.

The goal should always be to greet guests at their convenience, personalize their stay and create unique moments they will recall when they need a place away from home. A significant part of that involves empowering employees to be agile and equipping your property with streamlined communications solutions.

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