Mr. Schaedle

Mobile Technology

Checking in Before Checking Out

Using Mobile Technology to Manage the Guest Experience

By Scott Schaedle, Founder, Quore

It's no secret that mobile technology has reshaped the consumer travel experience. Today's traveler can check in and out of a hotel without ever speaking to a human being. That lack of human interaction and direct communication is both a good and bad thing for the hospitality technology industry. From booking a reservation to leaving a review, mobile use continues to rise in the hospitality technology sector, and is not slowing down any time soon. Today, nearly 60 percent of travelers book hotels using a mobile device while 81 percent of travelers find user reviews important when considering which hotel to book. Savvy hotels will adapt to this trend while the rest will be left in the past.

According to The American Hotel & Lodging Association, the use of mobile apps for hotel service continues to climb, peaking at 35 percent for the industry overall. Hotels now have technology that allow guests to make requests and report issues by simply sending a text from their own cellphone. These services are crucial to staying at the forefront with the demands of today's modern travelers.

With mobile devices serving as a natural extension of travelers, hotels must engage with their guests on the platforms where guests are talking and listening before, during and after their stay to manage the guest experience from check-in to checkout.

Streamline Operations

Gone are the days of siloed departments, shifts and management communication. Today's tech savvy hotels roll up communications into one platform to improve communication from staff to staff, staff to shift, and staff to management. This dialed-in approach ensures visibility and accountability among the entire team.

  • Staff to Staff - Streamlining operations through one centralized program with push notifications allows fast and accurate communication to keep the whole team on the same page and address guest-related issues quickly. It also allows for the aggregation of key data to trend and forecast crucial needs. The systems also ensure a response by staff. An automatic escalation procedure prevents the request from languishing. This way no requests go unnoticed.

  • Staff to Shift - During shift change it is important that there is a seamless transition between staff and employees clocking in. Newly arriving staff should be made aware of any existing complaints that have been filed or special requests that have been asked of the staff. It is also important to know who will be responsible in ensuring the requests are carried out. Streamlining operations onto a platform can ensure these requests are being fulfilled through the remainder of the guest's stay.

  • Staff to Management- Hotels should incorporate mobile technology into their internal operations to streamline communication between departments and shifts. Replacing physical logbooks and outdated radios with mobile devices is one way to ensure transparency and accountability between frontline employees and management, shaping the guest's first impression and ensuring consistency from day to day. This can allow management to track operations from their office, and cut down on the need to physically search for an employee to get an update on a task.

Today's technology allows guests to alert hotels that they may be arriving early or late through a simple text message, enabling hotels to complete pre-arrival preparations and customize the guest experience. Similarly, equipping housekeeping with mobile technology provides the internal teams with the necessary tools to ensure a guest's stay is satisfactory.

Streamlined communications and quick access to essential hotel operations yields enhanced guest satisfaction, staff productivity, and asset tracking. The most important factors to keep in mind is that the guest should never see the "behind the scenes" efforts of streamlining staff communications and that staff members are held accountable for meeting guests' needs.

Work Orders and Preventive Maintenance

From digital work orders to preventive maintenance forms, automating daily tasks not only increases efficiency, it allows management to identify and track trends from property to property. Hotels can better organize assets under warranty and thus save money by not missing out on savings.

Software that automatically alerts when rooms are due for preventive maintenance inspections allow hotels to save money and maintain quarterly goals, all while being facilitated on an easy-to-use mobile device. Additionally, work orders are immediately generated for failed inventory items and users are able to log extensive data for reporting and trend analysis. Because these alerts drive intelligently off of actual inventory, each task is hyper-specific to the guestroom, asset, or area being addressed.

These are two examples of hotels who have implemented Quore's platform and have found success:

  • Joe the GM - While leading a property under Gibson Hotel Management, Joe Grieco noticed it was nearly impossible to get a pulse on trends, let alone identify systemic issues in his hotel. Once incorporating Quore's software, he gained the ability to track patterns and piece together a larger picture of the hotel's brand in ways that he was never able to do before. With the implementation of Quore, the system began tracking trends like the sink that continuously clogs, or the guest that complained about a funny smell from his or her room. Quore quickly identifies these repetitions and alerts the staff.

  • Allyson the GM - At Allyson Trull's property in Brentwood, TN, she noticed a lack of communication between departments and shifts, inefficient systems to access day-to-day operations and hurdles to accurately forecast inventory and maintenance needs to property owners. Once she incorporated Quore's software, Allyson was able to have a better grasp of what was happening at her property from off-site, than when she was onsite sifting through logbooks and tracking down staff members. Now that the staff was armed with mobile devices instead of handheld radios, communication barriers came down and day-to-day operations became more transparent than ever. Quore's forecasting tool even allowed Allyson to track the condition of the hotel's assets and predict major expenses.

Encourage Engagement

When it comes to guest satisfaction, the bar is higher than ever. To compete, hotels must offer an array of options for guests to communicate needs directly to hotel staff. One way many hotels are doing this is through texting, giving guests the power to communicate their needs in a natural way.

Once checked in, guests should have a way to communicate requests and complaints directly to hotel staff via mobile device without being required to download an app or call the front desk. Requesting more towels or expressing a noise complaint via text encourages guests to engage directly with staff in a manner that is intuitive and natural for today's traveler. Opening this additional line of communication between the guest and staff not only creates a highly personalized guest experience, it also provides the opportunity for management to address an issue that might otherwise only be discovered after the guest checks out and publishes an online review.

While beta testing a guest-to-staff texting feature, we found that guests were hesitant to download an app, but will readily text staff. The service is especially appealing to millennials, a group that typically feels most natural communicating via cell phone. But, with the convenience of mobile-initiated complaints comes the crucial need to handle and log the complaints in a timely and accurate fashion.

Even if a complaint is communicated via text, hotel management should not necessarily continue the dialogue using the same medium. Instead, the manager should take control of the situation by engaging with the guest verbally or face-to-face. After the issue is remedied, the incident should be logged so that staff can be aware of and sensitive to the guest's issue during future stays.

Using a product that schedules guest call-backs to follow up on a specific request or as guest recovery is the best way to ensure your guests make a return visit. The best way to keep your hand on the pulse of your guests is through communication, follow-up and action.

Hotels seeking to compete in today's landscape should start with one solution that the whole property can utilize - from housekeeping to management to guests.

Keep it Simple

If technology over complicates the guest experience, don't implement it. Completely replacing traditional staples in the hospitality industry like the front desk associate or housekeeper with technology removes the opportunity to personally connect with guests and create the highly customized experience we've all come to expect.

While comment cards on pillows might be obsolete, the concept is certainly not. Hotels should automatically send a brief survey to the guest's mobile device after checkout requesting feedback on their experience. Many hotels offer points as incentives to completing these surveys, which ultimately provides a wealth of information to calibrate operations and increase guest satisfaction.

While we most certainly have not seen the extent of mobile technology's role in the hospitality industry, it's clear that hotels seeking to increase customer satisfaction must connect with guests where they're engaged through mobile technology. Through technology, savvy hotels should proactively shape the guest experience by streamlining internal operations, opening a new line of communication and implementing technology where it makes sense.

Scott Schaedle founded Quore in 2012 to revolutionize and streamline hotel operations. Mr. Schaedle's hotel Industry background, combined with his advertising and graphic design expertise, inspired him to create Quore. Mr. Schaedle is the driving force behind the company and designed Quore in collaboration with hoteliers, designers and software developers. Quore grew from a few employees to 22. Under Mr. Schaedle's leadership, Quore surpassed its three-to-five-year plan in the first three months. It now has more than 30,000 users at more than 1,200 hotels, including properties in leading management. In 2016 Quore was selected as a preferred software vendor for two of the world's largest lodging companies, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) and Choice Hotels International, Inc. In November 2016. Mr. Schaedle can be contacted at 877-974-9774 or scott.schaedle@quore.com Please visit http://www.quore.com for more information. Extended Bio...

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Feature Focus
Guest Service: The Personalized Experience
In the not-too-distant future, when guests arrive at a hotel, they will check themselves in using a kiosk in the lobby, by- passing a stop at the front desk. When they call room service to order food, it will be from a hotel mobile tablet, practically eliminating any contact with friendly service people. Though these inevitable developments will likely result in delivered to their door by a robot. When they visit a restaurant, their orders will be placed and the bill will be paid some staff reduction, there is a silver lining Ė all the remaining hotel staff can be laser-focused on providing guests with the best possible service available. And for most guests, that means being the beneficiary of a personalized experience from the hotel. According to a recent Yahoo survey, 78 percent of hotel guests expressed a desire for some kind of personalization. They are seeking services that not only make them feel welcomed, but valued, and cause them to feel good about themselves. Hotels must strive to establish an emotional bond with their guests, the kind of bond that creates guest loyalty and brings them back time and again. But providing personalized service is more than knowing your guests by name. Itís leaving a bottle of wine in the room of a couple celebrating their anniversary, or knowing which guest enjoys having a fresh cup of coffee brought to their room as part of a wake-up call. Itís the small, thoughtful, personal gestures that matter most and produce the greatest effect. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.