A digital concierge can benefit the hospitality industry by creating a seamless customer journey from the pre-booking phase through to post-stay. This digitally-optimized tool allows hotels to provide a first-class customer service experience along the way, allowing guests to resolve their doubts, confirm their bookings and chat with the front desk about any obstacles that might be inhibiting them from booking.
Due to the rise of third party booking sites such as OTAs, a digital concierge proves to be a powerful tool to drive direct bookings, going above and beyond the service offered by third parties. Increased customer satisfaction and a personalized experience sets your hotel apart from the OTA listing so that customers will be enticed to book directly instead of through a third party.
In this article we will look at what a digital concierge is and why hotels use this service, as well as the benefits. So let’s get started.
What is a digital concierge?
Now that we’ve looked briefly at how digital concierges benefit the hospitality industry, let’s look at what exactly they are.
A digital concierge, also known as a virtual concierge, is a type of artificial intelligence that can be used to provide assistance to hotel guests. It is a customer-facing technology that is often used with mobile devices to provide information beyond what would traditionally be provided by a concierge, like flight status or weather forecast. In addition, it also can provide services a traditional concierge would, such as planning events, arranging to have flowers sent to the room, or booking a restaurant.
Hotels can develop their own virtual concierge through an app, on their website, on in-room televisions, or through a hotel software solution. For example, Mews offers a virtual concierge that allows guests to be in charge of their own experience from the time they book. They can check in and out of the hotel online and send direct messages, allowing guests to contact you during their stay, among many other services.
Hotels using this kind of service have noted reduced turnover, increased ROI and increased loyalty thanks to an enhanced level of service.
Why do hotels use a digital concierge?
Hotels use a virtual concierge for a variety of uses. One of the main uses is to make the guest experience more seamless. Instead of worrying about whether there will be someone to check them in if they arrive late, guests can check in on their own. Checking out early? Guests can put in a special request for an early breakfast with the swipe of a finger. It can also be used to guide the guest to their room and other on site locations.
Virtual concierges have many marketing uses as well. They can be used to drive bookings and restaurant reservations within the hotel, or to promote onsite amenities and guest resources. Allowing guests to book these services more easily takes away the barrier to booking.
What are the benefits of using a digital concierge in hotels?
There are a lot of benefits to using a digital concierge in hotels, such as saving on human resources, increasing customer satisfaction, promoting services, and the ability to help guests more efficiently. So let’s take a look one by one.
Save on human resources
One of the key benefits of a virtual concierge is the fact that you can save on human resources. You essentially give guests the tools to educate themselves to help themselves rather than rely on staff to help them. In addition, guests can get instantaneous information such as directions and set their own wake up calls.
This way, staff can focus on giving an optimal service and helping guests with matters that can’t be helped by this kind of software. With an online tool like a virtual concierge, you can even save on having a full time concierge, and delegate their tasks to the front desk because you will essentially have a virtual staff member.
Increase customer satisfaction
Nothing is more disgruntling to a guest than having to wait in a long line to ask a simple question. This is where a digital concierge comes in. Simple questions can be answered in just a click, or via instant messages sent to their mobile application. Being able to resolve things quickly helps with guest satisfaction because they feel like they are being helped and having a personalized experience.
In addition, a virtual concierge increases customer satisfaction in terms of late check-ins or early check-outs, taking away the stress on hotel staff. With a virtual assistant, guests can check in while they’re en route to the hotel, so if they arrive tired from a long trip, instead of waiting to be attended to, they can go directly to their room upon arrival.
Help guests more efficiently
Virtual concierges also allow you to help guests more efficiently because the simple problems can be answered by their smartphones. They can upgrade their rooms, request a wake up call, make their own reservations for amenities such as spa services, or even request a table at the hotel restaurant. You no longer have to have dedicated staff to help with these simple requests.
Furthemore, when we talk about efficiency, it’s undebatable that digital is simply faster. Beyond check-ins and check-outs, digital concierges are able to help guests easily with their extensive database. This can include maps and directions, phone numbers, quick access to answers to specific frequently asked questions.
Promotion of services
One of the most notable benefits of a virtual concierge is the ability to promote services and cross-sell without being too obvious. The curious guest will browse through the virtual concierge, and discover that they can easily book amenities and a table at the hotel’s restaurant with the help of the assistant.
Perhaps your staff may forget to suggest other services upon check-in, but with a digital concierge, you have the ability to promote services directly to the guests from the app. It’s like a free advertising channel. You can also highlight local attractions and businesses with whom you have a partnership and allow them to book via the app, in this way easily managing commissions from these local partners.
Furthermore, you can drive future bookings by offering guests a discount if they book a future reservation while staying at the hotel from the virtual concierge. In summary, it’s a great way to upsell, drive bookings, and promote onsite amenities.
With the advent of everything digital, and the rise of the digitally-savvy customer, guests will increasingly expect some kind of digital interaction during their stay. Millennial travelers continue to accumulate more spending power, and creating a strong digital guest experience for them can help facilitate a seamless, convenient stay.
Virtual concierges have a lot of benefits, which we have looked at throughout the duration of this article. Those include the ability to help guests more efficiently, increase customer satisfaction, promote services and save on human resources. Virtual concierges are used for a variety of uses, but the main reason to use one is to ensure brand loyalty which in turn leads to repeat bookings. It can also help guests take the hotel experience into their own hands, ensuring that they get what they want out of their time at the hotel, and want to keep coming back.
Eva Lacalle | 28 April 2021
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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