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For faster tracking of your Tax Free shopping refund enter your Tax Free form details below. Do not include any spaces or hyphens - just the numbers and letters only.

 

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Delighting guests with connected systems

Delighting guests with connected systems


24 August 2022


After years of travel restrictions, many of us are eager to renew our love affair with hotels. But hoteliers are facing more challenges than ever – not least of which are fragmented tech systems preventing them delivering the perfect stay. Our solution? Connected commerce…

Today’s hotel is more than a bedroom for the night: it’s a preferred brand, providing a palette of services. Sector leaders go one better, offering a lifestyle membership experience and a choice of on- and off-site restaurants and amenities.

 

But for me, the real difference comes when I stay at a hotel where the staff do all they can to delight me with a joined-up, painless experience that inspires me to come back soon.

 

Sadly, that doesn’t always happen, and I’d say outdated tech is one of the main reasons. All too often dedicated hotel staff are left battling fragmented and clunky systems, leading to frustrated guests. Startling figures from Cornell University show that keeping guests waiting as little as five minutes during the check-in process can lower satisfaction rates by 50 per cent, which inevitably leads to lost business and negative reviews.

 

But we know it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to connected commerce, hoteliers can recapture the magic of hospitality for their guests, and the good news is the rewards are significant for those that get it right. Research reported in Harvard Business Review shows that raising client retention rates by just five per cent improves profits by at least 25 per cent – and sometimes by as much as 95 per cent.

 

The frustration of unconnected systems

 

Let’s start with check-in. My biggest gripe is when the front-desk makes a fresh request for the card details I’ve already entered to make my booking.

 

I also find it frustrating when the hotel doesn’t recognise that I’ve stayed there before – particularly when I’ve rebooked purely because my last stay was so enjoyable.

 

Unfortunately, however delightful the staff, our experience as a guest is compromised if a hotel’s technology systems are disconnected. This can make every interaction – from buying a drink at the bar to booking outings to checking out – more difficult than it need be. Opportunities to please, to cross-sell, and to enhance margins, are also lost.

 

I notice these things because Planet exists to optimise connected commerce, overcoming fragmented systems and providing a single guest view and a painless payment experience.

 

For us, it’s about removing the niggles. We can put the hotelier and their staff in complete control of the guest journey, helping them ensure members and guests have an enjoyable and consistent experience by connecting the online travel agent (OTA) system with the hotel’s property management system (PMS) and payments.

 

This means they’re better able to recognise and integrate guests into a single connected system from the moment they sign up, or book on an OTA platform, to the second they check out – no matter where they go or what they do within the hotel or membership ecosystem.

 

Making payments easy for all


Integrating smart payment systems and flexible software, which is at the heart of connected commerce, can transform the experience for guests and hotelier alike. Most important: they help us have a nice time.

 

My perfect experience starts when I walk into a hotel to be greeted by name, with a smile, and told my room is ready with all the preferences from my previous stay taken care of – from delivery of my preferred morning newspaper to an optional reservation for my favourite spa treatment.

 

I want to be able to simply present my phone or card to a device, be recognised instantly, then head to my room to freshen up before meeting my friend at the bar, with the tab automatically registered to my room.

 

That, for me, is a superior experience, and when it’s as seamless and painless as that it doesn’t just improve satisfaction, it builds loyalty – with the likelihood of a recommendation, a return visit, or selecting the same chain when visiting another location.

 

It also cuts costs by reducing the need for training (at a time when staff churn is exceptionally high) and time spent on admin, freeing staff to focus on making guests happy.

 

And it reduces back-office processes, simplifying the work of hotel IT people and managers, and making billing and reconciliation of payments a breeze.

 

The value of experience and insight


To say that the hospitality industry has rarely had it so tough is an understatement.

 

Hoteliers are battling a host of uncertainties, dealing with more demanding guests (who are often spoiled for choice), and struggling to hire, train and retain staff.

 

At Planet, we understand the hospitality industry because that’s where many of our people, both in sales and IT, began their careers. And because we service hotels around the world, we offer follow-the-sun support.

 

We appreciate how important that is because we know our customers want to focus on their guests, not their processes. They know their trade better than anyone else and want to provide painless experiences for their guests and to build loyalty.

 

We are here to help.