Hotels face a variety of challenges including:
- Keeping up with customer preferences
- Reputation management
- Intense competition from market disruptors (Airbnb, serviced offices)
- High service expectations
- Implementing data security measures
- Ensuring sustainable and responsible processes
Changing guest expectations has been one of the biggest driving factors for technological innovation and operational change amongst hotels over the past decade. The likes of competitors such as Airbnb has caused huge disruption - the online hospitality business gives travellers a unique tourism experience and a highly personalised service via its mobile app. The rise of serviced office giants such as WeWork has also revolutionised the corporate meeting room business. CEOs are swapping the luxury of hotel facilities for the flexibility of co-working spaces, to host their annual conference.
What's more the modern traveller has now become accustomed to researching a variety of options before booking hotels. Referrals and reviews have never been more important and can have a positive or detrimental impact on business. Managing the brand image and maintaining the hotel’s standards (often across multiple locations) to ensure the reputation is never negatively affected is a top priority.
Hotels need to differentiate their offering and adapt their processes if they are to compete successfully in this shifting market place. Here are 5 ways managed print and document management technology can help you achieve better efficiency.
1) Blend technology solutions to improve the guest experience
By having the right blend of technology hotels can set themselves apart from competitors and become a destination of choice. Leveraging cloud technology is one way hotels have managed to stay on top of customer demands. For example, the corporate traveller will often be looking to work from their hotel room, by giving them secure access to the Cloud, they will be able to retrieve company documents and continue to work uninterrupted. Using the hotel’s Multifunctional Devices (MFDs), guests are also able to scan to cloud destinations such as OneDrive.
Event facilities are another revenue avenue for hotel groups. By incorporating the latest technology into a meeting room you can transform the customer's ordinary conference into a productive and immersive experience. Digicorp offers Smartboard technology to many of its hotel partners. These smart devices enable the user to retrieve, share, edit and print documents from its interactive interface. The ability to video conference and share screens, further enhances collaboration and can come in handy for international guests.
2) Stay up to speed with mobile
Guests expect fast, seamless service, even when it comes to printing. Everything from aircraft boarding passes to corporate documents, the ability to print is a huge benefit to the working traveller.
One way hotels can “wow” their customers is by offering mobile printing services. This enables guests to send documents directly from a mobile device to the printer, either by email, cloud or using the MFD’s QR code, whilst guaranteeing that information is kept safe and secure. This valuable service gives guests the ability to access their documents, print seamlessly and reduces the need for multiple interactions with hotel staff freeing up their time as well.
Mobile print software also gives hotel staff the ability to track customer and staff print volumes and allocate departmental cost accordingly. For large hotel chains, this capability is particularly important in helping them manage the print fleet properly, ensuring the right technology is in place to cope with customer needs.
3) Improve staff workflows to provide better customer service
Managing a hotel is complex. The sheer amount of data which needs to be collected, compiled and analysed on a daily basis is huge. From managing online and offline bookings to organising guest logs and room inventory updates; even in today's digital era hotels can find it hard to get siloed information flowing harmoniously through different departments (let alone across multiple locations). The rapid-pace at which things move within the industry can make certain operational activities a nightmare. Ensuring that back-office systems and workflows run like a well-oiled machine is important if customers are to receive the level of service promised to them.
There is no one-size fits all when it comes to improving hotel systems but by road-mapping your current management systems and processes you can create a clear case for change. Once all stakeholders are on board and the challenges and goals of the project have been set, you can call in the experts to implement bespoke print, document and automation technology. Digicorp helps hotels to automate some of their most tedious and error-prone tasks through:
- Document management
- Workflow and process management systems
- Data analysis
- BI dashboards
4) Secure guest data
Hotels handle a large volume of data, whether that’s personal data, preference data or transactional data. First and foremost, before operators can protect guest data, it is crucial that they understand what is being collected, where it is stored and how it is used. Document management systems can then be put in place to help you:
- store and archive data in a GDPR compliant manner
- Encrypt data in transit or at rest
- Keep an Audit Trail of how information is being handled
Another area which is often an overlooked security risk is print devices. How many times do you walk past an MFD only to find the output tray full of uncollected printouts? All of this information could end up in the wrong hands and lead to a data breach. By installing Secure Print software on all devices, documents sent to print enter a print queue and only once the user has authenticated themselves at the machine will it be released – problem solved.
As people become more eco-conscious they want to associate with brands that uphold similar values. In 2017, the United Nations declared the year as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, with the aim of supporting change in policies, business practices and consumer behaviour. As a result, hotels ramped up their efforts to respect the environment - investing in eco-friendly rooms and sustainable processes.
Print is a key area to take seriously when looking at ways to be more sustainable and responsible in your own hotel. Many businesses adopt a ‘bin-it’ culture which only adds to the problem. But why waste paper when you can stop unwanted prints from ever existing by implementing Secure Print (mentioned in point 4)? Another perk of this managed print software is the ability to track and report on staff usage. Making your staff accountable for what they print is likely to bring about a change in behaviour.
Discouraging waste and colour printing abuse by enforcing rules for output is also beneficial. This could be anything from setting up black and white default to double-sided formatting. Simple print practices like this not only improve your carbon footprint but can help save money.
We can help
With over 25 years of experience dealing with some of London’s most prestigious hotels, we believe that it’s what you do behind the scenes that can leave your guests with a positive feeling about your business. Our unique blend of solutions, from print to document management and collaboration technology to IT services, can help you overcome these hospitality challenges. We’ll work with you to come up with a plan of action, from road-mapping through to implementation, we base our success on meeting your goals.
Call 020 3929 3003 or email [email protected]