Three Critical Takeaways from HITEC New Orleans
Last week, Team Revinate was out in full force at HFTP’s annual HITEC event in New Orleans. The team was there to share some of Revinate’s new features, introduce new partnerships, and celebrate the success of our customers. One of my favorite things about HITEC is how it offers me the opportunity to meet with many of our customers and identify trends that they’re raising in hotel technology.
In my conversations with Revinate customers, one main theme came through: hoteliers are looking for new ways to engage and communicate with their guests. Some shared ideas on how they are currently doing it, and some shared wishes for the future. But, all of them agreed that guest engagement is a high priority to help set themselves apart from the competition in the coming year. Three topics came out in particular:
Engaging with guests to receive feedback during the stay was of particular interest. Hoteliers are getting creative about reaching their guests for feedback while they are still on property.
Expedia currently sends a short survey to those who book with them that covers the experience after check-in. I heard stories about how some hotels use this feedback to quickly address a guests needs, improving the guest experience before the guest checks out. They also use this opportunity to take a temperature gauge of the satisfaction of a particular guest.
The question is, how might a hotel do this on its own? One hotel group I spoke with has incorporated a survey that a guest can fill out right after they have signed into wifi. It’s clear from my conversations at HITEC that real-time feedback is a trending buzzword right now. Hoteliers want to nip guest issues in the bud before they become public in an online review.
Based on the discussions at HITEC, Revinate customers understand the importance of communicating with personalized messages to guests. But one of the barriers to their effective communication is very simple: they can’t send the type of targeted emails that encourage loyalty and new bookings if they don’t have the email addresses they need to send these emails.
Many hotels I spoke to are placing a high priority on collecting email addresses from guests. Some are are putting processes into place to incentivize staff to collect them at the front desk or at other touch points on property. Some hotels are also collecting email addresses when a guest signs into the hotel’s wifi.
Lastly, a big trend I heard both from customers and from others buzzing around the convention center floor was leveraging text messages to communicate with guests. This is a particularly hot topic, as this is the communication channel consumers tend to prefer for on-site communication. Text messaging is also particularly effective because the message is almost guaranteed to be read. About 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of their delivery – and over 99% of all text messages are read by the recipient, according to data from MobileSquared. Hotels are interested in leveraging this channel to make offers about events on site, or to collect feedback about service requests, especially while a guest is on property. (Clearly a mega-trend. See trend #1!)
Meeting with our customers is always enlightening as we love to hear about their experiences using Revinate. But, HITEC is also a particularly opportune time to hear about hotelier experiences engaging with guests as hospitality trends, technology, and forward-looking strategies are top of mind. Thanks to all for coming by to see us, and we look forward to HITEC Toronto 2017!