Any hospitality professional knows that the modern traveler wants it all – but they also want it delivered in a faster, more efficient, and more attentive manner. As our world continues to change and adapt under the influence of increasingly automated, smart technology, consumer expectations, and trends are shifting in tandem. What was once the industry standard has, in many cases, been replaced by tech-enabled enhancements that provide instant gratification, simplified touch-points, and personalization. Consumers are used to ATMs at the bank instead of tellers, checking in for airplane flights online, and they are now looking for that same efficiency when they arrive at a hotel. No one wants to wait in line for the front desk anymore. Travelers especially are increasingly in favor of self-service platforms, and technology which taps into (and leverages) their data for a more refined, meaningful experience. This is further exemplified by studies revealing that when it comes to hotel guests, 63% prefer tech-enabled lobbies, and 84% prefer mobile check-in and check-out.
However, in the case of hospitality, this brings hoteliers to a conundrum, of sorts. Sure, the modern guest craves an experience that is primarily defined by efficiency and instant gratification – but what about those traditional markers of great hospitality? If hotels empower guests to bypass the front desk and classic touch-points entirely, are they then missing out on the opportunity to engage with those guests? How can hotels find the balance between service that is as efficient and streamlined as it is attentive and memorable?
Traditionally, the front desk marks an opportunity for hotel staff to make a lasting first impression; welcoming the guest by name to make them feel appreciated and at home. This was also a prime opportunity for staff to offer certain ‘wow’ moments, ranging from personalized upgrades to complimentary glass of wine or champagne for loyal guests. Of course, these meaningful moments could be easily thwarted in the case of lines and frustrating delays or missed opportunities for personalization. If this is the dilemma which gave life to the self-service movement, allowing hotel staff to better focus their service efforts and guests to bypass notoriously time-consuming touch-points, how can hotels still go the extra mile for incoming guests? And to take this a step further – and by a step further we mean, what if we could extend this into each guest’s room? As a matter of fact, we think there is – with the transformation of in-room beverage service by way of single-serve red or white wine by the glass via Plum.
As hotels continue to evolve their in-room F&B strategy from traditional mini-bars with next-generation in-room appliances such as by the glass wine, we realize the unique opportunity to virtualize an amenity. That memorable gesture of a complimentary glass of wine offered at the front desk, whether to welcome a guest, reward loyalty or recover guest service, can still be fulfilled even without that physical touch-point at check-in. Considering that 80% of luxury hotel guests drink wine regularly, this represents an especially appealing service offering for leisure and business travelers alike.
Now, let’s tie this back to the initial discussion of the self-service model. The increasing guest demand for self-service technology is largely rooted in the desire for an efficient, seamless experience that offers enhanced autonomy. Ultimately, guests like to be in control – to be provided a service, yes, but in control. With the help of an in-room wine appliance, hoteliers can go the extra mile for guests with a special offer that is (a complimentary pour for example) completely self-service. Using the in-room device, guests can easily serve themselves a glass of red or white wine, chilled and on demand.
Further, from an operational standpoint, in-room luxury appliances are increasingly easy for hoteliers to employ, effectively reducing labor costs associated with more traditional fixtures such as the hotel mini-bar. Rather than relying on manual up-keep, hotel staff can automatically track consumption, bill guest folio and notify housekeeping when bottles need replacing. This is arguably one of the most exciting advantages of virtualizing an amenity – still providing a certain ‘wow’ factor to guests while positively enforcing a more efficient operational structure for the hotel property.
As the mobile experience continues to take over and transform the traditional touch-points of the guest experience (check-in/out, room keys and more), Plum allows for the virtualization of an amenity that might have required a touch-point to occur. Now the hotel can still deliver exceptional service moments while keeping with the trend of removing an unnecessary touch-point at check-in.
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About the Author
Adam Hoydysh is Vice President of Hotel Sales for Plum. He has more than 20 years of B2B technology and hospitality sales and management experience at F5000 corporations and start-ups. Prior to joining Plum, Adam was Director of Sales for Juniper Networks, driving sales and sales training efforts for Juniper’s advanced technology portfolio of security products. Previous to its acquisition by Juniper Networks for $80 million in 2012, Adam was Director of Sales for Mykonos Software, the leading provider of intrusion deception security for Layer 7. Mykonos was the winner of Wall Street Journal Innovation Award for Information Security. Adam started his career in hospitality at Vail Resorts, the premier mountain resort company and leader in luxury travel.
Plum reimagines every aspect of the wine by the glass experience. The world’s first appliance that can serve a glass of wine just as the winemaker intended, Plum allows hoteliers to satisfy the moments that inspire guests to enjoy a glass of wine in the hotel’s room product. Plum delivers an unforgettable experience – and profits – in extraordinary style, one glass at a time. To learn more visit www.plum.wine