In Newsletter #5: 6 Leaders on the Present & Future Importance of In-Room Tech; Using Gamification to Reward Staff Creativity; Rethink your Vouchers Program.
Why it matters: Our CEO, Justin Effron, was recently invited to participate in a great Skift podcast on the future of in-room tech and this roundtable on in-room tech is a nice follow on.
In-room tech has continued to be a topic of much interest and debate. For marketing it seems to be a real gem, who doesn’t want to write about the next big thing. But we have to agree with Mr. Wali here that “personal technology has surpassed in-room hotel technology to the point of no return. With annual upgrade cycles for consumer technology devices, hotels can no longer spend enough to catch up.” With this in mind simplification is key. Enhancing the guest experience through technology is “not about filling a room with all the possible gadgets” says Mr. Högefjord. Agreed - it is about simplifying the existing experience and habits your guests have through easy to use and relevant technology.
At ALICE, we recently released the ability for hotels to text guests. By our own admission, this is not ground-breaking in its nature (it may even be a step back from the rest of our tech!) but our hotels weren’t facilitating this increasingly preferred method of communication, and the early results are extremely positive. Who here has really ever had trouble turning their lights off? Instead, who would love to have an alcoholic beverage waiting for you upon your arrival after a 12-hour journey? Or better yet, have the peace and mind that your room has been cleaned because you received an update on your mobile app…? Using your smartphone as a remote control for your room will surely come, but for now, let’s get the simple and essential tasks completed first.
Why it matters: Four Seasons has started to track the average check amount of its waitstaff. We love this – not for its Big Brother-esque potential increase in revenue (although that is one nice take away from the article and one that will surely get Avero a few calls) but for its Gamification. For so many years we have seen innovation and creativity by hotel employees blocked by corporate rules and procedures. And here is a big company pushing their staff to dig deeper and do more to service the guest. And even better, they are rewarding, and more importantly (in motivational psychology), recognizing their staff for doing so.
Such a data-driven and gamified approach can apply to every facet of the hotel world. Every single team back and front of house should find ways to gamify operations and to allow the entrepreneurial employee to deliver a magical moment. Yes, there need to be some rules, but why not give your employees some creative license to improve the guest experience, or push the boundaries on the quickest way to clean a room? For one, they know your hotel better than anyone and if there is going to be any process innovation or superior experience, it will more likely come from within. For those of you that want to geek out on Gamification: Octalysis by Yu-Kai Chou is a great framework. For the rest of you, let your employees compete in some arenas - it can only add to the fun and reward you in happier guests and more aligned and eager staff.
Why it matters: We’re sure some of you will skip this, but if you are a hotelier or were previously a marketer please note that “some luxury hotels generate in excess of £1M ($1.5M) a year” on an item that is rarely even redeemed: vouchers. So for those of you thinking about creative ways to push through your year’s end numbers, here are some great tactics on re-energizing your loyalty program and some tactical ways to help the marketing team in so doing. Recalling the above piece about gamification – don’t feel the need to come up with creative experiences yourself. Host a competition for all of your employees and reward the winning vouchers (those that sell best) with free nights at the hotel. Both of these suggestions are free and since most of the vouchers won’t even be redeemed, this is practically a pure profit experiment. Our one request: please send the best (and worst) ideas to us, we would love to see them!