Digital Guest Journey Part 2: Which solutions need to fit together?

Time is short in daily hotel operations. Hotel employees often have to perform many tasks simultaneously, handle administrative tasks and, of course, always keep guest service in focus. How about simple solutions that eliminate these administrative tasks, automate processes and leave more time for guest care?

In our 3-part series, we asked our expert Alexander Haußmann, one of the founders and managing directors of straiv by CODE2ORDER, what a fully automated guest journey in a hotel actually looks like, which systems play an important role in this, or which solutions have to fit together, and how best to start such a project. Alexander Haußmann has been advising hotels of all types and sizes on the topic of digitalization for more than 6 years now, with a focus on process optimization, automation and the digital guest journey.

1. Which activities can be solved just as well by software solutions without reducing the guest experience?

For hotel guests, it is not an extremely pleasant experience to fill out and sign the printed A4 registration form – this is simply not a value-creating process, neither for employees nor for guests. Both sides are happy if they can take care of these administrative things in advance and thus save time. It is the same with sending invoices, changing the billing address or payment at the end of a stay at the hotel.

A very valuable activity for guests and staff, on the other hand, is the personal greeting and welcoming, as well as time for a short conversation in which attention can be drawn to current offers and tips.  These in turn can be read and booked by guests in the digital guest folder / web app afterwards. Likewise, at check-out, without having to manage the administrative processes, feedback can then be dealt with sooner or simply a brief farewell conversation can be held in order to remain positively in the guest’s memory.

Which solutions need to fit together for a digital guest journey? How do I approach the digitization of my processes as a hotel business?

If you want to implement a digitization of processes in your hotel business, you have to ask yourself three basic questions in advance: Do I want a fully automated hotel or just automate partial-processes in the hotel? What does my current tech stack look like – can I possibly change it? AND: Which processes or administrative tasks can software solve at least as well as employees without influencing guest satisfaction?

2. Fully automated vs. partially automated

Depending on the type of hotel operation, it may make sense to integrate only parts (e.g. only the digital registration form or the digital guest directory) of the digital guest journey into the hotel operation. Be clear about which processes really require a lot of manual work. Here it makes sense to start with simple solutions that already take an enormous amount of work out of the front office.

Well thought-out software solutions are modular in design, so that only those functions are used and paid for in the hotel that are actually required and used. In this case, partial solutions can be integrated that already ensure process optimization at individual points, such as the digitization of registration forms and the automatic transfer of registration form data to the PMS. Anyone aiming for full automation should also clarify in advance which processes are involved here and which solutions are currently in use for this. We have summarized the process steps involved in a digital guest journey in our article “Part 1: What does a fully automated guest journey actually look like?

3. The famous tech stack or also: Which solutions have to fit together?

What does my current tech stack look like and how can I possibly change it? When mapping out the digital guest journey for your own hotel, it’s important that the individual systems work together smoothly. Functioning interfaces should exist between the following systems:

These are the main tools that are essential for automated hotel operations. Depending on the use case and guest clientele (hotel with restaurant operations), other software solutions are of course necessary for a digital guest journey (e.g. the extension with a chatbot).

Many of the software solutions overlap in some functions, such as emailing the booking confirmation. This can be done partly by the booking engine, partly by the PMS. Alternatively, the complete e-mail dispatch for all bookings can also be handled 100% automatically by a guest journey software (such as straiv by CODE2ORDER).

Here you have to decide which system should take the leading role for which type of task and for which phase of the Guest Journey. Modular solutions are clearly advantageous; with these, you only pay for the functions you actually use. In this way, you can put together a lean but well-designed overall solution that ensures digital and automated guest care along the guest journey – and ultimately ensures less work and relief at the front office.

Finally, it is important to remember that these digital solutions are only useful for the hotel if guests are happy to use them. To ensure this, it is important that everything works without a classic app download, as native app download rates in the hotel industry have not developed in the range that would have been desired over the last few years. straiv by CODE2ORDER relies on Progressive Web App technology from the beginning, which offers all the advantages and features of a native app, but does not need to be downloaded – it works on any smartphone with one click.

In the next part of our series “Fully Automated Guest Journeys in Hotels: Questions for Alexander Haußmann” we answer the question “Why should hotels rely on a digital way of serving guests?”.

Would you like to know the solutions for a digital Guest Journey? Send us an inquiry, we will be happy to help and advise you.