What is a Digital Hotel? (And how to digitize yours?)

Digital transformation has changed every single industry over the past few decades!

Businesses have adapted and evolved to stay relevant, and they’ve improved their customer service in the process. 

Hospitality is perhaps one of the biggest industries that can be revolutionized by technology, especially in the post-pandemic world. Digital hotels are the future. 

Let’s have a look at what digital hotel means and how to dip your toe in the pool: 

What is a digital hotel and why are they important?

A digital hotel uses technology to streamline its operations, making for a smoother and enjoyable experience for guests and staff alike. And as the hotel industry recovers and rebuilds after the pandemic, there are a number of digital processes that can be introduced into daily operations.

Hotel technology can be implemented across all departments to:

  • Enhance guest experience
  • Streamline internal operations
  • Manage COVID-19 cleaning and protocols
  • Facilitate easy communication between staff and guests

Even simple processes like staff messaging apps or mobile check-in for guests can make a huge difference in the hotel experience. 

Let’s face it: unless you’ve marketed your hotel as a digital detox getaway, guests expect a certain level of technology from you.

6 ways to digitize your processes and systems

1. Mobile check-in

Most airports allow passengers to check-in to flights online, and many fast-food restaurants have introduced digital ordering screens for customers. Why not apply the same principle to hotels?

It could mean guests check into their room via a tablet in the lobby, or by scanning a QR code on their phone. Then extend the digital experience to the rooms, by giving guests the convenience of ordering room service through an app rather than by calling. Business Insider found that hotel guests typically spend 20% more when ordering via mobile.

As a bonus, introducing app processes reduces physical contact, keeping your staff and guests safe. 

2. Keep track of guests’ preferences

It’s a nice feeling when your local barista remembers your name and coffee order –– people love personalization! Keep an online database of your guests and their preferences so that you can deliver them the same service on their next visit without them having to ask. 

Note things like the drinks they order on room service, if they’ve requested extra pillows or towels, or even personal info like their occupation or family. Nothing too in-depth, but just enough that you can welcome them back with a smile and a special touch.

3. Digital rooms

The Sinclair Hotel in Fort Worth has revolutionized the digital hotel industry. One thing guests love most about the rooms is that they are completely automated. Everything is controlled by a smartphone app: room temperature controls, lights, window shades, and even the shower temperature. 

Plus, guests can save their favorite settings to use next time they check-in, or the next time they visit a hotel with the same software. It’s the little conveniences like this that can really make a guest’s hotel stay a little more comfortable. 

4. Digital keys

How many times have guests come to the front desk because they’ve misplaced their key? Do away with this problem entirely by introducing digital keys into your property. 

Rather than having a physical key or card, guests can access their rooms by using the digital key on your phone, typically made possible with Bluetooth. Rather than having to check-in manually, the guest receives an alert when the room is ready and they can enter it instantly with the app. 

5. Give guests a direct channel to staff

Almost every hotel guest will have a question during their stay –– breakfast hours, bar recommendations, the fitness centre location. A communication platform makes it super easy for every single guest to get in touch with staff, without even having to leave their bed. 

Data from 2019 shows that 65% of hotel guests want staff to be available and contactable via instant messaging communications –– a number which has no doubt only gone up in the last three years.

Many hotels have introduced digital services for guests, where they can send any questions or comments through a chatbot on their phones, and receive an immediate response from staff. This level of convenience can be a real game-changer for your guests. 

6. Streamline staff communication

There’s nothing worse than a team of staff that is out of the loop. There needs to be constant communication between all the teams in a hotel, regardless of its size. As you well know, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to keeping a hotel running smoothly –– and communication is key!

Long gone are the days of pen and paper or walkie-talkies. We’re in the 21st century, so it’s time to embrace digital communication for your hotel staff. A platform or app like HelloShift lets every single staff member see important information at a glance, whether it’s a change in the housekeeping schedule, or a VIP arrival. 

How to get started with digitizing your hotel

HelloShift is an integrated app providing tools for hotel staff and managers to digitize their operations. The easy-to-use platform, designed with an interface similar to Facebook, allows for easy communication between staff, and a streamlined guest messaging tool.

Of course, we haven’t forgotten about housekeeping, the most expensive and intricate operation. Our housekeeping management app will revolutionize the way your staff works, with simple functionality and interfaces that show all vital information at a glance. 
Interested to see how it could all work in your hotel? Get in touch today for a free demo!

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