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Re-Inventing Digital Transformation

A hospitality case study on how to use technology to elevate the customer experience and supercharge your marketing communications

Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

During my recent trip to Bangkok and upon arrival at my hotel, I was handed the usual little slip of paper to fill in my details: name, email address, phone number etc.  This is the 3rd trip I made this month and I realised that I am always exposed to the same hospitality “rituals”:

  • Upon arrival, you fill in a form with your contact details;
  • A receipt is given in an envelope;
  • The checkout is a manual process involving some more paperwork.

And what is the problem – someone may ask… on the surface, everything is smooth and efficient! – and that’s exactly the problem! While there are plenty of panels, talks, podcasts, articles and videos on digital transformation, most companies are failing to turn theory into practice. Instead of using technology to transform every facet of our lives for the better, digital transformation turned into a buzzword and corporate bureaucracy has won once again.

Now let’s take a small step back and let’s re-imagine the hospitality customer journey together – using technology and some common sense… to re-invent the customer experience:

Upon arrival, you fill in a form with your details in a tablet. Your contacts are immediately dropped into the company’s CRM software. Streamlines the process for both the hotel and the customer and eliminates typing errors and human workload. Bonus tip: A welcome email or text message can be sent to the visitor with more information about the hotel’s facilities and the services provided.

The receipt is sent via email or text message. Minimises the use of paper (sustainability in practice), furthermore soft copies cannot be lost or destroyed. Moreover, as a business traveler, you can immediately file the invoice in your accounting records. Bonus tip: Include links to your loyalty programme and referral schemes.

Checkout can be done remotely (the same way you check-in for your flights), simply drop the keys to the reception and off you go. Minimises paperwork and delays and ensures a smooth customer experience. Bonus tip: Feedback surveys can be immediately sent to the customer upon checkout confirmation – at a time that he/she is more likely to fill in the survey.

Digital transformation can cut across more aspects of hospitality:

  • Instead of calling the front desk, you can WhatsApp them. It is fast, easy and a low-cost solution that allows both the hotel and the customer to keep a record of all communications for future reference.
  • Select your room number in the same way you select your flight seat. You can manage customer expectations more effectively, apply a sense of urgency and communicate.

How to get started in three simple steps:

  • Organise a short brainstorming session with your team;
  • Note down all customer bottlenecks and everything you feel can be improved or automated; 
  • Prioritise your ideas and start implementing the “quick wins”.

Lastly, if my recent travels taught me anything, it is that digital transformation is not a theoretical concept – it a tangible process every organisation should go through or risk facing disruption in the very near future.

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Written By

Sotirios (one of the most difficult names you’ll come across in your life), lived in London, Dubai and Singapore, working for some of the world’s leading media agencies (WPP and Omnicom). Along the way he built 2 digital performance departments from the ground-up and worked with clients such as Unilever, Volkswagen and Google. Currently, he is a Digital Marketing Instructor at General Assembly and the founder of XYZ Lab. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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