Leisure travel has returned. Guests with a pent-up desire to vacation are looking to spend their money on revenge travel. These guests are looking to be spoiled with exceptional experiences at luxury properties, regardless of staffing challenges. If you hope to profit from revenge travel, you need to be able to attract and delight guests by providing them with the zero-disappointment extravagant experience they desire.
What Guests Expect: Pre-arrival
Guests today are more tech-savvy than ever and are used to online research, online shopping, and ordering services like food delivery and ridesharing with little interaction with the respective vendors. They enjoy the freedom and hyper-personalization provided by modern technology, and your property will have to provide the same experience if you want them to stay at your property.
After extensively researching vacation options and selecting your property, your guests expect the convenience of booking their complete stay themselves. In addition to booking their rooms, they will want to make dining reservations, book their activities (spa appointments, fitness classes, concerts), and reserve equipment (cabanas, deck chairs, bikes, surfboards). Once they’ve made their selections, they expect to receive a single itinerary showing everything they’ve chosen for their stay. Guests paying a premium to stay on your property are expecting this level of online booking functionality.
What Guests Expect: On-arrival
Guests paying for a luxury stay expect no headaches. One of the first headaches guests experience is standing in line at the front desk to check-in. Your property needs to offer guests a check-in experience that eliminates lines. The front desk is obsolete. Your guests don’t want to wait in lines, and there is no reason they should have to with available technology that allows them to quickly check-in at a kiosk or on their own device. For your less tech-savvy guests, technology allows your staff to meet guests where they are with a tablet-based check-in solution. Once checked-in, guests should receive a digital key on their personal device, eliminating the need for a physical key to be assigned. Guests paying a premium expect you to provide them with a barrier-less journey from your front door to the door of their room.
What Guests Expect: On-property
Tech-savvy guests who at home are used to getting what they want, when they want it and how they want it, won’t compromise when on holiday. While staying on your property, your guests want to spontaneously add to their experience when the mood hits them. They don’t want to rely on staff to help them. Using their mobile device, your guests expect the ability to make dinner reservations, spa appointments, book tee times, and select/purchase seats for events. When relaxing poolside or sitting at a table in a casino, they don’t want to leave their chairs to find a server to place a food or beverage order. They prefer to stay where they are, place their order via their mobile device, and have the order delivered directly. When it’s time to pay, your guests don’t want to wait for an attendant to return so they can pay. They want to pay directly from their phones. Your guests are paying for the type of seamless fulfillment of their needs that will be impeded by waiting.
Delighting Your Guests with the Exceptional Experience they Expect
You have zero room for disappointment with your guests, particularly when they’re paying for a world-class experience. Missteps result in negative reviews, dissatisfied guests, and reduced profits. Having the right technology in place to deliver exceptional experiences is critical. You need a technology solution that supports staff in delivering an extravagant stay equal to your property’s prestige.
Your property must be connected seamlessly with solutions that communicate with one another. This integration allows information to be shared across your property (hotel, restaurant, spa, golf course, etc.) and facilitates the automation of tasks that free your staff from administrative tasks so they can focus more of their time on the guests. The same integration allows the creation of a single guest profile that provides staff with insight into guest bookings wherever they are on the property.
Once back-end systems are integrated, your property can look at guest-facing solutions that deliver the first-rate experience guests expect. Online booking engines and mobile apps provide guests the tools necessary to book their personalized stay, while enhancements can simplify check-in/out, room keys, ordering, and payment. And because of the single guest profile created by cross-property integration, guests can see all their bookings in real-time in one place.
Having the right technology that supports your property’s offerings will help you deliver exceptional experiences. Staff will have tools that empower them to be better hosts, allowing them to delight guests with a luxury stay that exceeds their expectations, allowing your property to maximize your return on experience.
About the author
Don DeMarinis has been the Sr VP – Sales & Marketing, Americas & EMEA since January 2018. His primary responsibilities are to lead Agilysys’ sales activities in the Americas and EMEA regions and to look after the company’s global marketing efforts; designing innovative sales strategies, and accelerating revenue growth across Agilysys’ vertical industry markets. Don brings extensive industry experience and a track record of success in selling technology and services to global clients across hospitality markets. He previously served as Vice President, Sports & Entertainment, Foodservice Management globally at Oracle/MICROS, and as Vice President, Leisure & Entertainment at MICROS prior to its acquisition by Oracle. Most recently, he served as Chief Commercial Officer at QikServe, a cloud-based service that enables self-service ordering through mobile, web and kiosk channels, where he led the development of scalable, global, revenue generating channels. In addition, DeMarinis has helped a number of companies, including Gusto and Brolin Retail Systems, build successful sales processes and aggressively grow their customer base.