Originally published on Hospitality Technology on February 07, 2017
Futurists believe that 2020 is when unprecedented, irreversible changes for hotels will begin to take place. For example, during the booking process, the focus will be on mobile-centric guest personalization and the hotel of the future will not have a front desk. Instead, guests will walk into the lobby, straight to their room, and unlock the door using a mobile key. Nearly all room service and hotel restaurant dining transactions will be made via smartphone or tablet. And guests will be able to review their folios in real time on their smartphones and pull from their mobile wallets to settle the folio on the fly.
However, thanks to advances in mobile payment technology, including a master digital wallet, it is possible for hotels to already offer these services to guests. In the second part of this two-part series, MyCheck describes how a master digital wallet can help drive guest personalization during the stay and at check-out. To read the first part of this series where MyCheck described how a master digital wallet can help hotels drive mobile-centric guest personalization at the Booking and Check-in stages of the customer journey, click here.
Stage 3: The Stay
A guest, who checked-in to his hotel room 24 hours in advance using the hotel’s app with master digital wallet, has arrived at the airport. While waiting for his bags, he opens the app to check to see if there are any other push notifications from the hotel. The hotel posts a greeting and asks if the guest would like to order room service so that it is ready in the room upon arrival. Because the mobile payment platform with master digital wallet can pull complete room service menus to the phone, the guest can order room service while still at baggage claim. He receives a confirmation that the meal will be waiting in the room within 30 minutes.
In addition to the meal, the guest orders a bottle of wine, however, it’s a charge that can’t be expensed. Because the hotel’s mobile platform is equipped with a master digital wallet, with just a touch the guest chooses to have the wine charged to PayPal or Apple Pay while the rest of the meal is placed on his corporate American Express. If the guest is on a per diem that doesn’t cover room service, or if the guest is traveling with another person who cannot be expensed, the room service bill can be split between all methods of payment stored in the master digital wallet. Not only does the guest have a streamlined, personal experience, but he can earn loyalty points for the meal if offered. A digital survey can also be pushed to the guest enabling the hotel to capture and broadcast his immediate satisfaction.
The same mobile payment platform can be leveraged in the hotel’s restaurant. For example, a guest arrives at the restaurant and opens the hotel’s mobile payment app. She immediately receives a unique 4-digit code on her smartphone which she shares with the server. The server enters the code into the POS, and immediately the customer begins to receive rewards for using the app. She can view the live bill, reorder items on the check, split checks among diners, tip the server, pay, and receive rewards for her patronage. And, with the master digital wallet part of the mobile payment platform, the guest can choose from among multiple methods of payment.
Each time the guest returns to the restaurant, she is immediately recognized by the system and by staff. This builds loyalty and creates a memorable dining experience. This type of mobile-centric guest personalization can be shared across the property at all POS touch points, such as poolside ordering, spa services, pro shops, grab and go, entertainment venues and more. A mobile payment platform that resides within a hotel’s mobile app will give guests the ability to order ahead (like roomservice), order on the spot (like a quick coffee break to the meeting room), or re-order items in a restaurant (like additional beverages).
Stage 4: Check Out
When it comes to check out, having a mobile payment platform makes reconciling guest charges fast and easy. By giving guests the freedom to link multiple payment methods to their account and choose which one to transact at any time, a hotel is delivering the ultimate mobile-centric guest personalization. The more convenient and personalized the stay experience, the more likely the guest will return.
The next generation of traveler will demand a mobile payment platform with master digital wallet. In the not-so-distant future, Millennials will only communicate via mobile device because they are unwilling to stand in lines for anything, including checking-in/out and making face-to-face service requests. A mobile payment platform is removing lines from the hotel experience altogether. The technology is fast, simple and secure; three criteria that Millennials and the Generation Z appreciate. Millennials already control 30 percent of gross income as compared with other generations, and by 2025, along with Generation Z, they are expected to control 47 percent of gross income.
Consider these industry findings:
- By 2020, consumers in the U.S. and U.K. will make more purchases for goods and services via mobile phones than computers.
- In 2020, 46 percent of digital commerce will pass through a mobile device in the U.S. alone.
- Mobile payments are expected to reach $3 trillion worldwide by 2021.
Don’t wait until 2020 to get a piece of the digital commerce pie. If your hotel wants to meet the expectations of the 2020 traveler today, you will need to migrate a mobile payment platform into the mobile app or website. The key differentiator is making sure that the platform can support a master digital wallet. The future is here! Embrace it with mobile payment technology.