How the Hospitality Guest Journey Has Been Redefined Since Reopening in the ‘New Normal’

Reprinted from Filed by Alessandro Carrara.
Written by James Slatter, EMEA managing director at Agilysys.

Woman on vacation, in floppy hat wearing a COVID mask

The impact of COVID-19 on the hospitality industry has been dramatic and wide-ranging, and continues to redefine the guest journey. As guests engage with hotels, they expect not only superior accommodations and service, they now also demand a safe and healthy experience.

As a result, operators must find innovative ways to engage with guests using contactless, self-service options that keep revenue flowing while enforcing social distancing. This has led to the implementation of new service models, from touchless check-in to guest SMS communications, frequent deep cleaning protocols across the property, and more.

Agilysys is enabling the new guest journey with enhanced solutions to help implement a contactless environment that supports guest self-service, mobile check in/check out, digital keys, guest two-way communication, contactless payment, and mobile ordering. Ultimately, the aim is to improve the guest experience and increase efficiency while simplifying operations.

To enforce social distancing at the beginning of the stay, hotels are implementing guest self-service check-in/out through both guest mobile devices and lobby kiosks. And for those properties with keyless room locks, digital keys can add another option for guest self-service. With simple mobile device-based ID verification and mobile phone-enabled room keys, guests can experience a completely contactless check-in process. These solutions not only reduce queues at the front desk, they offer touchless alternatives that speed guests to their rooms.

The contactless experience also offers options for guest communications and room assignment. When the hotel is experiencing high room turnover, two-way SMS messaging can quickly alert new guests when their room is ready. And to maintain guest safety with deep cleaning protocols and occupied room spacing, PMS solutions can assign rooms based upon standard post-cleaning quarantine times and alternating room assignment.

To keep food & beverage revenue flowing in a post-COVID environment, properties must embrace Omnichannel ordering solutions that include online ordering for room service as well as take-out and delivery, kiosk-based quick-service ordering, and app-based ordering and payment. Furthermore, in a touchless environment for full-service dining, printed menus and table payment devices are being abandoned in favor of smart digital menus and contactless payments on guest mobile devices.

A quick scan of a table-side QR code to view a menu or pay a check ensures guest and staff health while increasing table turns. In addition, mobile table reservation and seating solutions can eliminate wait lines around the host station, while enforcing safe table assignment social distancing.

Back office and hotel operations can also benefit from the implementation of social-distancing protocols through automated mobile staff workflow and task management. Mobile device-based housekeeping and deep cleaning checklists, work assignments, and inspections can efficiently enforce new integrated resort-wide hygiene plans.

Guest service requests can be created and tracked using SMS communications between guests, service personnel and management. And preventive maintenance tasks can be assigned and managed with mobile integrated task management across all departments.

COVID has redefined the guest journey, but not the need for a superior and safe guest experience. From online booking to self-service check-in, to new room cleaning, assignment requirements, and safe dining alternatives, innovative solutions available today are helping hotel operators define and navigate the ‘new normal’.

By James Slatter, EMEA managing director at Agilysys

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