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Adding a Guest Experience Management Mobile App is Aiding the Labor Crisis | By Thomas Zarikian – Hospitality Net

In today’s world there is an app for almost anything, and one can’t deny that apps have greatly simplified our lives. Just think of how many apps you’ve used today! Some you may even deem essential to your daily professional life. Yet, for some reason, it seems the hotel industry has fallen behind in adopting the technology and leveraging the increased productivity that apps bring. Contrast that with the airline industry, which is at the forefront of technology; you can basically book a ticket, and fly from one place to the next all within an airline’s app. If you try to do all that for a hotel — even with some of the big chain hotels — you may be in for a wild ride in dealing with multiple apps for different things and gaps in between. So why is this happening with the hotel industry?
Let me explain. As an active hotelier, I understand our industry’s struggles in adopting technology. There may be one hotel app for each service, but there seems to be no single app for many services. We must deal with many providers and then figure out how App-A connects and interacts with App-B and play the role of a digital Dr. Frankenstein to build the app they need. This is usually frustrating for guests as well.
Following the Airline example above, just imagine if you had to book your flight through one app, then jump onto another to select your seat or upgrade to first class, another to check your flight status and then to another to see whether your bag arrived. Additionally, the cost of entry is extremely high since technology providers for hotels are usually very costly upfront. Finally, trying to get a big brand, an owner, and a management company to all agree on what step to take just adds to the challenge. So, it would seem, that trying out new technology in our industry has been left for a few willing risk takers.
Add to this challenge that fact that in today’s new normal, with employees failing to return to work after being laid off during the pandemic, hoteliers are being forced to operate with a permanently smaller workforce while paying higher wages to attract new talent with little to no experience. Labor costs are going up, while the demand for rooms hasn’t fully recovered, so we are all feeling the pinch. We need to find a way to reduce our labor costs while becoming more efficient in our operations and emerge as an employer of choice for the new labor pool. Going high-tech may be the best bet.
In our case, as an independent brand, we needed technology even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic to help us operate better and stay ahead in guest satisfaction. We don’t have a big brand behind us that we can allow a few too many slip-ups and still get demand for rooms. We really needed to impress our clients to stay ahead of the competition. At the time, no technology existed that met our immediate needs, and those available that came close were simply too expensive. So, stepping away from a hotch-potch of apps, we took it upon ourselves to develop our own comprehensive technology. We created a web-based mobile app that facilitates everything in the full guest experience cycle from reservation to reviewTM, while requiring no app download and placing guest request task management and guest messaging at the core.
Here are five ways our proprietary guest experience web app is helping our global hotels operate more efficiently and encouraging employees to engage:
Hoteliers’ contemplating adding a guest-facing app to their 2022 mobile strategy should bear this in mind: it’s not enough to just have an app . . . your staff must be willing to embrace it. That’s why the easier an app is to adopt, the better the results will be. We found task orientation to be the key to engagement. It requires little-to-no training and provides the heightened support that today’s inexperienced staff requires. Better yet, it is tested daily in our hotel environment and improved upon routinely.
In general, mobile apps make life easier for everyone. They streamline booking, showcase the property and brand, upsell onsite services, promote upgrades, encourage extended stays, drive food and beverage revenues, collect guest request data, capture reviews, and build loyalty. Hoteliers can no longer ignore investing in mobile apps because travelers not only expect them, but the apps are fast becoming part of the criteria by which some travelers select one hotel over another. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study, 70 percent of respondents say they will only choose a hotel has positive online reviews; 53 percent want to stay at a hotel that enables them to make reservations from a mobile device; 47 percent want to check in/out via their mobile device; 42 percent will select a hotel has a mobile app vs. one that does not, 40 percent want to unlock their room door using their mobile phone (available via the web app), and 36 percent want to stay where they can text or “chat” with the hotel using their mobile phones.
Due to the success that our brand is having with this proprietary app, we want to share it with other brands and independent operators. As the world slowly returns to normal and travelers re-enter our doors, we must have an adequate labor supply to provide the service levels expected. Anyone looking for a web app designed with hotel employees in mind that meets guest expectations and lowers costs, and that is modular, affordable, and extremely easy to use, is encouraged to reach out today.
Barbara Worcester
+1 440 930 5770
Guesthub by Norelian LLC
Hospitality Net membership explained


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