The Spanish group NH Hoteles recently announced a new advance within the accelerated digitization process that the sector is experiencing. The more than 350 hotels that the company manages around the world have implemented the STAY Digital Guest Experience solution, with the aim of optimizing guests’ stay.
Specifically, what this digital platform allows is to enable a direct communication channel between accommodation and client, facilitating service from the minute they step into the hotel. In this way, the guest receives an agile and efficient response to their requests or incidents while the hotel collects “information for the constant improvement and increase in revenue”, they assure from STAY.
After a black 2020, in which hotel sales plummeted to 76.8% year-on-year, to 4,000 million euros, according to data from the ‘Sectorial Observatory DBK‘prepared by the consulting firm DBK Informa, the forecasts for this 2021 season are not particularly encouraging. Among other survival measures put into practice, such as the sale of real estate, the incorporation of new technologies into business strategies stands out.
“Hotels are adapting very quickly to the new consumption habits of guests (very mobile-based) and that entails taking the definitive step towards digitizing the experience of its clients during their stay “, he explains. Joan Lladó, CEO and co-founder of STAY, who assures that the digitization process “has accelerated tremendously” over the last year and a half.
Guest and hotel
Consult the information about the accommodation to ordering room service, making reservations at the restaurant or spa, chatting with the staff… The guest is connected to the hotel to carry out any management “in real time, without waiting, without contact and in a very simple way from the mobile itself”, the manager lists. And all from the mobile and even without having to download the app, since it can be accessed with a QR code.
In addition, according to the company, digitization in the room also benefits the hotel. And it does so in two areas, according to the CEO and co-founder. On the one hand, it helps to optimize operations by making the work of employees “easier and more controlled”. The second factor has to do with the data: “All the information generated can be used to obtain better results. Something as simple as requesting a review about the service (by the way, another habit that the consumer has acquired outside the hotel) can be key to detect areas for improvement ”, he details.
Launched in 2010 by Joan and his brother Ángel, this company focuses on facilitating digital transformation, which is “key” in reorienting the sector towards a new tourism focused on the customer experience. In addition to the NH group, they work with other large hotel chains such as Meliá in 185 hotels; Barceló, in another 100 hotels, or RIU, with 85 hotels. In total, to date they are present in more than 1,000 hotels in 58 different countries.
“During these 10 years our mission as a company has not changed: we want to improve the guest experience and generate value for hoteliers through mobile solutions,” says Lladó. Although in this decade the company has had an evolution, related to the business model, which it has adapted to become a Software as a Service (SaaS) company to provide a more “effective” service to its customers.
As he explains, although Initially, hotel digitization focused on the search and reservation phases, the trend is now moving towards the later moments. “The check-in online, check-out express or the management of all the needs of the guests during their stay “, details the co-founder of STAY.
In the case of NH, the transition was initially triggered by the pandemic, due to the “immediate need to generate trust and security in the customer,” he explains. Sandra Perez Carracedo, Experience Design & Innovation Director at NH Hotel Group. “It allowed us, among other things, to eliminate elements that could be a possible source of contagion, reduce physical contact with hotel staff, adapt to new operations necessary in the services, inform about sanitary measures, etc.”, he assures. Later, with the return to activity, they accelerated the pace of implementation of the digital tool, reaching 10 hotels a week.
These new needs have reached both large groups such as NH and smaller, more humble accommodations. Aware of “the critical current situation”, the founders of STAY launched last June a free version of the Guest Experience platform, which allows the creation of the complete and personalized app.
“So that hoteliers, regardless of the size of their establishment, can digitize their guests’ stay very quickly (it only takes a few minutes to have a fully functional app) and economically, as we know first-hand how delicate which is the situation. For this reason, we think that a basic solution of our tool could be useful to overcome this difficult period “, explains Joan Lladó.
A reception that, according to him, is having a very good reception. “So much so that, really, as soon as they see all the possibilities of STAY they prefer to take the step to a premium plan because they understand that it is an investment that has a clear and direct return,” he adds.