Years ago, self-service emerged as a tactic to assist businesses in streamlining operations and providing guests with the opportunity to set their own expectations. Eliminating common manual errors while enabling contactless communication, self-serve options have quickly become a preference across the hotel industry. Yet while it continues to hold tremendous power, it’s critical that hotels understand how to empower guests to use self-serve tools at their disposal.
In this blog, we’re doing just that by taking a deeper look at self-service, the benefits it brings and how you can start mobilizing self-service in your hotel.
The Impact of Mobilizing Self-Service in Your Hotel
Mobilizing self-service can be defined in many ways, depending on your industry. In the context of hotels, it means using staff and technology to empower guests to make their own decisions.
Of course, when you think about encouraging guests to make their own decisions, a lot of benefits come to mind. Firstly, self-service gives the guest greater control of their experience. Whether it be checking in when they feel comfortable, booking excursions while they’re out for dinner, or changing room features before they arrive, self-service plays a key role in convenience and satisfaction.
Secondly, self-service allows for greater operational efficiency. Your staff will have less to do on the front-end and administrative tasks can be streamlined through intuitive technology. For example, you can eliminate a lengthy in-person check-in process through a self-serve tablet or mobile device. Your employees can then focus on other aspects of the hotel like inventory checks and lobby cleanliness, while the guest can fill out forms in their spare time.
In addition, self-service leaves less room for error and more room for satisfaction. If a customer is filling out a dinner order on an in-room kiosk, it’s less likely they’ll type it in wrong. The meal is delivered exactly as they ordered it and the guest is happy. This goes for check-in too, where manually, phone numbers or email addresses can easily be entered incorrectly.
Lastly, self-service allows hotels to collect valuable data directly from the customer. Imagine a customer ordering food over the phone. With manual order entry, you could miss the opportunity to document preferred food items or dietary restrictions. However, swap the phone with a self-serve tablet and you have a digital receipt of what they ordered. This can be used to identify favorite menu items, popular check-in times over time, and favored excursions. From an operational perspective, this streamlines requests but also enhances the experience for future guests.
How to Mobilize Self-Service in Your Hotel
It’s apparent that there are a lot of upsides to providing self-serve options. So, let’s explore how you can mobilize self-serve in your hotel.
Check-in is one of the easiest ways to incorporate self-service from the get-go. This could be in the form of an automated message you send via email or it could be a simple tablet kiosk on-site that guests can navigate themselves.
When providing a self-service option in the form of a message, make sure you’re communicating with the guest on their channel of choice. Further, you should be personalizing each message and be timely in response, should they reach out. The goal is to make the self-service option as easy as possible.
Don’t Forget To Up-Sell
With self-service, upselling becomes simplified. Whether on your tablet or through your guest message, you should be offering a simple way to upgrade your room or provide a coupon for dinner. Check-in is the perfect time to share your suite of offerings and make a great first impression.
Room Service & Ordering
When it comes to ordering room service, requesting more towels, or booking spa appointments, self-serve tools can be helpful to relieve a lot of stress. Since the customer is filling out the request themselves, there is less room for error and greater transparency on the backend.
When offering self-service ordering, consider an in-room tablet. It promotes self-service by eliminating key barriers like downloading an app or speaking with someone over the phone. Further, by using a solution like Volo, hotels can customize the look and feel of their interface to be more on-brand. They can additionally update menus and offerings across the enterprise while optimizing revenue through subtle upsells and push notifications.
Hotel and Excursion Information
For hoteliers, it’s common to feel overwhelmed with redundant requests. Similar to self-serve ordering, using an in-room tablet or kiosks strategically across your hotel, you can provide detailed information about your hotel and offerings.
For example, excursion information. A guest looking to book an activity can get frustrated fast if they have to wait in line at the concierge. Using a tablet with activity information displayed, a guest can easily and efficiently review what they want to do and what is included in the price. By providing self-serve options, the guest can feel empowered to get the information they need when they want.
Measuring the Experience For Continued Self-Service Improvement
Once you start implementing practices to promote self-service across your hotel, it’s time to track progress to uncover gaps and opportunities.
A great way to initiate the success of your self-service initiatives is to send a feedback survey. For instance, maybe your menu ordering has too many pop-ups or your check-in is hard to navigate. With a survey, you can get insight right from the guest to improve satisfaction and drive loyalty.
When crafting your survey keep data extraction top of mind. It’s important to incorporate a range of questions types; Probe ease of use with a customer effort score (CES) question type or measure the overall satisfaction with a customer satisfaction (CSAT) question. Pairing these with more open text field questions can provide your team with the insight needed to make a positive impression.
If you’re looking for a solution to help aid your feedback efforts, Loop Experience Platform is a comprehensive tool that seamlessly integrates into your in-room Volo tablet. Not only does this maximize the feedback survey’s visibility, but the data you gather will be more accurate in real-time.