The hospitality industry—and hotel management specifically—is all about people. Hotels don’t sell a product; they deliver an experience to guests. The standard of that experience often is the difference between success and failure.
Developments in technology are giving hotels different ways to improve the guest experience. As in many sectors, in hospitality, new solutions are reshaping how people interact. Unified communications as a service platforms are a prime example.
UCaaS platforms allow organizations to integrate communication systems. They unify channels like voice, email, instant messaging, conferencing and more into one interface. Having a unified communications platform delivers results for many types of enterprise. For hotels, UC can help fulfill a variety of those organizations’ unique needs.
Benefits of UC for the Hospitality Industry
Great communication is vital to the hotel industry. Delivering the kind of guest experience that spells success is all about strong interactions. That might be between staff and guests, or between different team members at one or a variety of premises.
UC can help fulfill a hotel’s unique needs and strengthen these interactions across the board. There are four main areas in which a UC system can be particularly beneficial to a hotel:
- Aiding productivity in a mobile, busy workforce
- Producing a richer, seamless guest experience
- Allowing a blend of standardization and customization across locations
- Offering cost-efficiency and scalability
Greater Productivity for a Mobile Hotel Workforce
Even the smallest hotels need a diverse, hard-working team to operate at their best. From managers to cleaners, employees are generally on the go and on the move throughout their shifts. Depending on the organization, some workers may even travel between several premises.
That mobility of a hotel workforce can make collaboration and cooperation tricky. With older communication setups, staff may only be reachable when they’re at a reception desk. That can have a crippling effect on productivity. UC offers a solution.
With a UC platform, all team members can connect to a single interface and communicate with one another with any device. What’s more, a UC platform also can integrate with other software. That includes management software that tracks staff activity and progress. It also can incorporate booking software. That makes it easier for workers to manage tasks according to when guests arrive and leave.
Richer, Better Connected Guest Experience
As well as helping staff communicate, UC also offers more opportunities for guests. It’s the same as how such platforms help other companies improve customer service. With a UC system, a hotel can deliver a rich and well-connected experience to every guest. UC lets a hotel improve the guest experience at a vast number of different touchpoints.
Hotels with a UC system can create provide guests with a mobile app that has integrated communications. Guests can use the app as soon as they arrive on-site for check-in. That removes those frustrating queues at reception. They may even be able to use their smartphone, with the app, as a room key.
During their stay, too, such a UC-driven app makes other interactions simpler. It provides a single interface for all hotel services. Guests can order room service, make a request of cleaning staff or book a table at a hotel restaurant. They can do all those things far more quickly and efficiently.
That one-stop shop for hotel services is excellent for guests in a hurry. It’s also precisely the kind of system that the younger generation of guests expects. Millennials, in particular, are used to tech-driven solutions to real-life issues. They’re likely to view a room phone and a traditional private branch exchange system as incredibly archaic.
Combination of Standardization and Customization
If you manage more than one hotel, UC can help with one of the most fundamental challenges you face. That’s the issue of keeping up a consistent level of service without your locations losing their unique charm.
You’ll want some standardization of systems from one location to the next. What you don’t need, though, is for your premises to feel like mass-produced facsimiles. UC solutions deliver the precise blend of standardization and customization that you need.
Modern UC platforms get hosted in the cloud. That means you don’t have to rely on in-house hardware. You can easily add multiple locations to the same network. That aids cross-premises cooperation.
Cloud-based systems, too, are inherently flexible. It’s much easier to make alterations to hosted systems. Each of your premises can customize its use of the UC platform to mirror the hotel’s branding and location.
Scalability and Cost-Efficiency
The fact that UC platforms now most often are cloud-based has further advantages. It means that such systems are both cost-effective and scalable. That’s critical in a volatile and ever-evolving industry like hospitality.
Unlike an older PBX telephony system, a UC solution can grow along with a hotel. Adding new connections, features, or even premises to a UC system is as simple as a software update. You don’t have to invest in new hardware, phone lines, or other sizable expenses.
Paying for an integrated communications system, too, often is much cheaper for a hotel. Maintenance, management and support costs typically get folded into one straightforward cost structure. Features and systems for more than one location also can get dealt with together.
Connecting Staff and Guests Via UC Can Help a Hotel to Thrive
As a hotel manager, you face a variety of unique challenges. Manage a large and mobile workforce; consider and reflect your hotel’s brand identity; deliver the best possible experience for each guest. UC solutions can help on all those fronts.
An integrated, unified platform makes staff collaboration a breeze. UC systems can also give guests a range of efficient and helpful features, all via one interface. That’s not to mention the benefits of scalability and cost that cloud-based UC offers to hotels of all sizes. It’s these benefits that explain why UC is coming to be a staple of the hospitality sector.
Sam O'Brien is senior website optimisation and user experience manager - EMEA, APAC for RingCentral, a provider of global enterprise cloud communications.