Graeme Kane, hospitality business development manager at Aruba Networks Middle East & Turkey offers tips on enabled features by technology that can wow guests.
A new breed of traveller is already playing a key role in shaping the travel industry in the Middle East. Millennials (aka #GenMobile) and their influence will continue to strengthen over the next decade.
By 2020, Millennials will represent over half of the total spend in this space. This continuously-connected, context-aware generation, places a high importance on personalisation and memorable experience in their travels. And they expect mobile technology to be their enabler.
Hotel chains are already responding to this shift in their customer base by creating or purchasing boutique brands to add to their portfolios.
Gen Y-focused brands have been created to meet the demands of millennials. These millennials want the latest technology to help them stay connected and engaged and expect hotel chains and other travel related industries to personalise their experiences through technology.
Over 70% say free Wi-Fi plays a key role in deciding where they book. So being able to provide the best possible experience, personalised with mobile engagement solutions, is critical.
Whilst filling rooms and getting as close as possible to 100% occupancy rates is vital, additional facilities like gyms, spas, bars, restaurants, cafes, business centres, shop utilisation rates are important as well. Their existence within the hotel is a sunk cost and their on-going maintenance an operational cost.
There is a way in which these cost streams can be turned into revenue streams by answering those five key questions: Who? What? Where? When? Why?
Today there is technology that allows hotels to identify who is entering the facility, what they are interested in (based on previous visits), where they are inclined to spend more time within the hotel property/resort, when they do certain activities, and most importantly, why they are taking these actions.
This type of information and data can help a hospitality programme manager build a relevant, customised loyalty programme that benefits the customer but also lowers maintenance costs in the back office for the company. The aim is to create an experience guests will write home about.
Below are some five-star features enabled by technology that hotels can use to wow their guests:
Stop handing out Wi-Fi logins on a piece of paper: Guests can be welcomed through a custom-branded captive web-portal where they can get secure Wi-Fi access while getting impressed with ads and special offers about the venue. It’s also where hotels can inspire them to download the venue’s custom mobile app.
Custom-branded mobile app: Venues come to life when guests use the hotel’s custom-branded mobile app. From the comfort of their smartphones, they can get turn-by-turn directions to amenities and relevant push-notification offers based on their opt-in preferences and real-time location.
Make staff mobile: Hotels can go wireless with a secure, PCI-compliant infrastructure that reliably handles mobile booking, check in, point-of-sale, housekeeping, maintenance, engineering and other property management apps.
Boost loyalty programmes: Who doesn’t enjoy VIP treatment? Hotels can reward guests with personalised push-notification offers based on their preferences and location on your property.
About the Author
Graeme is responsible for developing and executing strategies to expand Aruba’s customer base in the hospitality sector. Graeme has over 16 years of experience in the ICT Industry, specialising in telecommunications and networking. For the past eight years he has been based in UAE, working in hospitality and healthcare at Avaya.