Going to work doesn’t mean what it used to anymore.
With the advent of COVID-19, getting to the office changed overnight from a daily commute to a daily walk from the bedroom to the kitchen table and a well-connected laptop. For those who were lucky enough to be able to, working from home became the only way to continue earning a paycheck in the middle of pandemic lockdowns and shutdowns.
Of course, not every profession is as easily conducive to such remote arrangements as others, and some businesses have had to make fundamental changes to the way they operate on a day-to-day basis (if they’ve been able to stay open at all).
Restaurants, of course, have suffered major COVID-related consequences. Hotels have been major casualties as well, with many closing and others maintaining a barebones staff for first responders, family members visiting loved ones and truck drivers.
“Barebones” is the operative word where hotels are concerned.
In a time when travel is severely curtailed and profit margins are non-existent, it’s more important than ever to keep unnecessary staffing to a minimum in an industry that has historically required an on-site personal touch. Is there a way to manage your hotel at least somewhat remotely without compromising the quality of service provided to your guests?
The answer is yes.
The magic of technology
As little as ten years ago, much of what we’re talking about here would have seemed like science fiction. No matter how much we relegated things to computers, we still needed someone onsite to operate the computers. We still needed a person to respond to guest needs and requests in a timely manner.
Science marches on, though, and today, terms like cloud technology, artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, and virtual reality are thrown around in regular conversation.
Whether we think about them much or not, though, all of these things are tools that allow for improved, guest-pleasing hotel management in a world in which “contactless” has become the customer service watchword.
And not only is contactless service important in this time of COVID, it’s also become a convenience that customers have grown accustomed to—and one they’ll come to expect once the pandemic has come and gone.
Cloud-based Property Management System (PMS) software allows management to stay informed and in control of operations no matter where they may be. When it comes to bookings, tools like a channel manager help organize and automate dealings with third-party booking agencies such as Booking.com, Expedia, and more.
A booking engine on your own site allows guests to deal directly with you, saving significant money as you avoid the percentages charged by those third parties. And with your PMS, you can update information about your properties in one location and automatically update not only your own site, but the OTAs as well.
You also get remote, on-demand access to control and manage operations, giving you the ability to deal with everything from the booking request to invoicing, including Billing, Payments, Front Desk, Department Manager, and Reports.
Eliminate the waiting
Of course, the convenience isn’t just reserved for you. Using a mobile device in conjunction with your PMS, your guests can navigate every aspect of their stay, from check-in to reporting any problems or concerns that need to be addressed to ordering room service or extending their stay, all without the need to stand in line at the reception desk.
A concierge app or mobile-optimized website can help provide the contactless service that your guests want and need as COVID maintains its relentless hold on the world. And, at the same time, they can gather important information on booking trends, guest preferences, and more, while giving you the ability to send targeted special offers to increase repeat visits.
But bookings and guest services aren’t the only areas where technology can help you keep guests happy and safe. Contactless technology solutions like those from OneDine can help maximize your labor resources to efficiently and quickly serve customers with a leaner workforce and in a way that keeps everyone safer.
Patrons can order via their mobile device, without waiting for overworked wait staff to get to them. They can easily pay, split the check, or pay per item. They can do all this on their schedule and from the convenience of their room, table, poolside, your lobby—in short, anywhere on your property. That’s the kind of timely, safe service that will keep them coming back, while you maximize the return on your labor investment.
The OneDine platform can even use customer-entered profiles and purchasing histories to offer personalized offerings and menu suggestions tailored to each individual patron.
Rise to the challenge
In every challenge there is an opportunity. Take this opportunity to reevaluate the way you do business and attract and serve your guests, not only under these crisis circumstances, but going forward.
Just because you’re no longer able to do things the way you’ve always done them doesn’t mean there isn’t another better, more efficient way to do them. Make technology your friend. It’s there to help you get things done.