If you are anything like me, you relish the self-checkout isle at the supermarket. The faceless zone where you can make purchases without any interaction with the supermarket staff, where you don’t have to conduct any small talk, and where you can set your own pace to sort and order your various items. If this is the isle for you, there’s also a good chance you might fall into the category of the ‘Silent Traveller’.
We are a group that prefer to interact with technology rather than people whenever the option is available. We just want to get on with things with the minimal amount of fuss. This isn’t to say that we don’t like people, its more about streamlining the physical world in the same way we do online. We want the information made available to us; we want to be informed enough so that we don’t have to seek help from others, or have our hand held.
With the rise of online and mobile tools being made available by the hospitality industry, the principals of the self-checkout (or in this case the self-check-in), are now becoming more widely adopted by people like me. And its people like me that are posing a real problem for a lot of hospitality organisations. It’s also the reason why WiFi and connectivity is becoming more important to ensure the Silent Traveller is a connected traveller.
What does this mean for the hospitality industry?
The hospitality industry has always relied on human interaction; it has been the cornerstone of the travel industry. From the warm welcome from the concierge to the helpful local tips and advice from the front desk, and the ‘how was your stay?’ as one departs. Without this interaction, there is a big piece of the brand’s values cut from the exchange. Not only that, aspects of the guest engagement process and the understanding of customer’s needs is lost.
Skift author, Rafat Ali describes this as a “global hospitality industry paradox.” Ali goes on to explain – “the human part of the service economy may become less and less important with the rise of the independent, digital traveller forging his or her own way. But big data and personalization offer a way for travel companies to offer that invisible pillar of support. It also allows the travel industry an opportunity to balance the inevitable expectation of personalization while simultaneously enhancing the need to remain independent.”
What are the opportunities?
The most important requirement of the Silent Traveler is connectivity, plus the means of easily accessing the range of digital services, which allows them to facilitate and get the most from their stay. By having a guest WiFi network that allows easy access from the moment they walk through the door, and by having a digital engagement strategy to personalize and enhance the guest’s digital experience is going to be key to ensuring satisfaction and loyalty.
With MyAirangel, information about guests and their devices are collected when they first visit a hotel and use of the WiFi for the first time. This data can be augmenting with the guest data already held by the hotel group. Now hoteliers have the ability to recognise visitors by their devices as soon as they are detected on the wireless network.
Because of this, there is now a method to drive personalised engagement and content directly to the user’s device. Working with our APIs it is possible to send welcome messages with check in instructions and room numbers, door entry can be automated by the detection of the guest’s device near the room’s door. When online, the guest can be easily directed to the hotel’s services, amenities, and information about the locality. By using our Injection Jet technology, guest are asked to provide answers to online satisfaction surveys that appear in their browser. Likewise, ad content, room service menus, links to loyalty schemes, or useful information can also be displayed.
Taking things a little further, our Hotel Home Experience allows guest to sign up for their own personal SSID. This is presented to them whenever they stay at any of the hotels in the group. When they arrive all of their devices just connect automatically just like at home. They can even stream their own media to the Smart TV or to a Chromecast.
With these simple tools, this breed of traveller’s needs are met. We can breeze in and out as we please whilst remaining engaged and satisfied that we have been presented with all that the hotel has to offer.