The AAA inspects and approves more than 27,000 hotels across the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, and its latest advice on hotel technology for inspectors will be of particular interest to independent hoteliers.
The AAA’s new guidelines ask inspectors to consider the need for technology and connectivity during hotel stays. The changes made to AAA terminology says it all; what was once known as a rating for “business centers” is now “connective technology.” It is designed to indicate a hotel’s capability to connect with guests and offer free Wi-Fi, mobile apps and digital messaging services. The smart hotel is becoming smarter.
How will AAA inspectors evaluate hotel technology?
AAA inspectors will use a hotel’s digital systems during their stay to evaluate four key criteria:
The focus at Five Diamond properties will reside on guest-request systems, so if you’re offering in-room entertainment or other forms of technology and guests are able to ask for service with the simple tap of a finger, then expect your technologies to be closely scrutinized.
How to find the best, most affordable hotel technology
The AAA has been evaluating hotel quality since 1937, and it’s clearly advancing with the times. Your independent hotel must do the same if it’s to remain competitive and be capable of gaining those all-important ratings.
Here’s three tips to help you find the best hotel technology for your guests:
- Integration is key
You’ll almost certainly be using a hotel property management system (PMS) at your hotel, or you should be, and if you’ve chosen wisely, then it probably offers connectivity to a number of third-party systems.
Look for these integration options that will positively impact the guest experience:
- Links to point-of-sale for automated room bill transfer
- Room energy management
- In-room movies with automated charging to guest bills
- Online travel agency interfaces for seamless online booking
- Credit card processing for super-fast checkouts
- Integration with high-speed Internet access solutions
What’s occurring behind the scenes is important, too, and if you can find a customer relationship management (Hotel CRM) system that integrates with your Hotel PMS, then you’ll be able to deliver more personalized guest stays thanks to comprehensive records of your dealings with them.
- Learn from a diverse workforce
You may ask, “How can my workforce influence the technology I choose as a hotelier”?
It’s simple: if you hire a diversity of people from different generations, then you’ll gain direct insights to which type of technology you should allocate your investments. Millennials will suggest tools that deliver next-generation guest experiences, while older generations will highlight the way in which they expect to interact with hotel technology.
Your staff members are some of the best sources of market research – use them to your advantage.
- Learn from your experiences
When was the last time you stayed at a hotel during a weekend off? It’s an opportunity hotel owners, managers and staff often overlook, ironically!
Take time to experience hotel stays for yourself and make notes about the technology with which you come into contact. What makes your stay easier and more enjoyable? What proves frustrating or cumbersome? What home comforts are missing? Just one night in a hotel that has invested smartly in guest technology will be enough to inspire your next technological investment.
Although it’s important to utilize the best hotel technology you can afford for your hotel, it’s just as important not simply to opt for the solutions that you’ll assume will give you a better AAA rating. The guest experience must still be the main focus, but if you serve your guests with excellence, then the accolades from official bodies will almost certainly follow.
InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMS, Cloud PMS, Channel Manager, Hotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.
Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.