For as long as I can remember Room Service has always been problematic for hotels. Either it has never been rarely profitable or operationally it has been difficult to do well. To counter this, hotels have chosen solutions like externalize the operation, relying on a local restaurant/take ways to provide the service such as Pizza Delivery, or reduce the size of the menu limiting choice and limiting the hours of operation. The decision was always based on trying to reduce the cost of the operation whilst providing at the very least a basic service. Not exactly the best way to improve guest satisfaction or increase overall revenue for your hotel or Resort.
There is though a new way for hotels which is starting to buck the trend, by offering more choice and flexibility when ordering their room service, providing guests with a visually pleasing menu without the cost of reprinting should you wish to change a dish on the menu, and dishes of the day and special promotions which can be created and promoted at a click of a button. Apps are already helping hotels & resorts convert rooms service into a profitable operation. This is backed up by the fact that the number one revenue stream for hotels who have implemented concierge apps is room service, which also shows that guests are finding this a new and novel way to interact with a hotel or resort.
So how does work for your guests?
The Business Guest
The business guest evenings are sometimes spent catching up on emails or finalising proposals or presentations for the next day so more times than not, they end up staying in their hotel room. By using the app, they can plan ahead what they want to eat for when they want to eat it. Likewise, when they are on the way back to the hotel from a conference or meeting, they might want to make sure that they always have a bottle of water in their room. The gym enthusiast might also need an energy bar or some fruit ready before they start their daily workout. Allowing them the flexibility to order it and have it ready for when they get back to their room is practical and common sense great service. They can also avoid the queues in reception or having to order it from their room, then waiting for it to arrive, which optimizes their time.
The Leisure Guests
They maybe arriving late, or their train or plane has been delayed, or they are just in a rush to get to the theatre or a concert on time. Having the ability to arrange for food & drinks to come to their room when they want is a major advantage. Having two young children myself, I know what is like to get to the hotel late after an excursion or day out and then try to organise a hot chocolate for example. Doing that from your car on your way to the resort or hotel is very comforting and practical. Your guest maybe just by the swimming pool or on the golf course and want to organise something special for a loved one, or a surprise romantic evening with someone special. They can also connect to your staff directly via instant messenger if they have any special requests.
Now having your room service menu on your app and allowing your guests to order is not the only benefit. You can also communicate directly with the client for when to remove the empty trays, thus clearing them from the corridors straight away. You can also show your guests that you care by asking them to provide you feedback on their experience of your room service, thus allowing you to further refine your offering and deliver what your clients are looking for.
Although we are only looking at Room Service in this article today, Apps also help your hotel or resort increase revenues in other departments. Upselling and Cross-selling techniques are and have been two essential training programmes for hotel staff which have been demonstrated to increase overall profitability. Apps support this and take it to a whole new level.