How can hoteliers make the most out of technology for their own growth and development plans?
Girish Grover, Managing Director at AG Hotels Group talks to Guestline about their strategy for growth.
'For me one of the things that makes me proudest to work within the hospitality sector is the sheer resilience and determination that has been displayed time and again in recent months. And as restrictions ease and the world continues to open up, growth looks ever more positive.
Whilst we are now meeting again face to face, for me the foundation throughout, alongside the best people in the business, has been the technology that is available. Technology has always been a cornerstone of our business and happily there has been a huge advance in software and tools that are now at our disposal. All of which have been fundamental in enabling us at AG Hotels Group to continue to build and which all hoteliers should ensure are part of their strategy for growth.'
Here Girish discusses his top five tools and tips for how hoteliers can make the most out of technology for their own growth and development plans:
1. Online check-in / out and payments
Taking management of guest arrivals and payments online pays real dividends in terms of boosting efficiency across your operation. Offering guests the opportunity to enter their own data via an online check-in means that staff are not wasting time on unnecessary paperwork, and the guest can enjoy a much smoother check-in process at their leisure, as our Guestline PMS is also automatically updated with key information and guest preferences. The same applies to online payments. In a similar vein to GuestStay for check-in / out, the GuestPay solution offers guests the option to pay their pre-stay deposit or full invoice via a secure online PayLink. Frictionless and efficient, allowing you and your team more time to focus on the guest and future plans.
2. Flexible team management and communication
As well as online functions for check-in / out and payments, our team management and communication has moved online and become more flexible. Whether that be accessing the systems off-site, via an app or video calling it means we haven’t had to compromise or lose pace when important discussions need to happen and decisions need to be made – whether that be managing guests, negotiating with suppliers, managing staff rotas or planning future packages, offers or building and refurbishment projects.
As the PMS is hosted in the cloud, we can still access our systems remotely so staff can work off-site if need be and still have access to everything on their laptops. And the same principle applies to external communication too. Staff have an open line of communication so they feel qualified and able to deliver an exceptional service to our guests.
3. Guest communication and upsells
Just as technology can be deployed effectively internally, the same principle applies externally. We have used a host of tools and platforms to harness and work with guest feedback, track service levels and crucially identify where improvements can be made so once again, we can plan as effectively as possible for the future. With the Guestline PMS integration with TrustYou and Medallia, guests are invited to give their feedback within 24 hours of departure and we are able to review that feedback and take swift, timely responses as needed. Whether that be passing on positive feedback to a team member to boost morale or addressing any issues that might have arisen.
In tandem with building better guest relations and loyalty, we have also focused on building guest communications channels and the guest experience with access to different platforms to support upselling. For example, offering upsells such as breakfast or late check-out bookable via the landing page on our website can enhance the guest’s stay and drive incremental revenue for us.
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Since the pandemic QR codes have seen a huge growth in adoption. The NHS app in particular which has supported the vaccine drive has meant that the general public has been more willing to use QR codes as part of everyday life. And we, like many hoteliers, have also been swift to adopt them as part of our everyday operations. Whether it is to enable guests to give reviews directly to the hotel team who can take the appropriate action, rather than via a public forum such as TripAdvisor, or for our loyalty members who can scan the code and then leave their details.
5. Revenue management and reporting
Using an automated Revenue Management System (RMS) is another really powerful way to increase efficiency and importantly increase revenues to again enable you to realise your ambitions for future growth and development. Harvesting live data and reports on rates from a host of sources (for example STR and OTAs) means we are able to access the highest quality pricing recommendations and in turn implement an effective pricing strategy. It also means we can adapt rates as and when needed. And as with other software and tools the principle of flexible, live access means that all departments can see at a glance the current rates and advise guests accordingly.
Happily for the industry there is a really broad spectrum of software and platforms at our disposal. Taking the time to ensure it is employed effectively will be well spent when you are looking to turn future plans for growth into reality.
By Girish Grover, Managing Director at AG Hotels Group.
"Our team management and communication has moved online and become more flexible- we haven’t had to compromise or lose pace when important discussions need to happen"
"Taking management of guest arrivals and payments online pays real dividends"
"Tracking guest feedback and service levels helps us identify where improvements can be made & pass on positive feedback to a team member to boost morale"
- Girish Grover, Managing Director - AG Hotels Group
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