The convenience of communicating, ordering, and paying with only a mobile device is now the way of the world. Self-service technology is on the rise across industries, and the hospitality space is no different. What does this mean for hotels and the guest experiences?
A recent study has shown that 73% of travelers would like to manage hotel stays through their devices. This would encompass several do-it-yourself services from checking in and out to room service requests.
The role of self-service technology
We understand this push for the latest and greatest technology, specifically when it comes to self-service. The recent pandemic has certainly shifted more customers into this preference, given the new need for minimal contact. At Narsi, we had to adapt our operations to create a space that not only felt comfortable but also safe for guests.
Though we gave guests the ability to bypass certain face-to-face interactions, we still maintained the option to speak with our staff: we want to ensure that we are constantly providing the comfort, assurance, and human connection we stand by.
Beyond the pandemic, there are a lot of opportunities for hotels to use self-service technology. The key is that they must identify the specific needs of the traveler. How many mobile apps are just sitting unused on our smartphones everyday? This technology must focus on what guests will actually utilize when they visit.
We have considered many avenues of technology to enhance the guest experience: the keyword being enhance. Offerings such as digital keys, mobile communications, room item controls, and service requests are functional assets that we feel enhance a guest’s overall stay.
Prioritizing the guest experience
Self-service technology is great, creating many opportunities for the guests who desire and embrace the functionality. However, it cannot and should not fully replace the hospitality provided by humanity.
“As an industry, this could be a slippery slope,” admits VP of Operations Chris Ardolino when it comes to the rise of self-serve technology. In an industry like hospitality, our associates really make the biggest impact through personal interaction.
You will rarely hear a family member, colleague, or friend beam about the awesome self check-in kiosk at a hotel. They will, however, almost always mention a positive human connection. Replacing too many people with technology will ultimately scrub the hospitality experience down to the least common denominator. Hospitality is a service behavior; it is essential to the experience of travel.
At the end of the day, we are all for making our hotel stays as efficient and convenient for guests as possible. Though this technology may be increasing, human connection will always remain important.
About the authors
Narsi Properties is a private family-owned Hotel Development & Management company based in North Carolina. Founded in 1978 on principles of trust, authenticity, and family, we take pride in our community, guests, and team members as the cornerstones of our company values. Our philosophy of positive reinforcement ensures a comfortable and unique experience for hotel guests, in turn reassuring our investors and stakeholders of our consistent reliability and superior performance.