Reducing costs while offering new, interesting guest experiences is the reason most hotels are looking in the direction of robotics. When it comes to MICE, hotels need dozens of extra hands, who can be expensive to hire and also hard to find in such numbers. Yet hoteliers cannot afford to let their guests down, or they will not return.
While robots and bots are already helping hotels improve the efficiency of operations and guest interactions, the next trend is to offer extra services from the moment a reservation is booked.
There are plenty of hotel mobile apps already in existence but their main function at present is to allow guests to make reservations. There is no two-way interaction involved, nobody to answer simple questions or to advise or follow up with the user on further bookings they might be interested to make in the local area.
Bots and other technologies, however, can deliver these concierge or butler services to a guest’s mobile device before, during and after their stay using Communication Platform as a Service (CPaaS) solutions. They can advise on aspects of a guest’s entire journey, from the time they spend in the city or neighbourhood right up to the point where they reach their next connection, linking disparate hotel systems into one fluid customer service tool.
There are also advantages in mobile concierge services for the hotel, of course. By monitoring mobile apps, the hotelier can know the exact physical location of the guest, which could be crucial in an emergency but could also inform staff that a VIP guest is close to the hotel so they can prepare for their arrival.
Dirk Dumortier is director of hospitality and healthcare in APAC for Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE)