Prioritizing the In-Person Experience at High-Tech Hotels

Online booking. Mobile check-in. Keyless entry. Virtual concierges. Contactless check-out. In some hotels, it’s possible to pass through the entire experience without speaking to anyone. 

The hotel industry has undergone a technological renaissance over the past decade. Since mobile check-in was introduced in 2015, the number of app and smartphone-based interactions between hotel guest and hotel team has increased dramatically. And as COVID-19 changed the culture of face-to-face interactions, these advances have become increasingly popular at both large chains and boutique hotels.

There is certainly value in these new technologies. Guests can go straight to their rooms after a long day of travel without waiting at the front desk to check in. Lost or inoperable room keys are no longer a concern with keyless entry. Guests can access the hotel’s digital guidebook on their smartphones to find the best restaurants or coffee shops nearby when exploring the area. 

However, the digitization of the hotel experience can make the stay feel less personal and perhaps less memorable. In this ever-growing landscape of smartphone apps and technology, it is the material parts of an experience that create lasting sense memories. 

What Is Your Brand Known For?

Do hotel apps and phone-based interactions really make your brand stand out? One study by the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business showed that guests who download a hotel’s app aren’t necessarily more loyal. In fact, they tend to download multiple hotel apps. They then use the apps to do price comparisons among brands—actually decreasing brand loyalty in favor of the best deals. 

Does this mean that having a hotel app is a bad idea? Certainly not. However, a hotel’s technology generally does not directly build customer loyalty or make a brand stand out.

So what does?

The answers vary, but they often come back to that in-person experience. For a brand that values sustainability, a line like Geneva Green’s bath products put that focus on sustainability into action. Packaging is carbon neutral and 100% recycled. Their “circular design approach” aims to create a product life cycle without beginning, middle, and end. 

Brands that promise a luxury experience must also consider their bathroom amenities. Premium brands can upgrade their self-care offerings beyond the standard shampoo, conditioner, and body wash.. The Anyah line is made from high quality herbal extracts and hydrating ingredients. Their specialty skin creams and body scrubs elevate the guest experience into a spa-like retreat. 

These products help hotels to put their brands into action, speaking to the types of guests they’re trying to attract. While many top hotels are also tech-forward brands, they know that it’s the in-person experience that distinguishes them.

Combine Technology with Tangible Branding for the Best Guest Experience

An unforgettable stay pairs convenience, premium service, and the personal experience—established through what the guest sees and feels. 

The hotel experience is, first and foremost, a real experience. It can’t be done online. A hotel experience should pull people away from their phones and into the physical present. It should be concrete, staying with them long after they’ve checked out and traveled to their next destination. 

To bring your guests into the here-and-now, consider the small details that create your brand. What opportunities are there to surprise and delight? 

A handwritten note that welcomes each guest to the hotel—written on quality stationery—makes each guest feel special. A beautifully designed postcard left in each room becomes a souvenir. Premium linens promote more restful sleep and make a guest feel like they’ve been wrapped in a cloud every time they lay down. A clever Do Not Disturb sign makes the guest smile and shows that no detail is too small. 

These “standards” of hotel service can be anything but standard. As part of the luxury hotel experience, every touchpoint is an opportunity to engage the senses and create a lasting connection. By combining these tangible moments with high-tech conveniences, the hotel can create an efficient and streamlined guest experience without sacrificing luxury or personality.

Maintain Brand Standards with a Single Supply Partner

Product sourcing can be complex. A single hotel may work with dozens of suppliers to outfit every guest-facing space from the front desk to the lobby bar to the pool to guest rooms.

Maintaining brand standards and managing inventory across each of these spaces could be a full-time job. But working with a single supplier to outfit your hotel’s OS&E can create brand consistency and a more streamlined purchasing experience. 

Partner with a full-service designer and supplier like Regency Group. Their exceptional hospitality products go far beyond Do Not Disturb signs and luggage tags. Everything that a luxury hotel needs to provide a comfortable and memorable experience can be designed and sourced by their product experts, from front desk needs to bed and bath to F&B to housekeeping. 

By working with Regency Group, hotels can design a custom product suite for a cohesive brand experience. Their streamlined procurement and implementation system helps hotels deliver moments their guests appreciate.

​​In a world increasingly reliant on technology, the materiality of an object has the ability to elevate the luxury hotel experience and make it palpably unforgettable. By incorporating these amenities into the guest experience, hotels can establish a sense of permanence and authenticity in an otherwise ephemeral digital landscape. In this age of virtual living, the power of touch, sight, and emotion remains invaluable in creating truly lasting impressions.