Impeccable customer care and efficient operations can give a hospitality related business a decided competitive advantage, and improved technology in the hospitality industry allows these businesses to effect dramatic change in both areas. One of the most recognized and oldest hospitality businesses in the marketplace today is the hotel. Lodging establishments are not usually known as early adopters of IT advancements, but the tremendous opportunities that exist for hotels and other hospitality businesses because of technology cannot be ignored. Here are some examples of the ways that IT continues to improve hospitality business offerings.
Social Media Marketing and Overlapping Customer Care
Marketing professionals are trained to follow the money, and this means engaging customers where they naturally congregate. Currently, the internet is that place. One the fastest growing tools for internet marketers today is social media. According to a recent survey conducted in 2013 entitled “Worldwide Social Network Users,” nearly 25 percent of the world’s population uses some form of social media regularly. Any hospitality business that wants to continue staying viable uses social media to forge deeper relationships online with its potential customers. Instead of using outdated outbound marketing campaigns that go largely ignored, these hospitality industry marketing professionals provide valuable information about updated amenities and special promotions to site visitors who are actually interested in what the marketers have to say. However, this newly exploited relationship building tool can be a double edged sword if customers want to complain about a poor product or service in a very public way. The hospitality industry business that exploits social media for marketing purposes must be prepared to answer their new friends appropriately and promptly. The ease and speed of modern internet technologies offer corporate social media marketers a way to hold themselves accountable for customer service issues.
Intelligently Integrated Hospitality Management Systems
Many hospitality industry businesses like hotels and car rental agencies have used some type of customer relationship management system for years. However, the systems are getting more sophisticated which results in improved levels of integration. For example, many hotels can input guest preferences into their databases so that their visitors can have more personalized experiences upon their next hotel stay. These data points include notes about in room beverage choices, the number of hangers used by guests and the temperature on the room’s thermostat. Upon subsequent visits, the customer is greeted with their preferred beverages, an adequate supply of hangers and a comfortably temperate room. This type of data can also be linked to the organization’s supply purchase systems.
Increase Accessibility With Mobile Devices
Clunky computer hardware has become virtually extinct from most modern homes as desktop computers get replaced with more mobile tablets and smart phones. Many hospitality related businesses find that mobile devices fit their strategic vision, operational methods and budgets better than traditional computers in many cases. For instance, concierge professionals can engage guests from anywhere on the property and take care of their needs in real time when hotels replace the stationary desktops with fast, mobile computing devices. These devices are sometimes less expensive to purchase and maintain than desktop computers.
In the largely customer driven hospitality industry, the use of technology to speed operations and gather detailed customer information is not optional. This rings true about technology in the hospitality industry for large chain establishments as well as little known, mom and pop hoteliers, restaurants and transportation companies.