Going Contactless: How Hotels Can Provide A Contactless Service In Today’s World

June 4, 2020
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“Technology is an integral part of modern life. It can be utilized to extend the personal human touch”

With the pandemic having taken the world by storm and gaining asperity day by day on a scale unprecedented, every industry is bearing the brunt of it. Surely, its impact on the travel and hospitality industry is just unfathomable with the airlines ceasing their operations and occupancies going down in hotels. It’s uncertain when the ordeal will get over. But life has to go on…

While the world gladly embraces the concept of social distancing, inculcating this practice in their day-to-day affairs, it is important for the hotels to entail new standard operating procedures that rely heavily on maintaining social distancing while doing business. Getting cue from this, a new phrase has been gaining ground which is one of “contactless hospitality.” Also, referred to as the “contactless service,” this is a smart new-era practice with absolutely no or bare-minimum physical contact with the service provider (s) and is designed to run hotels or any other business not just in the post-COVID-19 world but also during the present times when people are still going through a traumatic experience, constantly being inundated with a hoard of anxiety-induced news regarding the surging crisis. It aims at taking the best of measures to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission alongside offering the guests a first-rate service that they truly deserve. That being said, it is true that hotels can provide a contactless service to their guests today.

Again, it will be important to build trust with guests before they arrive. In other words, the needs of the travelers are surely going to change and evolve and contactless hospitality is one way of meeting those expectations.

But before the hotels can provide a contactless service to their guests, it is important to first recognize the vital touchpoints in the customer journey through an accurate guest journey mapping. We’d recommend going through the guest journey mapping. This will help you understand typical guest touchpoints and identify the areas where you could add value for customers.

Hotels can provide a contactless service banner
Having done that, these are a few things that hotels can incorporate in their standard operating procedures to ensure that they are rendering a contactless plus customer-centric service to their guests at every touchpoint.

1. Contactless Check-Ins With Digital Welcome Kit or Micro Page

Undoubtedly, check-in is the first physical contact that a guest has with the hotel which marks the beginning of their entire in-hotel experience. Thus, it is important to cut down on this physical contact which is what social-distancing is all about. But how is it possible to welcome guests without even establishing contact? Yes, it’s possible to do so. In fact, some hotels are planning to banish the entire lobby concept altogether with customers walking to the front desk for help. In other words, they are planning to do away with the reception area by introducing mandatory mobile check-ins and check-outs. This is one of the excellent measures to control the lobby crowd. In fact, there is no need to even drop your room keys at the front desk at the check-out with the newly integrated and express technology. It is that safe! Some of the hotels are using this digital key program for a virtual check-in and check-out- one of the significant ways in which the hotels can provide a contactless service

Again, a PMS integration at this stage will work wonders by alerting the guests with a room ready text and granting them access to their rooms through “mobile keys.” This also helps the guests completely bypass the front-desk and skip the long queue and instead go directly to the room after a long, tiring trip. Definitely, this can be a great surprise to your guests upon arrival.

With technology you can do a lot more. With a Digital Welcome Kit or a MicroPage, you can help make the stay of your guests easier by providing all the information from A-Z. You can convey the WiFi password, breakfast timings, hours of operation, recommendations regarding things to do, local sightseeing, area & travel details, special services, food menu if you have an on-site restaurant, etc. through this micro page which again can be made visually appealing from an aesthetic viewpoint.

2. Contactless Food or Breakfast Delivery to the Room

The thought of a hotel or stay not offering breakfast would have been inconceivable to most of us Pre-Corona. Instead of suspending your breakfast service altogether, we suggest you keep up with that by allowing your guests the privilege of enjoying breakfast in the room. This can be done by allowing the guests to bring breakfast to the room in grab-and-go bags and relish it in their own space. By doing so, most of the hotels are offering a modern take on breakfast service: they are either serving pre-boxed meals or going from buffet to single-serve options. All in all, the idea is to minimize contact in every way possible.

3. Reducing the Housekeeping Frequency With Absolutely No-Contact With the Guests

While it has become all the more vital now to raise cleanliness and hygiene standards, it is equally important to ensure that even this is being done in a contactless manner. Some hotels are either reducing the housekeeping frequency by keeping it limited to twice a week or eliminating this service for good. In fact, in some hotels, there is no in-room housekeeping service per se now during the guest’s stay. On the other hand, there are hotels coming up with the idea of self-cleaning whereby the guests are given different kinds of bags upon arrival to keep their soiled bedding, soiled towels, and trash. When the stuff needs to be cleaned or disposed of, guests are to text the hotel and keep the bags outside their rooms after which they will be collected by the staff without even entering the room.
Again, some hotels are also downsizing the contents in the room so that there are fewer chances for the germs to spread, For instance, some are doing away with extra pillows, minibars, excess linen, etc.
In this connection, we would also like to mention that some hotels are even prepping their room before-hand by leaving a room vacant for about 24 hours or 3 days (if given out for medical purposes) usually before the next check-in to be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly.
4. Contactless Amenities

While it is good to suspend the special facilities like gym and pool for a while, big hotel chains are still trying to come up with a way in which they can make this work, at least for their fitness enthusiast-guests. Some of the hotels are allowing the option of letting a guest sign-up for a specific time slot to access the gym equipment or simply providing the guests with the in-room equipment for a socially distanced workout.

5. Minimizing Restaurant Area in Hotels

Hotels can provide a contactless service minimized restaurant area

This can be ensured by keeping fewer tables and chairs, reducing the banqueting service by paving way for distant seating in the placement of these tables and chairs. Again, instead of handing over the menu to the guests physically via a waiter or waitress, it’s good to provide them with a digital tablet menu or menu on the phone so that they can pre-order. If you do not really have an extended menu and are offering only quick bites, this can be done successfully through a digital concierge page where a tap can help the guests order seamlessly. It can be more like a QR-code supported ordering solution enabling guests to scan a QR code on his/her mobile, check the menu and then place the order via the mobile without even downloading an app.

However, it would be better to continue encouraging the guests to order a meal or à la carte to their rooms through Guest Messaging.
6. Cashless Payments
Hotels can provide a contactless service cashless payments
To minimize cash handling and exchange of currency (a great medium of physical contact), it is important to encourage your guests to go cashless in their payments for a contactless transaction. The motive behind this is to prevent the transmission of infection through currency notes. This also includes discarding the practice of handing over bills or payment receipts. The invoice will now be generated online and will be paid via the card.
7. Being Mindful in Terms of Room Allocation
Hotels can provide a contactless service social distancing in rooms
Adhering strictly to the doctrine of social distancing, some hotels are taking extra care in terms of room assignment, by placing the guests apart to ensure that there is no contact with other guests and no disturbance.
8. Contactless Checkout
Considering that all other touchpoints in the customer journey have been handled contactlessly, it is important to make sure that even the check-out is done the right way. Guests can simply check-out using their phone with simply a text. Furthermore, a post-check-out message can be sent thanking the guests and asking for their feedback to know what their overall experience was like. With cashless payments in place, even the invoice can be sent via text or email, making the overall experience seamless.
Why is Guest Messaging the Need of the Hour?
Hotels can provide a contactless service guest messaging

Since the guests will have no contact with the front desk, they will have to heavily rely on their smartphones throughout their stay. Here, Guest Messaging can come into play to help automate and optimize the guest experience at every touchpoint, right from the pre-arrival to check-in to check-out. With Guest Messaging, guests can digitally check-in and out, get digital concierge page, unlock their room, order services seamlessly from their rooms and can even make opt-in for extras that hotel has to offer, thereby enjoying an unhindered experience along with a reduced or almost zero dependability on hotel staff. Surely, it has the power to elevate the confidence and trust of the guests.

Surely, Guest Messaging comes loaded with a lot of benefits and is one of the most significant and highly used tools in the era of social distancing to ensure that you provide an uber-contactless service to your guests.

Conclusion

Technology is here to stay. So let’s not consider it impersonal. In fact, it is an integral part of modern life and can be utilized to extend the personal touch. This will help in providing an uber contactless service in the hospitality sector. As an effective tool, it will help adapt to this shift in the hotel culture due to the change in consumer behavior and expectations.

With GuestTouch, provide contactless service and easily communicate with guests and potential customers at all stages of their journey through robust and simple-to-use communication platforms like Guest Messaging enabling personalized guest experiences, operational excellence, and increased revenue.

Make your hotel more relevant, engaging, and personable when you integrate guest messaging into your daily operations. Schedule a free demo?

Have questions? We can help!

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