Authored by Branigan Mulcahy, Co-Founder, Virdee. Virdee was a finalist in the Best SaaS For Catering and Hospitality category at the 2023 SaaS Awards.

Hospitality technology and the benefits it provides to Select, Full, and Luxury Service Properties

Hospitality technology comprises a wide range of tools and solutions, spanning from back-of-house systems like property-management software and accounting tools, to front-of-house technologies like in-room tablets, self-check-in apps, and kiosks. The continuous growth of this technology is driven by pioneering startups that are taking the lead in innovating and transforming hotel operations. Front-of-house technology and its impact on both staff and guests is one of the hottest topics in the hospitality sector today, spanning the three main categories of properties – select-service, full-service, and luxury hotels.

Select-Service Hotels

Select-service properties are often found along highways, near airports and popular tourist attractions and cater to budget-conscious travelers who primarily need a place to rest. These properties typically operate on tight margins and offer the amenities necessary for a comfortable stay. These typically include a clean and comfortable room, a private bathroom, Wi-Fi access, and basic guest services. While they may lack certain luxury amenities like full-service restaurants, spas, or extensive room service options, select-service hotels focus on providing a convenient and efficient experience.

Self-check-in kiosks and apps can play an important role in these types of properties by facilitating a convenient and expeditious guest experience, especially for late-night arrivals when staff availability may be limited. (If you’ve ever had to stand in line to check in at a hotel at 2:00 in the morning while jetlagged, you’ll appreciate how self-check-in kiosks and apps can help shorten wait times to get guests to their rooms faster).

Full-Service Hotels

Full-service hotels, the Marriotts and Hiltons of the world, offer a wider array of amenities, like on-site restaurants, pools, and valet services. They are also typically strategically located in popular tourist destinations, city centers, and scenic areas, offering guests easy access to local attractions, shopping districts, and business hubs. Many provide dining options as they aim for convenience combined with a modicum of luxury.

Full-service hotels target business travelers and tourists willing to pay higher rates for enhanced experiences. In-room tablets and mobile apps are important tools for guests to access amenities, receive personalized offers, and place orders without the need to call for staff assistance. These technologies not only improve guest satisfaction but also remedy staffing pressures, allowing employees to focus more on direct guest interactions that might require time and thought to complete. By implementing the right hospitality technology, both select-service and full-service hotels are enhancing their operations, offering elevated guest experiences, and are maintaining their competitive edge in the ever-evolving hospitality industry.

“The key lies in how these technologies are presented to guests, and the messages conveyed to them about why they should engage with it.”

Luxury Hotels

Luxury properties represent the ultimate vacation destinations that we all dream of experiencing. These hotels offer unparalleled experiences, from chauffeur-driven airport pickups to exquisite decor, gourmet cuisine, luxurious bedding, extensive amenities, and top-notch service. Unlike select-service hotels, luxury properties cater more to vacationers seeking personalized attention rather than business travelers or budget conscious families. They are located in the most exclusive locations, such as on beaches, in other scenic areas such as the mountains or near iconic city landmarks, providing guests with stunning views and easy access to top attractions.

At first, the idea of using a mobile check-in app or kiosk in such luxurious settings might be met with skepticism. However, consider the true essence of luxury: the ability to effortlessly proceed straight to your room without any check-in hassle. Why not have the check-in process completed beforehand, providing a seamless arrival experience? Even for those guests who prefer physical key cards, check-in kiosks can still be used to create a more personable interaction, as staff can engage with the guests during the process, just as they would behind a traditional front desk. This approach opens up numerous possibilities and allows luxury properties to cater to each guest’s unique preferences.

Of course, amenities are paramount in luxury properties as they help differentiate a property in guests’ minds and create an experience that they may recommend to someone or wish to repeat in the future. Amenities are also an important revenue stream for luxury properties and being up to date on the most convenient and modern features is paramount at this level of hospitality. In-room tablets and mobile apps can play a key role in guiding guests through the extensive array of offerings with just a touch of their fingertips. Educating guests on what is available and even providing incentives to engage with special offers based on guest information, can provide an extra level of targeted service while creating an additional revenue stream. Similarly, having direct access to property amenities gives the hotel guest the control, where they can order food or schedule a manicure without having to interact with hotel staff.

Conclusion

You may wonder why there are three property categories that are increasingly less similar that can all benefit from hospitality technology deployed in each. The distinction lies not in the technology itself but in its implementation and messaging.

While select-service properties may direct guests firmly toward mobile check-in to address staffing limitations, full-service properties may utilize it to appeal to an increasingly technology-focused patron and luxury properties may offer and encourage it as a means to elevate the guest experience. The key lies in how these technologies are presented to guests and the messages conveyed to them about why they should engage with the technology. Ultimately, every type of property can implement hospitality technology to gain a competitive advantage and elevate the guest experience—it all comes down to how it’s delivered.