It’s no use going back over all the upsets and difficulties COVID-19 caused and continues to cause today – let’s look for solutions! Press articles have echoed the accelerating trend towards digitisation among accommodation providers, but that doesn’t mean a lot in itself. Firstly because it must serve business objectives (productivity, broader range, customer experience, winning new clientèle, improving staff working conditions, etc.), and secondly because pragmatism must rule. The investment can indeed be great, the change in habits disturbing, and the implementation of new processes time-consuming. Thanks to Sequoiasoft’s 40+ years’ experience serving HORECA professionals, we’re able to offer effective, concrete solutions. So let’s look at the new face of hotels and restaurants and what the technology behind a PMS like Asterio can offer in terms of customer experience all throughout the stay.

Contact with the hotel guest well before their arrival

As we all know, the first contact with a hotel or accommodation provider already contributes towards the impression of the stay and therefore towards a potential review, desire to come back, recommendation to friends, etc. The idea is put yourself in the shoes of a visitor who knows nothing about either the hotel or the establishment. It is right from this stay preparation phase that the technology of a PMS like Asterio plays a facilitating role with automatic email or SMS delivery based on scenarios that you define. And of course, this communication can be personalised based on the customer’s profile and channel of origin, with useful or tourist information (GPS coordinates, places of interest, etc.) for guests on leisure, or information about services or nearby restaurants for business guests. Just before their arrival, an automatic SMS message sent from Asterio with the door code; or upon check-in, the WiFi code… this kind of attention makes the guest feel waited on and accompanied, without using any internal resources!

  • Immediate benefits: the customer feels valued, the hotel staff save time, a friendly atmosphere is created

A hotel check-in that feels like a warm welcome rather than an “administrative formality”

Once again, the features of a PMS that, like Asterio, is adapted to current and future guest expectations, place the priority on the visitor’s impressions and well-being. From the bits that can be done before arrival, such as filling in the information sheet, to remote display on a tablet, you can do away with the austerity of the reception desk… instead replacing it with a receptionist or hotelier who can approach their customer, sit down with them and offer them a drink, concentrate on presenting the establishment and find out more about their new guest’s needs. Thanks to the mobility permitted by Asterio for tablet, hotels become living spaces for both business and pleasure – and this trend will only increase with the pandemic as habits change.

For the more technology-minded, and depending on the type of hotel clientèle, pairing the PMS with interactive check-in/out terminals has become increasingly common, to help adhere to social distancing measures, but also – let’s be honest – to reduce the number of staff needed at reception.

  • Immediate benefits: streamline reception, social distancing, optimised customer experience

A smooth stay at your property

Thanks to mobile tablet usage, and a centralised customer database that allows you to manage hospitality products and services based on the customer journey rather than location, today’s Cloud-based PMS accompany the guest all throughout the property. The hotel’s organisation is now totally at the service of their comfort and needs. All of this has a single aim: to take pressure off the hotelier and allow them to concentrate on their job and their guests rather than on processes, or on the screen of their PMS. Running a snack or a drink through the system and assigning it to a guest can be done directly in situ using the PMS and the POS (on a tablet for example), which also avoids items being missed off the bill.

  • Immediate benefits: profitability, increased consumption, pampered guest

Digitised payments at the hotel

In addition to being able to use a tablet on the go, the Asterio strongbox offers secure storage of card numbers. No more need to get the card out during the stay: the hotel manager can validate payments directly from the PMS. For example, at check-out, the hotelier can bring up the bill on a remote display and initiate payment, to limit both contact and paper usage, and send the customer their invoice directly by email.

  • Immediate benefits: secure payment, limited contact with hardware, less restrictions for the guest

New-age restaurant service with the right PMS

Let’s not forget restaurants and how they can reap the benefits of new-age property management systems. Digitising order-taking, a personal tablet for improved hygiene, sending orders directly through to the kitchen, interactive dining room plan, etc… We all know the extent to which these aspects are set to determine the future of restaurants.

  • Immediate benefits: staff and customer safety, compliance with standards, increased productivity to partly offset decreased capacity and associated sales

A number of the hotel and restaurant managers we meet feel their business is at a crossroads. According to our feedback on the ground, we estimate that around 30% of hoteliers still use a paper booking schedule and a cash register, rather than property management software.

At Sequoiasoft, these observations have a fundamental impact on how we design our PMS and the level of functionality we provide. Innovation makes no sense unless it’s to provide a real service to your property, your team, your attractiveness and your clientèle; and unless it’s in line with the new ways of enjoying accommodation and restaurant services. Everything must be done to help you in your hotel business, and the technology of a PMS must never feel like a hindrance – quite the opposite! It should be a key resource for you, hotel and restaurant managers, to be able to get back on your feet as quickly as possible after this unprecedented crisis. With the right PMS geared towards the customers of 2021, you’ll have only to concentrate on the welcome, safety and experience you offer your guests. And making them want to come back to you and book directly through your website!

Manage and Grow / 14 January, 2021

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