Restart for the hotel industry: How hotels kick off with digital services (1/2)

The Corona crisis brings great challenges for the hotel industry, the gastronomy and tourism. Since then, hygiene regulations, accommodation prohibitions, travel warnings and lockdowns have determined the everyday life of hoteliers. But we will overcome this crisis together. Because people are longing for their next holidays and will travel again as soon as the hotels are allowed to open – both for private and business reasons. Nevertheless, caution is required, because the whole world has changed since the COVID-19 pandemic and so has the travel behaviour. Protection against viruses and infections is a top priority! For this reason, contactless, digital services have become extremely strong in the hotel industry and are now more important than ever.

How hotels can prepare best for the restart

For hotels, guesthouses, holiday flats and campsites the reopening after the lockdown is imminent. The signposts about distance keeping and face covering, the frequent disinfection of publicly accessible areas, the guest registration in restaurants and the abandonment of haptic objects have been part of the new normal since spring 2020. But for a long-term concept for the accommodation of guests, you still need a bit more.

Hosts who now digitalise their guest communication, simplify processes and offer contactless services will benefit from their modern service in long term, even after the crisis. This is because digital solutions, such as a Digital Guest Directory, are not only suitable for hygienic “social distancing”. They also enable personal guest care and thus a better guest experience as well as more sales options.

With this checklist, hoteliers are now preparing for the future:

  1. Simplify the check-in process with a Digital Guest Directory incl. tourist registration form and relieve the reception desk.
  2. Replace room folders, info brochures, flyers and menus with a Digital Guest Directory.
  3. Offer chat as a contactless alternative to queuing, calling or going to the reception desk.
  4. Go for BYOD and disinfect public devices regularly.
  5. Make additional offers bookable online.
  6. Establish a concept for cleaning in all areas with as little contact as possible.
  7. Offer additional room cleaning on request or let guests cancel room cleaning.
  8. Communicate hygiene measures online and offline.
  9. Spread news and information via push messages.
  10. Collect guest feedback on the implementation of the hygiene concept.

In the following, we would like to go into more detail about all the points on the checklist.

Digital services: personal contact at a safe distance

Protective shields and face masks are one thing – yet personal guest care is only fully virus-proof if hoteliers reduce physical contact with guests to the absolute minimum. The electronic registration form, for example, ensures quick check-in and prevents queues at the reception. Guests fill out the registration form digitally on their smartphones or laptops before arrival. Then they merely have to put their signature below their data at check-in.

The guests also receive all important information about their stay online via the Digital Guest Directory of their accommodation. This relieves the reception staff as well, bescause it already answers the guests’ most frequently asked questions. But that’s not all! The Digital Guest Directory is also more up-to-date and hygienic, as it can be accessed conveniently via the guests’ own smartphones, tablets and laptops. A paper room folder would have to be disinfected after each guest and replaced every time a small change was made. The Digital Guest Directory, on contrast, can be easily updated by the hotelier online in real time.

This way, guests always know about the current opening hours, check-out times, hygiene regulations, events, hotel offers or excursion tips for the region. If they still have questions, guests can conveniently send a message to their hosts via the integrated chat function in the Digital Guest Directory. The hotel staff or the hosts answer the messages via the usual e-mail software and can thereby personally respond to their guests’ concerns. Hygiene and a safe distance are guaranteed!

The guests’ own smartphone: convenient and contactless

Clearly, the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solution for digital guest communication is the safest and most cost-effective option for hoteliers in these times. Guests use their own smartphone, tablet or laptop and access their host’s Digital Guest Directory, e.g. via QR codes or when logging into the hotel WiFi. Guests thereby only touch their own mobile device. This saves the staff the time-consuming cleaning of stationary tablets in every room. And let’s be honest, who wants to touch someone else’s device these days, with an operating system they may not even know, when they can use their own smartphone instead?!

For hoteliers who still want to provide their guests with an additional device, monitors with an info channel, tablets or touchscreen kiosks in openly accessible areas such as the lobby are a good choice. Of course, the staff will then need to disinfect and clean the screens regularly to prevent the spread of viruses and germs.

More information on the advantages of the BYOD concept can be found in our article “BYOD vs. stationary tablets – The guests’ own smartphone wins“.

Digital Guest Directory – a hygienic selling talent

The Digital Guest Directory is not only perfect for guest information. It also promotes the hotel’s offers: the daily bread roll service, a wellness treatment, the bike rental or a personal training in the fitness area. No matter what service the hotel offers – guests can book it directly via a digital form in the Digital Guest Directory. By the way, Guestfriend offers this as an app as well as a web version so that really every guest can use it.

If the restaurant’s digital menu is integrated into the Guest Directory as well, guests can also order food to their room or book a table if they wish to do so. This helps hoteliers to plan ahead more easily, optimise meal times and avoid an overcrowded dining room. The legally required guest registration for COVID-19 contact tracking is also done via a digital form.

Digital services - 3 examples Gastfreund GmbH
 

Digital services: Table bookings, guest registration or breakfast orders to the room are all done contact-free in the Digital Guest Directory.

Without any additional reservation software, hoteliers, holiday apartment owners and campsite operators can make their offers bookable via mobile devices and increase their turnover. Even if hygiene should no longer be the number one topic in the far future, guests, staff and hosts will still be pleased about this straightforward service. Because tools like the Digital Guest Directory improve guest satisfaction, increase the hotel’s turnover and relieve the staff through digitalised processes. With the Digital Guest Directory, accommodations are not only prepared for the reopening, but also for the increasing digitalisation in the hotel industry.


Digital services offer many more opportunities for the future: Part 2 deals with low-contact cleaning, the communication of hygiene measures and the importance of guest feedback.

Are you already prepared enough for the reopening of your hotel?

Kick off with digital services now!

This text has been translated automatically.

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