5 Ways Automation is Changing The Hotel Landscape

By Kaitlin Hay

Last updated September 07, 2022

3 min read


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Automation has played a critical role in business for years. However, it wasn’t until the past few years that varying industries began to consider its immense capabilities.

Exploring the use of automation today, we’re unpacking this evolution in recent years, how it’s changing the hotel landscape and considerations for getting started with automation.

 

The State of Automation Today

Over the years the adoption of automation has grown significantly. Allowing businesses to focus on strategy and direction rather than tedious tasks that take up valuable time and resources.

In more recent years, in part due to the pandemic, automation has accelerated rapidly.

Back in 2018, it was reported that “57% of businesses were piloting the automation of business processes in one or more business functions.“

In that same study conducted in 2020, the year of the pandemic, it was reported “66% of businesses were doing the same - a significant jump of 9%”

And while a number of industries are hopping on the automation bandwagon, hotels are beginning to recognize it’s tremendous benefits, with 77.6 percent of hotels expecting to increase their tech investment in the next three years.

Today, automation is driving better and more agile hotels - allowing them get more focused, do more with less time and resources and provide greater, more personalized, experiences.

While the state of automation continues to evolve it’s important to recognize the impact on specific industries. Here we touch on 4 ways automation is changing the hotel industry today.

 

Seamless Check-in Experience

It goes without saying that the traditional in-person check-in experience has its fallbacks. Usually involving long wait times at reception, reduced employee productivity and prone to manual error, there’s a lot of frustration that can build up at the front desk.

Advancements in automation today have revolutionized the check-in experience. Guests can check-in on their own terms, whether on-the-go or from the comforts of their homes. Upon arrival, guests simply provide their name and are given their room key within minutes.

For the individual who has travelled hours and sometimes days to get to their destination, having an automated email with a seamless check-in experience makes all the difference in satisfaction.

Keep in mind that from an operational standpoint, this also alleviates repetitive and mundane processes for your staff. Especially if you’re dealing with rampant labour shortages, your team can focus on more pressing issues.

 

Request Management

Historically, reception and housekeeping have leveraged pen and paper to manage requests and fulfillment. And while it may have worked in the past, today’s demand and timely expectations call for new processes.

For request management, automation has proven to greatly reduce time to fulfill requests, improve communication with guests, and provide greater transparency across multiple departments. In most instance, you can increase revenues by being able to manage more requests in less time and upsell without having to lift a finger. 

As an example, most request management tools will allow you to set your own parameters for automated processes. Simply define requests possible for in-stay guests once a room has been assigned. Once a request is made it’s tagged and routed to the right team member in real-time. Urgency is assigned based on parameters your team sets, so any pressing requests or comments are directed to senior management.

With automated tickets and request management, accountability and transparency are provided and it’s no longer a guessing game of who’s dealing with what.

 

Contactless Follow-Ups

When a customer leaves a hotel the experience doesn’t stop there. The goal is always to continue the relationship and encourage repeat visits. With that, communication plays a vital role.

Using a digital tool with automated capabilities, you can connect with guests, pre-stay, in-stay and post-stay. Send timed and targeted follow-up messages on the customers preferred channel without lifting a finger. 

If you’re following up take it a step further by adding a link to an experience survey. This way you can measure their satisfaction to improve the experience in the future.

 

Personalization & Upselling

As we’ve seen over the past several years, change can happen in an instant. Which means, finding ways to constantly stay in the know with your guests is key. 

With the adoption of digital tools that have automated capabilities, you can collect data that isn’t available through pen and paper operations. This means, your team can consistently improve offerings to meet changing preferences and even customize specific automated interactions. 

Take an on demand ordering functionality for example. After a guest selects a meal, you can use data gathered to automate the offering of a glass of wine or bottle of water with their meal. Further, you can personalize the message. If you’re using a messaging solution, set the introduction to your emails with a first name, or if you’re segmenting your audiences, reference their experience.

 

Leveraging Automation

Like any new tool, assessing the need for automation in your hotel is crucial. Today there are so many ways you can automate processes, that jumping into the first opportunity without considering your whole strategy can be damaging.

Take a look at your hotel journey and locate where most of the friction is occurring with your guests and what’s taking up most of your employees time. From there you can make a list of all the tools to help you navigate a more seamless journey.

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Kaitlin Hay
Digital Marketing Specialist @ Benbria