We are increasingly becoming a society that relies on smartphones, whether it’s to check up on the latest news headlines or to stay in touch with friends via social media.
According to Statista, the number of smartphone users across the globe is likely to reach two billion by the end of this year and 2.7 billion by 2019, up from just 1.6 billion in 2014. People now expect to be able to carry out everyday tasks on their phones rather than relying on more old-fashioned methods, with banking a good example of this – who’d have thought ten years ago that so many financial tasks could be carried out without even speaking to a human being? But while consumers are undoubtedly reaping the rewards that smartphones can offer, are business owners benefiting from them as much? It seems that hotel owners, marketers and other staff in the hospitality industry could see big rewards if they utilise the same technology their guests are so familiar with.
Benefits of managing bookings on mobile devices Many consumers now expect almost instant responses to their queries, complaints and purchases, which is why customer service via social media is becoming so important. It’s no longer enough to reply to an email within a week or so – and late responses can result in poor publicity and lost business. If hotels are only able to respond to bookings, answer questions and perform other important tasks at their desktop PCs, they could miss out on vital chances to communicate. This is even more the case if the reception desk isn’t manned at all hours of the day in smaller properties; guests can become frustrated, and that’s not good for business. If hotel staff can carry out tasks on their smartphones or tablets, they can see incoming bookings and manage rooms accordingly, look at departures for the day and organise housekeeping more effectively, implement special rates, and carry out any number of other useful things.
They are keeping the hotel running on the go, which makes everything faster and more geared up to positive customer experiences. How to manage hotels on the goIf you’ve decided you want to make mobile devices part of your hotel management, then you’ll need to implement the relevant IT systems across your business. There are dozens of examples of software out there that will contain the features you need, including Little Hotelier, Hotelogix and Checkfront to name but a few. Prices vary, but the chances are that you’ll need to invest a little more for programs that have all the bells and whistles. For example, you might want to select one that allows you to use the cloud to sync information across an array of different devices for multiple staff.
However, at the very least, go for one that has a built-in booking engine provider, as this will ensure secure reservations and allow you to take payments with minimum fuss. It’s probably a good idea to bring in technology experts to implement your new systems, as it is likely to be time-consuming and difficult for the layperson with only minimal experience and this could affect the day-to-day running of your hotel. The importance of mobile device management Managing a business on smart devices is certainly a great way to help staff become more efficient and responsive to their guests’ needs. However, as with many technological tools today, this capability does come with a drawback: the potential for sensitive information to be lost or hacked into by malicious individuals. With travellers needing to provide financial details, names, addresses and email addresses as a matter of course, it is vital to protect this data from theft.
In addition, hacking can lead to the whole business and its information being compromised.In order to do this, hotels need to choose and roll out an effective mobile device management (MDM) platform that covers all staff users. There are plenty of these on the market and, as with most tools, they come with varying price tags depending on functionality.It’s up to the hotel’s managers to choose one that’s applicable and works to protect any systems that are online and accessible to staff. Incidentally, it might also be worth only opening up the ability to manage the property online to staff that really need it, as this reduces the likelihood of lost data and reduces the burden of removing their access capabilities should they leave.As you can see, there are significant advantages to being able to access hotel-related information wherever you are, whether that’s at home, in a meeting or at the airport. This could speed up your process and make for happier guests, which can lead to further bookings.
However, online systems can only work with proper management systems in place, so ensure you implement them if you want to manage things on the go.