Why a “Modern Concierge” Mindset is the Need for Saving Grace Hotels to Recover |

With hotels in sync with the need for technology upgrades, there’s never been a better time to embrace modern concierge solutions designed to meet the demands of tracking guest preferences, driving sales and improve operations.

By Jon Squire, CEO and Co-Founder, CardFree – 06.17.2022

Hotels have seen their fair share of turbulence over the past two years, but business is starting to improve as we weather the lasting effects of the pandemic. Travel demand has reached new heights since the global pandemic, with travel costs rising across the board; air travel to hotel rooms has increased by 34% and 40% (respectively) since last February.

Dubbed the year of the “new” traveler and with summer upon us, travel demand shows no signs of slowing down; more than 70% of Americans are stepping up their travel plans this year, a 10% increase since last summer.

At the same time, what has also accelerated (and intensified due to the pandemic) are the heightened needs and wants of today’s consumers. Customer expectations of the hospitality industry have declined during the peak of the pandemic due to shutdowns and social distancing, limiting the use of hotel amenities and people interaction. As low as their expectations were then, customers now look forward to the experiences they have become accustomed to: convenience, flexibility and simplicity.

Despite ongoing labor shortages and staffing issues, hotels are beginning to regain momentum after the pandemic, paving a new path for the entire industry. What more will it take for hotels to stay ahead of the game and uniquely improve the guest experience at every touchpoint, from check-in to lounging by the pool? In a world where guest demand is at an all-time high and a superb guest experience is non-negotiable, how do hotels combat the pressure on staff to deliver on the promise to ensure guests are happy and satisfied?

Today’s hotels need an upgrade and a renewed mindset.

The success of the travel industry has always been based on customer service, and the hotel industry thrives (or not) on the level of customer satisfaction. Strong guest relationships have long been the foundation of hotel success: brand loyalty from guests means they will keep coming back and, ultimately, for hotels, profits increase.

But even today’s modern guests are redefining their affinity with a hotel and what keeps them coming back, and technology is certainly playing a role in guest satisfaction. From booking a room to booking dinners with ease, technology has shaped guest expectations and preferences for more than room upgrades or discounts on future stays.

The reality is that historically, hotels and the hospitality industry have been reluctant to embrace technological advancements – long before the pandemic began.

From outdated websites to clunky check-in systems and inefficient room service, some hotels today still face challenges adapting their operations to the demands of today’s guests. Many of today’s frustrated guests express disappointment with the interaction with the hotel, especially with the long wait times for the front desk to respond to in-room requests. Plus, the access to outdated technology in the rooms makes what’s supposed to be a pleasant, relaxing experience less hectic and memorable.

Digitized hotel experiences are not nice to have; it is imperative.

What ultimately held hotels back from scaling up is no longer negotiable to bounce back and recover from the past two years.

Technology has changed the parameters of guest loyalty, and hotels providing guests with pleasant yet frictionless interaction means working harder to digitize their operations. The hotel and hospitality industry recognizes that its ability to rebound is highly dependent on improving its technology capabilities, as 78% of hoteliers plan to increase their investment in hotel technology over the next three years . Major hotel brands such as Virgin Hotels have embraced new, never-before-seen digital experiences that guests crave.

With hotels in sync with the need for technology upgrades, there’s never been a better time to embrace modern concierge solutions designed to meet the demands of tracking guest preferences, driving sales and improve operations.

At CardFree, we’ve worked with several innovative hotels to embrace this new wave of customer journey improvement to create a seamless digital hotel experience long before check-in. With Concierge, guests staying with our clients like Great Wolf Lodge can enjoy the benefits of contactless interaction without compromising their experience and entertainment – ​​all at their fingertips.

Guests who prefer to stay in their room can enjoy in-room ordering directly from their phone without downloading an app. Guests who prefer al fresco loungers can order and enjoy poolside cocktails and bites without heading to the on-site hotel restaurant or venturing to their rooms to order over the phone. Thanks to QR codes and geolocated ordering, customers can order and pay directly from their mobile device and have it delivered directly to their home.

Simply put, guests get the benefit of a modern concierge, having the hotel’s amenities in their pocket and on demand. It’s not just a win-win situation for customers; our customers have seen a marked improvement in employee satisfaction, which has helped to resolve staffing issues. The integration of self-managed kiosks allows customers to skip the long line to order lunch, get their meals quickly and enjoy them wherever they want, alleviating the growing pressures on staff at the hotel in terms of customer service and quality standards.

These digital enhancements have improved food order growth by more than 60% for the hotels we work with. This is especially important given that many hotels have struggled to accommodate the dietary preferences and changing lifestyles of today’s travellers.

Although it is expected that it will take at least several more years for the US hospitality industry to experience a full recovery that mimics pre-pandemic levels, hotels now have the power to be more intentional about bouncing back after. which has been a whirlwind of disappointment for Enterprise. Hoteliers who capitalize on technological advancements across their business are getting a leg up on the competition—improving the new way guests travel, restoring hope to exhausted staff, and turning the tide on weakened sales these days. last years. We’re still scratching the surface of the potential of modern concierge services for the hospitality industry, and frictionless experiences will lead the charge for what’s to come.

Jon Squire is the CEO and co-founder of CardFree. He has over 20 years of business, marketing and product development experience in financial services and emerging technologies. Jon founded CardFree in 2012 with the vision to fill a gap in the market for an integrated commerce platform for large merchants. Jon constantly drove innovation and created world-class product offerings in new categories. He launched the nation’s first mobile P2P offering in partnership with Sprint and PayPal and is well known for his cutting-edge work with NFC, barcodes and alternative technologies that integrate with the point of sale. Earlier in his career, he also led mobile payment/e-commerce initiatives for Wells Fargo and led E*TRADE consulting services.

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