According to the IPA, adults now spend up to eight hours a day online, so it’s no surprise that free, fast and reliable access to your hotel’s WiFi has become as much of a pre-requisite for your guests as fluffy towels or room service. But beyond your guests’ online viewing requirements, what benefits to the operational efficiency of your hotel does this level of guest connectivity enable?
Using data driven services has become increasingly important as a way to drive operational efficiencies in a hotel or even across an entire estate of hotels. WiFi is much the like the secret shopper you wish you’d always had, enabling you to collect vital information about guests.
Each time a guest visits any one of your estate of hotels and logs on to your network is an opportunity to gather data on them and then this information can be stored, analysed and used to optimise the guest experience. Guest WiFi can help complete the loop by joining up your guest profile information to location-based analytics and services. This data can then be used in a multitude of ways:
- To improve customer services Ever noticed how many people are glued to their phones when they’re in a queue? Checking email or Instagram may well be how your guests choose to pass the time while they are waiting to check-in or in a queue at the bar to buy a gin and tonic. Alerts and triggers based on guest profiles and their interaction with the hotel can help improve your customer service by identifying how your guests move around the building. A long wait at front desk could mean you need more staff at reception to help guests check-in more quickly, or if there’s an increase in the number of guests in the bar area, perhaps more staff are needed there too. Being alerted to this issue means you can deploy staff as and when needed, then over time, this data will help you to identify when certain parts of the hotel are at their busiest, thereby helping you to better plan staff rotas.
- Flagging security issues and personnel No matter how well you train your team, mistakes happen. Doors can be left unlocked and temporary staffing issues might mean that you can’t cover all of your posts. Visitors could wander into areas containing hazardous substances or personal data that you need to protect. Location analytics can help to mitigate operational risks by providing alerts for any unauthorised access. You can also use the system to notify you if an important guest has arrived on the premise so that you can make sure you have appropriate security and hospitality in place to give them the VIP treatment.
- Personalise and optimise your guest experience Your hotel WiFi log-in page is the ideal place to collect up-to-date contact details and preferences from your guests. You can use this rich source of direct information to feed into your hotel’s operational strategy and gain advantage over your competitors. So, as an example, if on spot a trend that on most Saturdays, guests are going into the restaurant entrance and walking straight back out, you can analyse why this is happening. Do you need an additional team member out front to entice them in – or is your happy hour too early/too late?
You can also combine this intelligence with your marketing activities to optimise your operational efficiencies and personalise the guest experience. If you have unexpected space in the bar or spa, you could target deals at guests with those interests – helping to keep them informed and hopefully contributing to hotel profits at the same time.
You may notice operational glitches as you walk around your venue, but integrated WiFi gives you the opportunity to analyse behaviour more accurately over longer periods of time. Operational strategy becomes evidence-based and aligned to your customer experiences, giving you opportunities to bring in more revenue and build your reputation at the same time.