Recently, I was staying at an independent hotel in NYC that was utilizing self-service kiosks in their lobby. When I arrived, the hotel was extremely busy, but the front desk agent was free to move around and interact with people because most of the guests opted for self-check-in at the kiosk. When I asked the agent if there was a business center I could use to take a private call, she took the time to personally walk me to the space since it would have been difficult for me to find on my own. While we were walking, she struck up a conversation and recommended a couple of cozy restaurants in the area that I could visit for lunch. I ended up going to an Italian restaurant across the street from the hotel and had some of the best penne pasta and best tiramisu I’ve ever had in my life. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience, and I walked away feeling like this was the essence of what great hospitality was meant to be.
I share this experience with such detail because it highlights how hotels can use high technology and warm human interactions to elevate service and promote customer loyalty. Dr. Barbara Frederickson, a psychologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, coined the term "micro-moments" to describe small instances of shared positive emotions with others, especially with strangers and acquaintances. Although the concept of "micro-moments" has wide applications in the fields of psychology and sociology, it can also be used to show how one-time guests can be turned into lifelong customers and passionate advocates for your brand. In this article, we will discuss three ways mobile technology can support and enhance micro-moments in the guest experience. These methods include empowering staff, promoting engagement, and creating smooth and seamless guest experiences.
Give Staff the Bandwidth They Need to Forge Genuine Connections with Guests
Nobody goes into hospitality to do paperwork, and no one can deliver exceptional service if they are buried in their screens or administrative forms. Conversely, the front desk agent in my recent story was able to deliver exceptional service because she didn’t have to take the time to manually check in dozens of impatient customers. By investing in a PMS with a guest-facing kiosk that could largely automate check-in, the hotel was able to provide a fast and seamless welcome experience for guests while giving staff the bandwidth to truly engage with their guests.Of course, a modern PMS can automate much more than just check-in: Mobile PMS platforms offer powerful automation capabilities, effectively managing repetitive administrative tasks, while mobile communication facilitates seamless coordination between the front and back of the house, providing real-time updates on room availability and customized task lists and work orders for housekeeping and maintenance. To further streamline operations, hotels can integrate with a mobile guest messaging system, enabling staff to handle inquiries and requests from multiple guests via their preferred messaging app. By incorporating AI chatbots, hotels can optimize staff availability by delegating simpler or routine queries to automated assistants. This leaves staff members free to focus on delivering the types of micro-moments that will drive guest loyalty.
Avoid Technology That Restricts Hospitality
Unfortunately, the limitations of traditional on-site PMS platforms hinder staff from effectively fostering micro-moments. These legacy systems confine staff behind a formidable front desk, creating a literal physical barrier between them and their guests. Furthermore, the complex and convoluted interfaces of traditional PMS platforms often overwhelm staff, forcing them to be absorbed in their screens, making it arduous to exhibit the necessary empathy and responsiveness required for micro-moments.
In contrast, mobile and flexible PMS platforms are designed to empower staff and encourage greater engagement with guests. By running on tablets, mobile PMS platforms liberate staff to freely move around the lobby, meeting guests where they are instead of expecting guests to come to them. These modern mobile interfaces incorporate psychological principles to promote intuitive and user-friendly experiences. Rather than cramming an excessive number of features into cluttered screens filled with perplexing jargon and abbreviations, modern mobile platforms adopt clear interface designs and plain language, enabling users to effortlessly accomplish their tasks and objectives. By significantly reducing employee training time, these contemporary user interfaces allow staff to devote more attention to their guests and less time to their screens.
Strive for a Frictionless and Personalized Guest Experience
The fundamental principle of sales and marketing, "know thy customer," has always emphasized the importance of hotel staff being highly attuned to the habits and preferences of each guest. This level of understanding enables staff to anticipate guest needs even before they are explicitly expressed. We now have the opportunity to harness technology to uncover insights about our guests that were previously untapped. By blending the power of human connection with technological advancements, we can create a profound understanding of our guests, fostering micro-moments that exceed their expectations and leave a lasting positive impression.
As the "heart" and "memory" of the hotel technology ecosystem, a mobile PMS stores comprehensive guest profiles encompassing stay data, purchase history, housekeeping information, and specific preferences. This data can be integrated with other platforms, such as a CRM, to add more nuanced information like loyalty status and travel preferences. Leveraging this wealth of data allows for targeted messaging and personalized offers and gives your staff the ability to anticipate guest needs before they have to express them.Integrating with a comprehensive payment facilitation solution can further personalize the guest journey while eliminating much of the friction surrounding purchasing. Modern unified commerce payment services streamline transactions by allowing guests to pay how and where they want, including by credit, local currency, digital wallet, or tap-to-pay. Modern payment systems also leverage Merchant Initiated Transactions (MITs) and tokenization to eliminate the need to repeatedly enter payment information, allowing guests to make payments with a single click. Tokenization can also contribute to a highly detailed guest profile that spans devices, properties, and touchpoints. Combining a mobile PMS with tokenized payment facilitates an increasingly hyper-personalized experience throughout the guest journey, fostering exceptional micro-moments.
Conclusion: Leverage Micro-Moments to Earn Lifetime Customers and Advocates
By crafting exceptional experiences throughout the guest journey, you can foster a strong emotional connection that drives customer loyalty and advocacy. When guests feel genuinely cared for and their needs are anticipated before they even express them, they develop a deep sense of satisfaction and loyalty. Satisfied guests are more likely to become passionate advocates, sharing their positive experiences through reviews, social media posts, and word-of-mouth recommendations. These micro-moments, driven by genuine care and attention to detail, lead to an increase in customer loyalty, which, in turn, attracts new travelers seeking similar remarkable experiences. This virtuous cycle creates a strong brand reputation, higher occupancy rates, and increased revenue per room, ultimately contributing to the long-term success of your hotel.
Stayntouch delivers a cloud-native and guest-centric hotel property management system (PMS) with a comprehensive library of over 1,100 integrations. Stayntouch's cloud-native PMS empowers independent hotels, hotel groups, and management companies to drive revenue, reduce costs, enhance service, and captivate their guests. In 2022, Stayntouch launched Stayntouch 2.0, a fully integrated technology suite featuring its core cloud-native PMS and guest kiosk solution, a comprehensive chain management module, a seamless booking engine (Stayntouch Booking), a robust payment processing platform (Stayntouch Pay), and a powerful channel manager. Stayntouch 2.0 enables hotels to streamline their operations, maximize and diversify their revenue streams, and deliver an even more enhanced guest experience with the innovation and support of one trusted technology partner. Stayntouch is supported by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry and is a trusted partner to industry-leading management companies including Sage Hospitality, HEI Hotels & Resorts, and EOS Hospitality, innovative independent brands such as Village Hotels, Pod Hotels, and First Hotels, and iconic flagship properties such as the TWA Hotel, Showboat Hotel Atlantic City, and Zoku Amsterdam. For more information, visit www.stayntouch.com.