I’ve been going to hotels in a professional capacity for over 25 years and in that time there have been some great technological advances that have made hotel operations more efficient and improved the guest experience.
For example, let’s take the humble door. Very much gone are the days where you were given an actual key to your room. These were replaced with magnetic swipe cards which to be fair, were a bit hit and miss. Did you ever go up seven floors, and then down an eternal corridor just to find the key card refused to let you into your safe haven for the night?
Things moved on and now almost universally, hotels use RFID (also known as proximity) cards to open hotel doors. The technology behind this is great and in a growing number you can even use your smartphone to open the door to your room.
At its most basic level though, the key is simply a check to see if there is an entitlement to a service – i.e. has the person holding this card paid for this room?
This check of entitlement to a service happens all over hotels at many points, but a lot of these are still done manually. And that brings me to the title of this piece and why I dislike hotel breakfasts.
Normally when I go to breakfast I am not at the height of my intellectual capacity. Some might argue that it never reaches anything that could be described as a ‘height’ anyway. But in any case it takes the intake of some calories and caffeine for the overnight fog that lurks around my limited intellect to lift. So when I’m asked for my room number before I can get access to those necessary calories and caffeine, I invariably have to reach to my pocket for the piece of paper on which my room number is written. And for what? It’s noted on a different piece of paper or checked against a list of those who have breakfast included in their room rate.
In other words, just like the room key, it’s a check of entitlement to a service.
So that’s why I dislike breakfasts in hotels. Not the calories or the caffeine which always have the desired effect, but the daft manual process of writing room numbers on pieces of paper. Why hasn’t that been automated like the room key?
This is one of the things I want to change. With Guestband, as guests enter a restaurant, they are immediately identified and staff can greet them by name. A quick glance at a screen can show if they are entitled to the service or if they need to be charged. I get a personal welcome which makes me feel special, and I get my calories and caffeine without failing to remember my room number. Again.
But that’s just the start. Yes, it’s great for guests and streamlines the process, but suddenly the hotel has access to data about what time their guests go to breakfast and how long they stay there. Hotels can now see when they are busiest and also the average dwell time. This can be valuable information when changes are implemented or to plan for other services.
And that’s what Guestband is all about. Yes, it’s a wristband that replaces a room key, but for every way it helps the guest obtain a better experience it also adds a layer of business intelligence that our clever software converts into valuable insights that can make a real difference to hotels and resorts.
So now you know why I dislike hotel breakfasts and why I’m on a mission to change that for good.
Do you think I’m onto something? I’d love to hear your thoughts.