Touchless Hotel Experience:
Adapting to the “New Normal” of Guest Expectations

As we examine and develop new strategies for the changes that we can expect to see in the hospitality industry post-crisis, we are also starting to envision the world beyond the pandemic and to the new normal of radically shifted travel consumer expectations and preferences. The probability of guest technology expectations worldwide significantly changing becomes high as guests prefer a more touchless and fully mobile-enabled hospitality experience post-COVID-19. The future of hospitality has always been Mobile–but Covid-19 will accelerate this trend from a nice-to-have to a must-have for hoteliers.

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Guests will arrive with a new desire for a touchless hotel experience.

Guests will prefer to check-in on their mobile device, receive a digital key on their mobile device and proceed directly to their room. They will want to check-in for their spa treatments or fitness classes on their phone and complete any intake questions on their own device—with brand new questions added now, “would you like your therapist to wear a mask”. They will want to self-serve all of their experiences in the hotel by curating their own wellness itinerary themselves–self-exploring on their own mobile device and booking spa treatments, classes and activities, dining reservations and golf tee times directly. They will use their mobile device as mobile ID to present and access their privileges and facilities as a guest or member. Touchless mobile payments will be the preferred method of payment instead of “chip-and-pin” transactions on perceived “dirty” pin-pads. Guests will avoid the crowds at the bar and order from their pool chair, table or room service via their own device. Check-out will forever change as guests review their room folios on their device, bypass the front desk and settle from mobile.

So, although guests will have a pent-up desire to receive human touch again in the safe, clean and controlled environment of a spa, they will also increasingly desire a “high tech, high touch” aspect to their hospitality experience where they can control it. Hotel marketing may change forever as brands focus on their cleaning processes, sanitized environments and a touchless experience enabled by mobile technology that a guest already has in their own (washed) hands.

As the hospitality industry begins to reopen, enhancing the digital guest experience becomes more significant today as guests seek a more touchless and seamless guest experience using their own (self-cleaned) mobile devices. Here are the top features to consider in delivering a mobile app-enabled touchless hospitality experience for your guests:

  • Mobile Check-in (with registration card completion)
  • Mobile Digital Keys
  • Mobile Payments
  • Mobile ID (barcode ID, charge to room/member account)
  • Mobile Spa Check-in (intake forms)
  • Mobile Facility access (NFC/Bluetooth)
  • Mobile Messaging
  • Mobile Guest Requests
  • Mobile Guest Issues (PM)
  • Mobile F&B Ordering
  • Mobile Check-out

Guests will be returning with preferences and expectations we have never seen before; thus, it is imperative that we adapt quickly and ensure that guests and staff feel comfortable in the “new normal”.