“Hello, West End hotel, Reservations. How may I help you?”
Hi, I wanted to book 2 of your deluxe rooms from the 15th to the 21st of November.
“Sure, ma’am. Let me check that for you right away…
I’m sorry ma’am. As I can see here, we’re completely booked out all of that week, including the week before and after! May I note down your details to add you to our waitlist? We currently have 14 guests on the list.”
How did that make you feel as a hotelier?
Excited at the prospect of new guests, more money, and better business? Or did you immediately dread the chaos about to ensue? Most hoteliers are probably feeling a mix of both as they think about peak travel season right around the corner. Whatever the feeling, this period is the money maker that no hotel should compromise on. Optimizing the guests’ experience is of paramount importance during these times.
The peak season for multiple places like India, UAE countries, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Egypt, Maldives, Bahrain, Qatar etc is either here or coming soon. All the more reason to make this peak season your best one yet!
Peak season is not just key to cater to existing guests, but is in reality a long term opportunity to initiate guests into loyalists that keep returning. Not only that, people are willing to spend more on travel and build more memories. This is a great chance to upsell services and reach a larger customer base.
The problems of peak season are well documented
Global tourism has reached 415 million tourists worldwide in 2021. It is expected to grow even further in the coming years. “Great news!” hoteliers might think, but labor shortages might be the wrench in business plans hotels aren’t ready for. In fact, half of former hospitality workers said that they wouldn’t return to their previous job in the industry, according to a survey. The staff that is there would be overwhelmed with guests that not only brings down employee morale but also causes the employees to be less receptive and react less quickly to guest demands.
With multiple people calling one front office for all their questions, responses are bound to be delayed. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that nobody wants to wait.
Lack of personalisation
Tourists are no longer looking just for fancy accommodations and meals, they are looking to be travelers. They expect to engage with the culture of the locals, and they place immense value on these experiences. But when hotels are unable to take the guests on this journey, they are less likely to engage with you again. Personalisation of each guest’s experience poses a serious challenge during peak season. As the number of guest-hotel touchpoints goes down, so does the hotel’s ability to make a personal impression and boost guest engagement.
Check-in and check-out issues
Check-in and check-out can become extremely tedious as more tired tourists come into the hotel. Long queues can quickly make a great hotel seem terrible. People also tend to perceive uncertain wait times to be longer and can cause significant anxiety and anger to tourists who are excited to start their day in a new place.
Ask and ye shall receive: The solutions you need
As digital hospitality is slowly trickling into the world with AI-powered tools, hotels have the opportunity to re-look their internal systems and upgrade them for a smoother peak season.
Hotels must invest in technology, especially ones that can take on automated tasks to relieve the workload on employees.
Provide support to the staff
Across four studies, researchers have found happiness makes people around 12% more productive. This number has varied across multiple studies, but one thing remains common, happier employees are more productive.
Many automatable processes can be taken up by AI-powered tools. Collecting documents or payments, upselling and many more processes can now be fully done without human intervention. This helps the operations team operate better.
Automate responses to save time
Waiting is the enemy of a good hotel experience. That’s why AI can easily respond to queries in real time whenever the guest needs it. Not only does this help the front office deal with a lower volume of questions, it also improves guest satisfaction with instant response times on platforms they are comfortable using.
Improve guest engagement and personalization
Proactive communication is the key to unlocking the best guest engagement. In fact, 70% of people prefer brands that proactively engage with them. What this means is constantly staying in touch with a guest through multiple touchpoints and being accessible at every point in the guest journey. This helps hotels build a better relationship with the plethora of new guests coming into the hotel, thus improving the chances of a repeat stay.
Ensure smoother check-in and check-outs
Virtual check-ins and check-outs are the way of the future. An increasing number of guests expect it of most hotels because of how hassle free it can be. Millennials and Gen Z are actively looking at mobile first communication to make it simpler and less time consuming. 53.7% of hotels say that mobile first technology is a part of their business plan for the next few years.
Peak season is the perfect opportunity for every hotel to put forward their best foot. Hotels must optimize these processes to ensure that the new guests become a permanent part of their base.
That’s our take, what’s yours?
The hotel industry is increasingly employing conversational AI and robotic automation technologies, but there’s still a huge ground to cover. It has huge potential but is underpenetrated.
Engage-AI is RateGain’s Virtual Assistant Conversational AI platform which helps optimize your hotel’s operations, create upsell opportunities and generate more revenue per guest, ultimately enhancing guest experience and increasing satisfaction scores for the hotel.