Pandemic has turned hospitality upside down. Guests are spooked about exposure risk. They prefer contactless interactions, preferring to use their mobile devices to interact with the hotel staff. In a very short span of time, Guest Messaging has become essential.
Here are the 5 common mistakes we see hoteliers make when choosing a Guest Messaging platform:
Taking guest requests in a contactless form is very important. What’s even more important is to deliver on the request.
ANYBODY CAN JUST TAKE THEM
A promise for early check in can turn sour if the front desk does not have visibility in the room cleaning status in real time. Or if a pressing maintenance request for a guest is not turned into a work order with trackability. For all this and more, you need a Service Delivery platform.
The mistake is having two separate apps, one for Guest Messaging and another for Service Delivery. The integrations promised by these separate vendors rarely work. So, the issues fall through the cracks. The staff is left overwhelmed, juggling between the two apps, never sure if all the issues are handled properly.
Done right, Guest Messaging reduces the cost of communication with guests. The same guest who would have called and held up the line earlier is now being handled in a less reactive fashion by the staff. That means the same staff can handle more guest requests. Right?
Hotels that use a standalone Guest Messaging system frequently see a build up of a backlog of guest requests, unable to deliver on them in a timely manner. And so either they give up on Guest Messaging or use it sparingly either by not sending proactive messages or turning off guest chat from their website. Just because you can not hear them does not mean the problems have gone away.
Guest Messaging is a new technology, thrust upon hoteliers during the pandemic. It can be confusing to have to wade through all the vendors. One shortcut is to go with whatever is being recommended by the hotel’s brand or the PMS. They forget it is a recommendation not a requirement. And in most cases, it is based on what is expedient for the brand/PMS, not what is best for your property.
“I love chatting with a bot” — said no one. AI is a wonderful technology that should be used to enhance guest experience, not to beat guests into submission with robotic responses from an AI chatbot.
Any vendor that claims AI as the panacea, you should run from. AI as an assistant is good, AI to fend off all your guests to limit guest interactions is bad.
Entering guest data from your PMS into a Guest Messaging solution is tedious. Fortunately many modern PMS provide APIs that Guest Messaging solutions can use to do away with this step. If your PMS has no API or restricts their APIs to favored vendors, it is time to look for a different PMS. Lock-in is bad for your hotel and pandemic is a good time to switch to a solution that works for you.
Guest Messaging exists within your hotel operations ecosystem. When choosing a Guest Messaging solution, make sure you are thinking holistically.
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