Enriching The Guest Experience
13th February 2020
by Julie Grieve, Criton's Founder and CEO
Over the last decade, developments in technology have transformed the way in which we research, book and share travel experiences. As new technologies and new ways to use them are being explored, the hospitality sector is now waking up to the opportunities for enriching the guest experience.
In-room technologies in the form of environmental controls and immersive entertainment systems are gaining traction, but hoteliers and accommodation providers could be a lot bolder. Through the simple use of technology, it is possible to enhance the personalisation, authenticity and the perfect guest experience that today’s travellers both demand and expect as standard.
What’s more, these technological innovations no longer come with a huge price tag.
Today’s travellers are tech-savvy consumers. They are used to finding exactly what they want at the touch or swipe of a smartphone or tablet. These consumers increasingly expect their hotel and serviced apartment providers to know their booking history and what they, personally, want during their stay. Delivering this level of service to guests is critical.
Extracting customer insights from data and aggregating this in a meaningful way is becoming increasingly accessible and is the key to ensuring the hospitality sector provides the level of personalisation that modern travellers now demand.
At the same time, the technology to engage with guests (near and far; before, during and after their stay) and deliver the fruits of this data analysis is now mainstream - the ubiquitous mobile app. We all have them and every traveller travels with his own smartphone. The branded apps Criton builds integrate with booking systems, in-app messaging, push notifications for upselling and easy advocacy.
With an intuitive and attractive interface, concierge apps provide huge opportunities for hospitality owners to engage with guests and we’ve only just seen the start.
Responsible operators and conscious travellers
More than ever, travellers are mindful of their impact on the world. Following campaigns including those by David Attenborough and the TV show Blue Planet, customers have been challenging businesses to act more sustainably. This year, we will see this going one step further with the emergence of ‘conscious travel’.
Travellers are increasingly aware of their impact on the lives of the people who live in the destination they are visiting in addition to the environment which surrounds them. Doing the right thing leads to a more enjoyable experience. So, as well as making a conscious effort to go on eco-friendly tours and choosing operators who can demonstrate good environmental practice, travellers will be spending their money in ways that benefit the local economy and community, such as buying local produce from local traders.
Tourists are increasingly likely to opt for hotel and serviced apartment operators who champion local people and products, providing an opportunity for differentiation. This level of authenticity can be delivered through ‘personal’ recommendations and sharing local knowledge.
We now have the ‘experience economy’, with consumers increasingly opting to indulge in memorable experiences in favour of investing in luxury items. This does not simply mean a ‘once in a lifetime’ holiday, but it also means customising hotel or holiday accommodation experiences, from trips to the unexpected act of kindness or exceptional service.
With the ‘experience economy’ also comes the need to share stories with others. It is imperative to be alert to this trend and be an active (rather than a passive) partner, making it easy for guests to upload their images on social media. The likes of Instagram are vitally important to showcase accommodation to future guests and will continue to be so for some time.
Much of these emerging trends can be harnessed through proactive management, but success increasingly requires the deployment of technology – for delivering information, offering services and encouraging reviews – and mobile, once more, is at the heart of everything. New cloud-based services also make these technologies well within the reach of the independent hoteliers and smaller operators.
There is huge opportunity to embrace technology in new ways to engage with guests and visitors, providing them with local stories, offers on their doorstep and the best shareable experiences. It is just about being bold enough to make the move and then making sure you maximise the advantage.
How Criton can help you
Criton is an award-winning technology provider which enables hotels and serviced apartment operators to take the guest experience to the next level with a sophisticated mobile app. Criton helps hotels to streamline the entire guest journey and maximise in-stay revenue. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.