An absolute must-have. At least in the last decade. The digital guest information guide.
The hotel industry has finally entered the digital age over the last few years. Even if only in small steps. A digital guest information guide was one of the first steps and an absolute must-have. And as soon as the neighbor got one, you couldn't do without it yourself. Thousands of hotels were equipped with new digital companions as soon as possible.
And the emphasis here is really on equipped. The reason why the digital guest information guides suddenly appeared there is that the others had them too. But how they are now used sensibly and, moreover, in a targeted manner is still not clear to many hotels. Coaching or training for the right handling? No way.
That may be one of the reasons why you keep asking yourself the same question over and over again:
"Why do we have so little access to our digital guest information guide?"
One of the most obvious reasons is a required download from the App or Google Play Store.
And yes, they actually still exist. Guest information guides that you have to download. But let's be honest: which guest will still download an app on their mobile device in 2020? Especially if they use them only a few days a year.
Another major factor influencing the poor access time of the digital guest information guide is communication.
But not only is there a problem with direct communication with the guest — it often starts with internal communication.
«Do we have a digital guest directory?! Oh, I didn't even know that. "
And believe me, it happens more often than you think. If the hotel team has not even been informed about the digital guest information guide and its possible uses, how should the guests know that they can also access the information digitally?!
Let us assume that at least the reception team has been informed that the digital guest directory should now support them in informing the guests about everything important during their stay. Knowing something and actively pointing out something (and in the best case still showing it) are two very different things. At the check-in, the guest already receives a flood of information, and if the digital guest information guide is only mentioned in passing, it’s often completely lost.
Where we would have come to our next point.
It is not just enough to point out to the guest once when checking in or to place a QR code in the morning post and hope that he will find the digital guest information guide, if necessary. Continuous touchpoints that accompany the guest during his entire journey, as well as active communication, are essential here.
Another problem that is too often underestimated is the design and first impression.
A large part of the digital guest information guides are still far too static in their presentation and simply do not appeal to the guest at first glance. The guests are used to work with perfectly designed programs where the attention is paid to the smallest details. Think of Netflix, Spotify, and Co., who invest billions only in the design and the first impression. In addition, usually it’s difficult to handle. On vacation, I just don't want to deal with complicated and user-unfriendly systems that are neither intuitive nor logical. It's just not worth it to dig through a system for minutes to find out what are the sauna opening times. It is obvious that the classic route, particularly going to the reception or reaching for the “good old printed room information guide”, is preferred.
If you look carefully at your digital companion, you will quickly notice that the low access rates are increasingly connected to the content.
Either you are flooded with information as a guest and find yourself in a labyrinth where you can no longer find relevant information, or you find a decimated version of the hotel website, which shows complex services, room prices, etc. I keep asking myself — who needs that? Such information is relevant to me before booking, but once I'm at the hotel I'm interested in other things.
Other things such as the wine list.
Particularly practical in times of COVID. But this information is usually simply stored as a PDF. You have read that right! In the first stage, the guest must be able to find the desired document and in the second stage, he must be able to open it with his mobile device — whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet. Intuitive and user-friendly, it is something different! At least if the information is correct, okay, but I've seen it myself far too often — you choose a special bottle of wine that is suddenly no longer available. This could have been avoided by updating the information in the digital guest information guides from time to time, which unfortunately doesn’t fall within most systems. Incorrect and outdated information is commonplace. Unfortunately!
My last and eighth reason for the low number of accesses to the digital guest directory is an absolute classic:
There are too many different systems in the range. There is an app for digital guest information on one side, a tablet in the hotel room for registering for the weekly program or even the classic registration lists at reception, another online app from the tourism association for the regional activity program, as well as classic QR codes for the menu, the menu or the wine list, where you end up on another software, on the other side. To be honest, if you can't see that per se, how could your guests?