If you’re reading this, chances are you work in the hospitality industry and are more than familiar with the art of delivering exceptional guest service. However, I invite you to take a few minutes to read up on how guest engagement platforms are empowering forward-thinking businesses to increase both guest satisfaction and profitability.
I often see venues devote much of their time and budget to the next hot guest experience, attraction, or technology, without considering how it will engage their guests. Sure, it may initially draw guests, but will it lead to higher guest satisfaction and loyalty, as well as increased profitability?
I spent the first 14 years of my career in hospitality as a guest service provider, and I’m still focused on customer service, albeit from a different angle. I now empower operators and their employees to increase customer satisfaction through technology. I understand the potential impact of a well-executed engagement platform, and statistics show that guests are eager to use this type of technology.
Turn Every Visit Into a ‘Wow!’ Experience
I recently returned home from a large resort, which felt more like a boutique hotel because of their style of service. Employees extended a courteous greeting upon every encounter, provided personalized turndown service, and treated me like family. However, I’m most excited about future visits because the property is in the midst of expanding their guest engagement platform. Soon, employees will have instant access to real-time and historical guest data, empowering them to take guest service to a whole new level.
Knowledge is power and having guest information at their fingertips via technology will allow them to surprise and delight customers. When I return, I hope to be welcomed at my favorite restaurant by name, with my usual drink and a chef-recommended entrée. Small touches like these are the difference between a work trip and an experience to text home about.
Make Special Occasions That Much More Memorable
As for guests celebrating a personal occasion, such as a birthday, anniversary, graduation, or hard-earned family getaway, a guest engagement platform built on technology can lead to unexpected, magical experiences. Customers create their own unique profile through the platform, and employees are notified of important occasions and personal preferences, so they can turn a special day into a lifelong memory. Personalized guest service, from spontaneous well wishes to unexpected treats to exclusive opportunities, can transform a casual visitor into a loyal customer.
Memorabilia Made Easy—And Shareable
Another example of a modern convenience that I’ve seen introduced by some trailblazing attractions: Cameras located in key areas throughout a venue to capture priceless, candid moments from angles unavailable to guests’ cameras. Customers can view and purchase these photos from the venue’s app at their convenience—even weeks afterwards. Not having to drag your exhausted kids to the photo center at the exit is what I call a big guest win. As a bonus, often times these photos can be shared to social media with the touch of a button.
Gamify Interactions to Make Engaging Fun
Personally, my preferred guest engagement tool is gamification, which is taking something that is not a game and applying game mechanics to increase user engagement, happiness and loyalty. Guests interact with their surroundings — whether it be employees, objects or experiences — and their achievements are rewarded with digital and/or physical prizes. The reward for the venue: Guests cannot wait to return and play more!
Provide the Convenience for Better Relaxation
Of course, some guests are just looking to chill out, and are seeking low-stress, frictionless experiences, particularly on vacation. Convenience, like cashless transactions, are becoming an expectation, and guest engagement platforms allow customers to simply tap a card or wristband to make speedy—often spontaneous—purchases.
Every operator’s goal is to build and sustain relationships with their guests and create raving fans. These are the people who will return again and again, provide good word of mouth, and spend more of their hard-earned money at your venue.
These examples of platform-based guest service are just the tip of the iceberg, but clearly translate into greater returns. Personalized guest experiences and gamification create return customers; cashless transactions lead to unplanned, spontaneous spending; and frictionless, targeted retail opportunities, such as once-in-a-lifetime photo memories, result in added purchases.
Ultimately, guests return to places that understand what they like, make them feel special and provide value — with value holding a different meaning for each individual. A guest engagement platform enables operators to pinpoint and fulfill guests’ unique wants, a wise investment in long-term guest satisfaction and profitability.
The Vantage system is one example of a guest engagement platform designed to collect and interpret guest data, which operators use to wow their customers. If you’re curious about using technology to increase guest satisfaction and profits, contact us and we’ll be delighted to discuss your unique needs.