You've arrived on a late flight that was delayed, the taxi driver got lost and now it's after midnight and all you want to do is check into your hotel and get some sleep. The last thing you want is to walk into a hotel lobby and see an empty check-in desk or a grumpy clerk.
As a hotel owner you know that providing your guests with the best experience is the way to keep them coming back, and keeping your current customers is always less expensive and more rewarding than chasing down new ones. That's where the Internet of Things, or IoT, comes in.
In this blog post, guest blogger Emma Burton shares with you the benefits of embracing IoT and how it can improve your guests' experiences and keep them coming back to your hotel.
Kiosk service is booming
Check at any airport or car rental location and you'll already know kiosk service is the future of quick and efficient customer interactions. Take your kiosk wireless with a strong partner because you can't afford technology that creates difficulty instead of ease. Using kiosks at check-in means that your customer data is more accurate because the customer is entering their own information. Difficult last names and transposed addresses are a thing of the past. That's especially true when you allow connectivity to guests' phones so they can check-in and even unlock their rooms all with their smartphones.
You can use kiosks to offer upgrades that your staff may sometimes fail to offer. More importantly, most customers would rather interact with technology than a live person. It's less stressful and doesn't require any conversation after a rough day of travel. Plus, kiosks can be set up to offer check-in and services in several languages so your customers never have to worry about communication challenges.
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Auto-adjusting devices keep guests comfortable
Far beyond a comfortable check-in, IoT means you can use devices that will keep your customers comfortable throughout their stay. With smart lighting, the interior lights automatically adjust based on the amount of natural light available. Guests can return to their rooms after a long day and know that the lights will already have turned up for their arrival. It creates a feeling of safety knowing that hallways and rooms will be appropriately lit.
Smart thermostats provide many of the same benefits. Of course, you can use them in guest rooms and link the temperature to proposed arrival time and guest schedules but also think about their benefit if you provide catering and convention services. Thermostats that can adjust based on occupancy and adjust the temperature are invaluable in rooms that quickly fill up and heat up. It will also save money when large rooms are empty and the temperature is automatically raised to save HVAC costs.
In-room TV's connect guests to your offerings
Finally, upgrade to connected Smart TVs to give your guests easy access to all of your offerings in a sleek, updated look. Smart TVs allow customers to connect to or stream their own digital streaming subscriptions. Often TVs are a comfort item for guests. They don't want to watch channels with which they aren't familiar, perhaps in languages, they don't speak. When you can make your hotel feel a little more like home, you'll have a repeat customer. In fact, 40% of people in a survey of hospitality technology said that streaming to a Smart TV was one of the key factors in choosing a place to stay.
Beyond providing comforting entertainment, your Smart TV setup provides further branding and marketing opportunities. Make guests aware of amenities through your in-house channel. Allow guests to make reservations for your restaurant or spa through the TV.
When you invest in the hardware that makes the Internet of Things possible, there are important safety considerations. If your power goes out, will guests be able to check-in and access their rooms? Backup generators and alternative energy sources have become more important than ever before. It's also important to think about the bandwidth all this connectivity will require. Simply adding more "things" without adding wireless bandwidth is a recipe disaster.
Guests already complain about slow internet connectivity in hotels and you don't want to make it worse. Finally, have consideration for older guests who want live interaction and find technology threatening. Only by giving everyone a comfortable way to interact with your business will you find the widest audience.
|Emily Burton is a freelance writer with years of experience in digital marketing. From working for large agencies to running her own, she has lots of advice and tips to offer. She writes about social media management, email marketing, paid advertising, and other fields of digital marketing.|
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