Global operational trends in hotels presented at HOW Festival in Poreč

Are you interested in improving the guest experience with technology? Technology is a powerful tool, but hotels are not yet using it to its full potential. Hotels need to do their best to provide the best experience for their guests, and today that requires a personalized approach, which is easy to achieve with technology.

At the beginning of October, we participated in the HOW Festival in Poreč, Croatia, to learn what hotels have to say about the use of modern technologies and digitalization of processes. The main goal of the festival is to present global operational trends in hotels and encourage them to introduce new products and services.


Another reason for attending the festival was to gain valuable information from presentations and panel discussions about hotel operations, as this helps us to develop solutions that solve real problems of hotels and also help to improve the experience of employees and guests.


In summary, hotels should improve the guest experience and provide guests with an exceptional and personalized experience that exceeds their expectations.


Everyone agreed that providing such an experience requires ongoing training for employees, who are already underserved. As a guest experience designer at Nevron IPTV, I saw an opportunity where the IPTV solution in the hotel would benefit not only the guests, but also the staff. You may be wondering how ...


For example, room cleanliness (93%) and staff helpfulness (72%) are "very or extremely important" to overall guest satisfaction. These results show the importance of hiring and training good staff. - Oracle Hospitality - Phocuswright Study



Technology for hotel staff: how internal operations can improve the guest experience with technology


It's true that Nevron's IPTV solutions, like all others, are primarily focused on delivering information, entertainment and experiences to guests.


The goal of digitizing such services is to reduce the burden on staff, allowing them to focus more on the personalized guest experience. Panelist Srdjan Milenkovic, senior vice president of operations for EAME at Hyatt International, provided good insight into how this saved time can be used - for example, a receptionist could use it to provide more valuable interactions to guests. Instead of telling guests where certain services are located, they could simply ask how their day was or how they liked the hotel's services so far. This means maximizing the value of the staff and taking the guest experience to a new level.


Another panelist, Sabina Bartyzel, Area Manager in Hungary for Accor Hotels, mentioned that even a simple change can cause problems or stress for staff.


An IPTV solution can actually alleviate the issues associated with this learning journey by simply delivering valuable training content to hotel staff. Panelist John Bartlett, Head of Performance Reporting & Insights for EMEA at InterContinental Hotels Group, said that one of the necessary elements for True Hospitality is a knowledgeable and skilled staff. This knowledge and skill is the foundation for trust and helps them get the job done.

When you first start a job, you probably remember how much time and brain power you spent learning new things and wondering if you were doing everything right. Later, as you gained knowledge and experience, your learning curve became shorter, and you were able to put that energy into improving your performance - which means you can make your guests happier with a personalized approach.



Technology for hotel guests: how you can give them a memorable experience



Peter Loesch, Director of Maistra Luxury Division, said at the 2018 HOW Festival in Porec that hotels play it safe, which means they only use technology when it is accepted by the majority.


From our experience, we agree. Nowadays, more and more hotels need interactive TV (ITV), not only for 4K or HD channels, but also to use a large TV screen as a new tool for advertising services in guests' rooms, improving the guest experience.


Interesting data was presented by Andrew Aley, regional director for EMEA at TripAdvisor Experiences [4]. His data showed that 85% of guests plan their activities while they are in the hotel, not before. 50% of users used the "Show nearby activities" button, which allows hotels to increase revenue by recommending nearby services, for example through the Nevron ITV advertising platform.


Not only can they recommend local services, but they can also use ITV to upsell and cross-sell their own services and products. Upselling encourages the guest to buy a comparable, high-value product, while cross-selling allows the guest to buy related or complementary products.


Both offers have distinct advantages and can be very effective when used together. This may sound a bit intimidating to someone who does not know how to use them in practice.


Employees need to know what guests like so they know what to offer them.


To know what they like, they need to talk to them or observe them. They must constantly be able to recognize the opportunity to provide guests with a memorable experience. This requires a lot of time and expertise in human behavior. Luxury hotels have concierges who do this job, but not all hotels can afford it, so others must have these skills. Not only do they have to do their job, but they also have to be psychologists, marketers and analysts.


Why not leave that to technology like HRS, which can capture guest preferences across an entire property? For example, they can know what guests have eaten and what services they have used, and offer them upsell and cross-sell products in their room via an ITV solution on TV or their smartphone.


Such systems also help staff target guests more personally by offering them the services they want, such as their favorite wine. This can lead to a great guest experience that increases the likelihood that the guest will return.


The panelists confirmed that they would like to use communication tools that can be used between guests. They also mentioned that in the future, there may be a need for a staff member whose only job is to talk to and guide guests traveling alone. A chat app could fill that gap. If guests make their preferences known, other guests could see who else in the hotel is visiting the same museum or conference and invite them to go there together.


Guests like to use new technologies in hotels.


Sabina Bartyzel from Accor Hotels said that at her hotels, 47% of guests check in online and 97% check out online.
Some would argue that this type of technology is not appropriate for luxury hotels because there is no personalized approach. It's about having choice.


If a guest is extroverted, they would probably prefer to chat with the receptionist and still have a great guest experience. If a guest is an introvert and does not like to talk to others, why not give them the best check-in experience? Or maybe someone who is in a hurry or tired?


Not to mention the long lines at check-out, even if the front desk staff does their best to get the guest out of the hotel quickly. It reminds us of the long lines in front of city offices when you wanted to get some papers. Nowadays, even most forms are available online. If hotels want to take an even more personalized approach, they need to have the knowledge and tools to do so.


Read also how technology, especially the interactive website TV, can help hotel staff improve the overall guest experience.


Elina Komlanc

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Elina Komlanc
Published on July 3, 2021

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