Mobile is not new to the hospitality experience. In the past, we have seen it used in hotels to track rewards and loyalty points as well as assist in check-ins. Similarly, in restaurants, mobile has also been used to track loyalty and used as both a reservation and payment systems. But in the coming year, mobile will become more powerful in your overall hospitality experience by becoming more integrated into customer service.
As mobile continues to dominate, businesses are realizing that a stand alone digital presence, whether online or in an app, is not effective if not integrated into the customer experience. Successful companies have figured out innovative ways to utilize mobile to drive customer satisfaction. Mobile is emerging less as a specific device or app and more as a tool to make life more streamlined for businesses and customers.
For the hospitality industry, especially hotels and restaurants, this full integration of mobile is also helpful to drive improved efficiency. No longer viewed solely a marketing tool to reach customers, mobile has become a strong tool for increasing effectiveness of all employees. Below, we look specifically at hotels and restaurants to see some examples of where this potential is being explored.
Hotels evolve with self-service lobbies and check-ins
The traditional model of a hotel check-in desk is changing to better align with the times. As a majority of people are now comfortable using a smartphone or tablet, it seems only natural that hotels would add this to the check-in process. For business travelers with limited time, this option is most likely preferred. It also reduces the often physical barrier between customer and staff. Finally, a customer kiosk with a digital check-ins frees up hotel staff to be utilized in other areas.
One challenge that remains with this new approach is how to maintain a welcoming environment in the lobby so guests aren’t just greeted with a wall of soulless technology. Several chains have made innovative strides to creating a more welcoming lobby. In particular, Andaz Maui hotel has installed a sandpit and friendly furniture to balance their self-service lobby.
Restaurants bet on tablets to take your order
Another way mobile is making itself relevant is in restaurants through the automaton of the ordering process. Again, most customers are used to using their mobile device on a daily basis and also expect to use it in restaurants too. Having a tablet at each table in a fast casual restaurant can help fulfill that need in multiple ways.
Customers can order food, play games and even pay their bill in a hurry. For the restaurant, this allows them to service more tables with less staff and turn around those tables more quickly, all while improving customer satisfaction. This solution does have some controversy associated with the possible loss of service-industry jobs, but these technologies are unlikely to completely eradicate the need for a human presence at a restaurant, they will simply make the process easier for customers and efficient for restaurants.
Technology, and certainly mobile, has the power to impact all aspect of business. Find out how we can help you get the most out of mobile. Contact us.