What’s the first stop on the itinerary for today’s travelers? Online review sites. Before they book their next trip, consumers inevitably read what others have to say about your hotel properties. In fact, it’s a near-universal activity. According to research by Cornell University, 93 percent of travelers use online reviews before choosing a hotel.
Hospitality management knows all too well the impact this can have on reservations and their average daily room rate. But how do they turn a review that starts like this:
“The front desk clerk was not super friendly…”
To one like this:
“Chic, tranquil, green and luxurious oasis. Friendly, helpful and yet unobtrusive service…”
Traveler expectations are high, and hospitality managers know they need to deliver a flawless experience. With a tightly coordinated and capable staff, they can stay on top of the details and provide a five-star customer experience. But they also need technology to streamline employee workflow and anticipate each customer’s desires. With API integration, they can link their property management, CRM and guest services applications for optimal staff productivity.
Here’s what you need to know about integrating your hotel applications with your communications.
The Beating Heart
The property management system is the beating heart of every hotel operation. By integrating its tools with communications technology, you ensure that processes run smoothly, while avoiding any hiccups that can lead to poor online reviews. For example, the most common guest complaints include dirty rooms, uncomfortable beds, lack of hot water and rude staff. With PMS and a communications solution designed specifically for hotel management, you can be more proactive and deal with complaints early.
Hotel managers can orchestrate workflow, maintenance duties and preventative maintenance schedules through a dedicated app. For example, they can prioritize issues and dispatch staff based on skillset. Meanwhile, maintenance and housekeeping can view work orders on their wireless or mobile device and close tickets directly from their device after their work is complete.
In fact, the integration provides a robust set of features to streamline work.
Issue tracking. Issues can either be scheduled (preventative) or unscheduled (ad-hoc). Ticket dispatch is automated, and jobs are tracked all the way through to completion. Hotel managers can view reports to identify which issues have resolved successfully.
Skills-based dispatching. Hotel managers can define staff skillsets within the system, which then automatically dispatches the right team members when an issue arises.
Issue prioritization. Likewise, managers can define priorities and resolution benchmarks ahead of time. Staff members know what’s expected of them and how to best manage their workload for maximum efficiency.
Issue customization. No two hotels are alike, but hotel managers can customize the application to each property’s requirements.
Work ticket dispatch and tracking. Because hotel managers frequently move around the property, they often don’t have the luxury of returning to the front desk before raising an issue. With integration, they can open a ticket by telephone, e-mail, instant message or push notification. The system tracks work automatically, and managers can view progress through their application.
Mobility. Management can reach employees on wireless and mobile devices using a single number – no matter where they are in the hotel.
The Personal Touch
As much as PMS integration simplifies hotel operations, it isn’t enough on its own. To meet – and exceed – travelers’ expectations, hotel managers need to personalize every interaction. By integrating their customer relationship application into their communications solution, they can improve travelers’ experiences from booking to checkout.
Customer preferences. As soon as your guest reserves a room, the customer service team can send offers and upgrades based on the customer’s history and preferences.
Multimedia. Today’s contact centers must be able to connect with customers everywhere they are – on voice, instant messaging and web chat.
Social media. If the traveler has a bad experience, they’ll quickly share it on TripAdvisor and other review sites. With CRM integrated into communications, agents can identify public complaints and alert hotel management about the unhappy guest. The staff can take steps “in the moment” to correct the situation. In this way, they convert a negative comment into a positive experience.
By integrating communications into CRM and PMS applications, hotel management improves its ability to track and resolve issues quickly, leading to more five-star ratings on review sites. Streamlining communications workflow vastly improves your hotels’ ability to deliver a stellar customer experience, from first impression to last.