Hotelcore Blog

Digital guest service for any kind of accommodation – “5 questions to” Melike Yapici, Head of Inside Sales at Guestfriend

In our section “5 questions to”, employees of Guestfriend, customers, partners or industry experts give insights into their work and business. This time, Melike Yapici tells us how accommodations of all sizes benefit from digital guest services and which kind of feedback the Inside Sales Team of Guestfriend receives.

Guestfriend has more than 5,000 customers from the hotel and tourism industry. Is Guestfriend really suitable for any accommodation?

Yes, absolutely! No matter if big or small, whether hotel, hotel chain, B&B, holiday flat or camping site. Everyone benefits from digital guest services, often in different ways. Big wellness hotels just have different needs than holiday apartments.

Due to time pressure, most of the large hotels are not able to advise and look after each guest and sell additional offers. This is why so many hotels use our Digital Guest Directory. Most of them would not even be able to satisfy all guests without its help. Since every guest has different interests, questions and wishes, e.g. sauna times, wellness offers, menus, excursions etc.

Smaller hosts simplify a few work steps with the Digital Guest Directory and are able to offer much more service, e.g. a kind of 24-hour reception. It contains everything important that guests want to know and provides them with all the information, services and recommendations without requiring hosts to be there on site. Some of our customers use it, for example, to organise their bread service and arrange the registration form to be filled out in advance.

The Digital Guest Directory is available as a Guestfriend app, progressive web app, own hotel app, but also as a stationary version. How do hosts know which solution fits best to their accommodation?

Well, that’s hard to put into general terms. It depends on what the hotelier wants, what image or brand he wants to present, what offers he has, but also what his guests prefer to use. Some people love to download apps onto their smartphones, some prefer to use the web and some prefer digital info points. That’s why, as a hotelier, I would never offer just one option.

Do I want to send push messages and reach my guests at any time, no matter where they are? Should they be able to book my offers and services without any problems? Do I always want to stay in touch with them, even after departure? If so, it is obviously the best decision to use a so-called “Bring Your Own Device” solution (BYOD) rather than expensive stationary tablets. And this is our concept: Guests bring their own devices (smartphone, tablet, laptop, etc.) and decide whether to use the Digital Guest Directory as a native app or web version (progressive web app). After that, I would also install additional tablets, monitors or touch screen kiosks at the reception or in the lobby.

What kind of feedback does the Inside Sales Team get when it gets in touch with potential customers for the first time?

In the past, the feedback used to be, “Oh, really? That exists?” As one of the first on the market, it was quite difficult to explain our products, their benefits and to convince hoteliers about the opportunities of the digitalization. Digitalization in the hospitality industry was still in its infancy at that time.

But today it’s different. We notice that digitalisation is a major issue now and get great feedback. Many hosts who told us a few years ago “What, digital? No, we don’t want digitalisation!”, have changed their minds and are now contacting us. They see the advantages and know that they just have to keep up with the times.

I have picked out a few more reactions for you:

  • Great, this way I don’t have to answer the same questions all the time!
  • Sounds exciting. You just have to keep up with the times.
  • Wow, cool idea, how simple and useful.
  • This is exactly the kind of environmentally friendly thing we were looking for.
  • I’ve seen it before in another hotel. Thanks for getting in touch with me and letting me take a closer look.

What are the most common reasons why hosts choose Guestfriend?

They save a lot of time.

They know that a modern service is a must-have and they want to stand out from the competition. Another point is that they increase their revenue without much effort – through additional sales such as room upgrades, wellness treatments, room service, bread roll service, follow-up bookings and so on.

And one thing I don´t want to forget is: They are impressed that they will have less paper waste and that their guests will find everything on their smartphones 24/7.

What are the three most frequently asked questions? And can you answer them for the readers?

1. What is a Digital Guest Directory?

The Digital Guest Directory is the digital version of the traditional paper room folder. It contains all the important information and offers concerning the stay. But it offers much more: for example, sending push messages, chatting, making mobile enquiries and bookings, providing tips for excursions depending on the weather and location, collecting feedback and ratings and much, much more.

2. How do guests access my Digital Guest Directory?

There are a lot of possibilities. Ideally, hosts send their link to their Guest Directory with the booking confirmation, so that their guests can inform themselves in advance. On site, guests scan the QR code from flyers, the Hotel Newspaper or the Info Channel, download the app or end up in the Digital Guest Directory by logging into the Wi-Fi and the Wi-Fi Landing Page. And if hotels also use tablets or Touchscreen Kiosks, they will use the Digital Guest Directory right there.

3. Is it possible for me to change something in my Guest Directory or do I always have to call you?

Of course! Once we have created the Digital Guest Directory, our customers get trainings first. We explain how to use our content management system, write push messages, chat, update content and so on. Afterwards, they can easily make their changes themselves – and of course, we always help them.

Melike Yapici in conversation with Sandra Schneider, Gastfreund GmbH

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