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No Vacancies_ Service Automation & 5 Other Communication Tools To Set You Apart in the Hotel Industry _ Sam ZormatiService automation and electronic communication tools are revolutionizing the hospitality industry. Gone are the days of hotel guidebooks, clunky metal keys, and communicating via room phones. Now, cutting-edge hotels advertise online, are starting to replace keycards with mobile-device room-access systems, and offer mobile device-based communication for ordering room service or a wakeup call. The age of automation has arrived, and to stand apart as a hospitality leader, hoteliers need to know about service automation and the 5 communication tools listed below.

Service Automation

Customers enjoy self-service for simple tasks. Just look at grocery stores and airports. More and more self-service kiosks are popping up. Remote hotel check-in and check-out options are becoming as popular as automated and online check-in at airports. Of course, the old-guard customers remain. They want a human face and hate to punch information into computers.

For those who prefer service automation, hotel staff still must remain accessible for customer questions and concerns. With hotel employees needing to spend much less time on mundane customer service tasks, they are freed to focus on other ways of enhancing customer experience. In the new age, service automation and enhanced guest experience drive 5-star ratings.

Mobile-Device Pairing

Today’s guests are on the move. They like to use their mobile phones for everything possible. Avant-guard hotels are discovering that mobile phones and room phones can be paired. With that capability, tech-savvy guests can use their phones to request a wakeup call, and even control the T.V. and blinds. This technology is still in development, but it seems clear future guests will be able to handle most communication with their cellphones. It also means hotel staff can communicate with guests directly on their mobile devices for such matters as telling them their dry cleaning is ready.

Hotel Apps

Apps revolutionized the taxi industry and are used by industries as varied as insurance and gaming. Developers are working on hotel apps. The integration of technology has some distance to go, but a future where an app takes care of most customer communication in the hotel industry seems assured.

Locator Technology

It’s not just for cars, and it may soon apply to hotel guests and employees as well. With location-based services, guests can order services from anywhere in the hotel. SIP-DECT is already catching on in Europe. It is an alternative to VoWLAN and radio-based networks that allows users to communicate while mobile. Hospitality management can use it to assist in managing hotel customer service and housekeeping employees.

Meeting Room Communications

Business nowadays runs on technology. Meeting rooms of the future need more than comfortable chairs and Internet reception. User-friendly videoconferencing and multimedia technology are required for the tech-dependent meetings of the future.

Social Media Business Intelligence

Online ratings and comments make or break hospitality businesses. When customers are happy, the social media universe heads your way. When they say negative things, potential guests go to the hotel across the street. Social listening tools are being increasingly employed by the hospitality industry to discover what people are saying all over the Internet. These tools even provide information on competitors.