Maciej Głowacki and Bartosz Pałka (Espondi) are the authors of the article published on LinkedIn

 

In the first part of the article I stated that I perceive the offer as a whole. In order to sell something (and we have only a few hours to do so) we need to present it to our guest in such a way that a customer from the 21st century is accustomed to. There are few people who do not use smartphones or mobile phones, and in the next dozen or so months this percentage is going to be lower than ever.
 
 
What does the Hotel360 app implementation look like? What are the challenges that a hotel has to face?
 

Implementation is a specific kind of audit that immediately verifies the following aspects:

- the condition of infrastructure (IT, electrics),

- marketing department,

- sales department,

- shift management.

 

Among the most frequent problems that hotels face are the ones with infrastructure and promotional materials.

 

Tablet z aplikacją Hotel360

 
Content. Where is the content?
 

1. Photos – to quote a Chinese proverb: “A picture is worth a thousand words”. We should stress that although it seems blatantly obvious, this is the place where the hard part begins. Theoretically, we know that we sell by means of a picture, but hotels usually do not have their own stock of photos. We lack pictures of available attractions, SPA treatments or dishes from the hotel’s menu. Even if there are some, it turns out that the list is incomplete. Additionally, such photos are all completely different (they were taken at different times and in different styles). Let’s not delude ourselves that we will be saved by ‘stock’ pictures, as they are too artificial. Most importantly, they don’t show our premises, hence they don’t build up trust. There’s no other way – we need to solve the problem, take some photos and then regularly update the list. We need pictures both to implement the solution and promote the hotel on social media (on Facebook, Instagram, Linkedln).

2. Descriptions – descriptions of dishes from the menu are a good starting point, but the Hotel360 app gives hoteliers a chance to display their skills. We aren’t limited by the size of the paper menu; thus we can spread our wings (but not too much… we still sell by means of a picture). What’s more, we should remember about our foreign visitors, so we should provide them with translations of the descriptions of what the hotel offers. The English-speaking version is not enough, although that’s what we should start with.

3. Opening hours – that goes without saying. The opening dates and hours of the SPA zone, restaurants etc. should be included in the material.

 
 
Infrastructure
 

1. Internet – this is the basic way in which a modern hotel should function (according to research carried out by hotels.com on the basis of a questionnaire filled in by 25 million guests, Wi-Fi is a must in hotels). One or two places where one can connect to the Internet are not enough, the devices given should be fully configured and should handle a frequency range for Wi-Fi: 2,4 GHz and 5 GHz. What is important is that for safety reasons a public network (available for hotel guests) should be isolated from an internal network by means of VLAN mechanisms.

A Wi-Fi signal must be available in all rooms, whereas according to Espondi’s experience, problems with the signal occur in the vast majority of hotels. Even relatively new premises which declare that their Wi-Fi system is working properly have problems with implementation, which often ends up with staff looking for some lost devices in the hotel’s attic.

Problemy z siecią w hotelu

We often see that it is all about savings. We need to remember that guests using the internet should be easily able to move around their room. It doesn’t matter whether we connect with the internet when we are sitting on the sofa or at the table, using our phone or tablet should never cause any problems. Wi-Fi accessibility should be checked everywhere in the room – not only near the door. When testing the signal, we should empathize with our guest. Where would I go and what would I do with my smartphone if I were in his shoes?

Apart from problems with being out of range, we must also not forget about the bandwidth. Internet access at a speed that reminds us of the “golden age” of dialled modem connections is more annoying for a hotel guest that having no Wi-Fi at all. In spite of the fact that Wi-Fi is the basis of the hospitality industry, wireless network coverage is still a huge problem for a number of hotels. We tend to forget that a guest should have the possibility to request what he needs!

If you have a problem with infrastructure, you should seek professional assistance, for example from merizon.eu. Beware of ‘magicians’ and con artists, whose short-term help does not solve any problems and in the long run it turns out that you need to pay twice for the same service. You simply waste your time and, above all, money. At best, that might lead to problems during implementation, but – at worst – your guests may be very embittered.
 
2. Electrical sockets – a tablet with the Hotel 360 app must always be on standby, that’s why we need to ensure a separate power supply. A specially separated electrical circuit must never be cut off, either when a guest takes out his card or when nobody is staying in the room. The socket should be controlled from BMS, then each system will be able to control charging the tablet. Espondi proposes a tablet powered by a magnetic cable known for charging Apple’s laptops. This idea allows us to protect the laptop’s charging socket from damage, which has always been a problem of such solutions.
 

Tablet z aplikacją Hotel360

 

3. Place of installation – the choice of a suitable place is also very important. Tablets are usually installed on tables, thus it is crucial not to put them next to a coffee set or a kettle, as there have been individual cases of accidental spilling of water on the devices. Tablets may also be mounted permanently on the wall bracket.
 
 
Processes. Should we change them? No, we don’t have to!
 
There’s no need to change anything if you want to implement Espondi’s Hotel360 solution. Let’s discuss the case of ordering a dessert with the aid of ‘room service’.
 
The traditional way of placing an order is as follows:

1. The guest looks through a paper leaflet,
2. The guest calls the reception desk and places an order,
3. The reception notifies the kitchen whose cooks prepare the order,
4. A waiter delivers the order to the room, the guest signs for it,
5. The waiter goes back to the reception and enters a certain amount of money to the PMS.

The same process according to the Hotel360 solution:

1. The guest searches for a dessert on the tablet,
2. The guest orders it by tapping it on the tablet’s screen,
3. The order is sent first to the PMS, then to the kitchen and a waiter; the charge for the dessert automatically goes to the PMS.
4. The waiter delivers the order to the room.

As can be seen, nothing has changed in the process itself, although one element has been eliminated, namely the direct contact with the reception desk, which can instead focus on its tasks. From the hotel’s perspective, the process has been automated. The charge for the order was automatically added to the PMS and the information about the order is always very precise.
 
To sum up, from the process side, implementation of the Hotel360 app does not require any modifications and if such occur, they only concern a small part of the process. Moreover, implementation allows us to obtain information crucial for the sales and marketing department, e.g. what hotel guests search for, how often they choose a given option etc.
 
 
Marketing and Sales Department, what are you waiting for?!
 
Sales and marketing receive a tool by means of which they may conduct experiments and observe the effects of their actions in real time. This week they may offer a 20% discount on massages and next week they may apply a 30% discount and compare the effects of their ideas. What gave them better results? Maybe there was only a slight difference. Then, let’s try another idea – a 50% discount on the second massage – what will the guests do now?
 

Tablet z aplikacją Hotel360

 
Let’s search for a perfect business solution for each hotel! The business model will differ with regard to the type.
 
We should offer additional attractions, such as ski ticket booking, lessons with a skiing instructor, an individual tour guide or organized trips – why not? Everything depends on the marketing department’s creativity. All in all, our aims are to earn and be better than others!
 
Are you ready to implement Hospitality solutions at your premises?
Remember that following current trends in the hotel industry, the question should begin with “When”, not “Why”…