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5 Ways Boutique Hotels Can Improve the Guest Experience Through Technology

Boutique hotel owners know the value of providing a quality guest experience; it’s one of their main selling points. But an increasingly competitive ...

Boutique hotel owners know the value of providing a quality guest experience; it’s one of their main selling points. But an increasingly competitive market and changing guest expectations mean hoteliers must go the extra mile to book guests. There is a lot of information out there about how technology can improve business operations, but don’t forget, it can have a big impact on your guests, too. Technology can boost your guest experience in various ways such as using data to create more personalized stays, optimizing operations to allow staff to focus more on guests, and empowering guests to customize their environment.

Here are five ways you can leverage technology to improve your guest experience.

1. Interactive Guest Portal

COVID-19 changed guest expectations in many ways, and one of the more prominent ones was the desire for contactless tech. Guests had more control over their information and reservations than ever before as hotels quickly implemented digital systems that could replace the need for front desk staff during the height of the pandemic. Not surprisingly, the desire for this technology remains high. Interactive guest portals put the guest in control with options to view their personal information, manage their reservation information, message staff, make payments, and even conduct self-check-in and check-out. 

2. Create a Customized Loyalty Program

Hoteliers know that the best guest is the one who keeps coming back. In addition to providing excellent service, another way to entice returns is through a guest loyalty program. Keep your brand top-of-mind as travelers plan their next trip by offering rewards like special rates, complimentary room upgrades, and discounts on popular services. Take rewards one step further by leveraging data from past stays to create curated offers. Are they fans of the hotel bar? Offer a drink on the house. Did they upgrade their room on a previous visit? Give them a discount on a future upgrade.

3. Get More Face-Time with Customers with Automation

Technology can’t replace face-to-face interactions, but it can be used to automate operations and give your staff more time for customers. The more efficient use of the face-time available is especially important for boutique hotels since guests often come for a more personal experience. Options for contactless check-in can shorten lines at the front desk, while software-like property management systems can automate administrative tasks and provide real-time information on room availability.

4. Content Streaming

In a recent guest survey, the number one technology guests want to see in the future is access to on-demand entertainment. Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max have become content staples for most of the population. With algorithms that curate a feed of shows and movies catered to your exact tastes, it’s not surprising that guests would rather access the same content they enjoy at home rather than channel surf. 

5. IoT Devices

It’s no secret that we live in an increasingly connected world. Now, not only are we connected, but our appliances are, too. Smart devices, also referred to as IoT (Internet of Things) devices, refer to machines or appliances with internet connectivity. And they are becoming increasingly common, allowing users to automate and control various aspects of their environment through their smartphone or voice assistant. A survey from PwC reported that 70% of hotel executives already have active IoT projects, a percentage far ahead of other industries.

As far as the guest experience goes, IoT devices can allow guests to further customize their stay to their personal preferences and make things feel more like home. For example, guests can set their thermostat from their phone while away, so things are at the perfect temperature when they return. In-room voice assistants like Alexa can turn off lights, call the front desk, and even order room service.

Providing a stellar guest experience is the heart and soul of the boutique hotel industry. Where larger chains focus on recreating the same experience hundreds of times, boutique hotels put their energies into creating unique ones for each guest. Technologies that can help deliver that personal and attentive feel are a smart — and necessary — investment.

About the Author – Equipped with a decade of experience in hospitality branding, Emily Teachout directs strategic initiatives, manages internal teams, and spearheads public relations to drive engagement and awareness as marketing brand manager for Solonis.

Solonis is a premier partner member of BLLA – view their listing here!

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