The hotel and hospitality industry is very sensitive about customer experience and service quality. The Dubai and the entire UAE is well-known for their tourist attraction and business activities. The hotel and hospitality industry is booming in the country. The industry is divided into several segments such as chain hotels, independent hotels, service apartments, mid-class luxury hotels, high-class luxury hotel, motels, etc. The industry is witnessing a steady growth and is projected to witness the same for several coming years. That means the competition is very high and in order to remain relevant in the market, the hotel must have to offer the high quality service and excellent customer experience. The customer experience is a very complex and sophisticated phenomenon, it is not fixed, it keep changing, and sometimes those changes are subtle and very quick that it become very difficult to keep up with. That is why the hotels and hospitality businesses always invest huge resources in customer experience.
The hotels and hospitality sector all around the world is changing, in fact evolving into a much better and advanced industry by adopting modern technological solutions and innovation. The digital customer experience is one of the most popular trends all around the world. It is not only limited to hotels and hospitality sector, but the offering digital customer experience is very common all across consumer markets. Here in Dubai and all around the UAE the digital customer experience is considered to most important and crucial to raise customer satisfaction. The websites, smartphone apps and self-service kiosks are considered to be the most popular methods to offer a satisfactory digital customer experience. Here in Dubai and all around the UAE the government sector, the private sector and service industry in particular are focusing more on making digital offerings to delight their customers. In this blog we will discuss what the self-service kiosk is and what are the features of a good quality self-service kiosk software.
What is Interactive Self-Service Kiosk?
An interactive self-service kiosk system consists of two major parts, one is the hardware components and the other is the interactive self-service kiosk software. The hardware components include a digital interactive kiosk, which usually have touch screen, some peripherals and a few hardware accessories enclosed in a body which can be placed on floor or desk and it can also be mounted on walls. The interactive self-service kiosks can be further classified in two main categories, indoor and outdoor. The indoor self-service kiosks are the most common and widely popular since more than a decade now, however, the outdoor kiosks are also gaining popularity since past few years. The biggest difference between the indoor and outdoor kiosks is their technical specification. The outdoor kiosks are made weather proof, have special cooling solutions, and the displays are made brighter than the indoor kiosks. Furthermore the interactive self-service kiosks hardware comes in two configurations, one is based on Android OS and the other is based on Windows OS. The kiosk category, class and platform depends on the software requirements.
What is Interactive Self-Service Kiosk Software?
The interactive self-service kiosk software is the actual brain of the system. All the source codes, programing and algorithms are part of the main software which is usually hosted on a server. The interactive self-service kiosk software can be hosted on online hosting, cloud or even at local in-premises data center. It can be divided into three main parts, the server side application, the administrative dashboard and the user interface (UIs) or client. The UI runs on the interactive self-service kiosk unit which also act as a client to the server. The administrative dashboard is basically the back office of the entire system. It allows system admins to perform several tasks such as viewing the customer data, add/remove or modify the services offered through the system and collect analytical data from the system. The interactive self-service kiosk software’s server application is basically the main software engine which perform all the processes through its algorithms and process all the data and instruction from different users of the system. The interactive self-service software can be integrated with other enterprise tools, databases and central information center to synchronize data.
Features of a Best Self-Service Kiosk Software for Hotels
For any interactive self-service kiosk solution both the software and hardware are important, but the software plays the main role. There are tons of features that are completely independent of the hardware. Hence the software is far more important and complicated too. The interactive kiosk software make sure the customers get the service they want, if the software is not efficient, the customer experience would be bad. When it comes to the interactive self-service kiosk software, the businesses will have to decide between commercial off-the-shelf software and the custom software development. The commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) are quicker to deploy, have comparatively less initial cost, but have very limited functionality and most of the time the customization is not available. However, the custom software development take more time, has slightly higher initial cost, but offer exclusively build solution as per the business needs. The customized software offer more control, flexibility and freedom when it comes to customization, scalability and upgrades. In this blog we will list the key features of an interactive self-service kiosk software that are must to have for better efficiency and satisfactory customer experience.
Reduce Customer Wait Time and Improve Customer Experience
The common problem at a hotel or hospitality businesses is the customer wait time for the check-ins. Imagine a customer had a 6 hours flight, and they reached at the hotel and they will have to wait in a queue just to check in. That would be very stressful and frustrating. The interactive self-service check kiosk enable businesses to effectively manage customer footfall and reduce the waiting time. The customers can easily check-in from the self-service kiosk. The self-service kiosk software can be integrated with the booking management system and the property management systems which enables it to facilitate the self-check in process. Usually the customers do online booking via a portal or hotel’s website. They can be issued with a unique serial number which serves as their booking number and in some cases the customers are also provided with a barcode. The interactive self-service check in kiosk can take the booking number and verify it from the relevant system to let the customer check in. In case of the barcode, the self-service kiosk can scan it and authenticate it from the relevant system.
The customers then can either proceed to the counter to get the room key, or they can be issued with mobile-enabled electronic room key which usually works with NFC. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk can also have digital lockers which can have they physical key or they can be linked to a separate digital locker which holds the keys. This makes the entire check in process fully self-service and automated and the hotel doesn’t have to assign an employee for that. The complete interaction is a digital experience, which is fast, convenient and simply. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk comes with an intuitive user interface (UI) which offers a multi-lingual dashboard to the customers with on-screen instructions and help customers go through the simple steps of self-check in. The freedom and control over the check in process improve customer experience. Furthermore the customers who doesn’t have prior booking can also use the interactive self-service hotel kiosk for self-check in.
Most of the time the customers feel hesitant in enquiring from the customer service agents. There are several factors that cause this such as there could be another customer or a queue behind them, they are in hurry, the language barrier could be a problem and sometimes the customers don’t want to engage in lengthy conversations, hence they try to choose in hurry. However, with the interactive self-service hotel kiosk the customer can get all the relevant information on the screen and there is no pressure on them, they can check and recheck same option many times, they can compare several options side by side and they can add more add-ons in their plan. At the interactive self-service hotel kiosk the customers can choose the language of their preference and all the information can be provided in their preferred language which also makes things easier for them to understand. Hence the customers end up selecting the best deal which raise their happiness and satisfaction. The freedom and control offered by the interactive self-service hotel kiosk is unmatched. That is the reason the customer experience can be significantly enhanced.
Offer Multiple Payment Methods
The interactive self-service hotel kiosk software can be integrated with several payment methods such as credit/debit card payment, online payment gateway, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and even cash also. This allow the customers to choose the most convenient payment method for them and add value to their experience. Furthermore the interactive self-service hotel kiosk software can also be integrated with online booking system, third-party booking systems, airlines, online and e-Commerce platforms, etc. Which enables it to link with promotions, discounts, vouchers, and packages market through different channels. That is a very helpful feature, because in the modern marketplace the hotels and hospitality industry is utilizing several unorthodox techniques and engaging through multiple channels to maximize the sales and to attract different audience groups. The ability to accept different payment mode and to integrate different booking/selling channels in one system can significantly reduce the check in steps, effort and time. This helps hotels to significantly improve customer check in experience.
Push Promotions and Marketing Directly to the Customers
For any marketing campaign the customer reach is crucial, you should be able to reach to the right audience at the right time to maximize the outcome. Here in Dubai and all around the UAE the hotels and the hospitality industry always make attractive offers and launch promotional campaigns to attract more customers. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk have an intuitive and very attractive UI. It allow customers to navigate through available information very easily and let them find the best match for their requirements. Furthermore for any business it is important to maximize the size of the average sale. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk comes with a large size touch screen display, which have enough real estate to display interactive features and promotional content side by side. This help hotel management to increase the size of an average sale and let customers add more add-ons, features, offers, etc. to their purchase. Which help generating more revenue and increase the profitability of the business. Furthermore the multimedia marketing content also help increasing communication and customer engagement and help hotels understand the response of their campaigns for improvements.
Personalized Experience Increase Customer Royalty
Another great feature of the interactive self-service hotel kiosk is that it can be integrated with the customer relationship management system which enables it to access the complete details of the past interactions with the same customer. This allow management to build more personalize customer experience while they are interacting with the kiosk. For example sometimes customers want to stay in the same room they stayed in past, but when they made booking they didn’t select that, so while check in if that room is still vacant the interactive self-service hotel kiosk software can prompt a message to inform them if they want to check in to that same room or not. Sometimes the customers may have availed particular services which can be offered again or sometimes similar services are at discount they can be offered to the customer. Sometimes customers have some complaints, the interactive self-service kiosk can highlight that they will not face that again, or it can tell them how those particular issues had been addressed, etc. All these features help offering a personalized customer experience which tells customers that the business value them and help gaining their trust. The customer trust increase customer loyalty and help hotels get repeated business from those customers.
Centralized Management Boost Efficiency and Productivity
The interactive self-service kiosk software is hosted at a server and it can integrate with other third-party tools, enterprise solutions, databases and systems which enable it to offer a fully centralized management system. The head office can have full control over all connected branches, they can monitor interactive self-service hotel kiosk in real-time. All the check-ins, customer interactions, feedbacks, etc. is registered at the central information center which allow head office, branch or facility manager to get live updates from the system at their administrative dashboard. Furthermore the centralized management structure also allow the head office to make changes all across the network in real-time such as if the policy got updated, if new promotional campaigns are launched, if the rates got changed, or any announcement or news can be pushed to all connected kiosks or to selective kiosks if needed. These updates are immediate, as all of the interactive self-service hotel kiosks are connected to the same network. Moreover the head office can monitor and track the performance of each branch and can analyze the business intelligence data collected from each kiosk to boost the performance and productivity.
Better Checkout Experience, Customer Feedback & Business Intelligence Data
The check ins are crucial but the checkout experience is also important too. Any unnecessary delay in checkout could completely ruin the customer experience. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk offers self-checkout 24/7. The customers can instantly checkout using the interactive self-service hotel kiosk. Furthermore the hotel can offer them some discount vouchers at the check out to encourage them to come back again, etc. They can request them to sign-up for the newsletter to get future promotions and communications, etc. All these things help improving the relationship with the customer. The hotel management can effectively collect customer feedback at the checkout or even at the check in process. Which can help them understand the customer behavior, their preferences, their liking/disliking, needs, expectations and demands. The customer feedback data is very helpful in improving the customer experience and services. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk software is a very capable digital tool, it can collect in-depth businesses intelligence data which includes analytical data, system usage stats and customer feedback. The business intelligence data help hotels evaluate their current processes, strategies and customer experience.
Balanced Workload Improve Employee Performance
The hotel check in is usually the first human interaction with the hotel employees. At the check in counters, the service agents welcome the customers. If the footfall is high then queue formation is inevitable and in hospitality industry the queues are one of the major cause that effects the customer experience. The queues not only increase customer wait time but also cause several other problems. No one wants to stand in waiting lines, thus people got irritated and stressed when they face queues. Which further makes it difficult for the employee to satisfy them. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk help management reduce the workload of the employees and service staff by directing some of the customers to the self-service kiosks. When the employee and service agents got engaged in queuing tasks, their performance declines as they can’t fully focus on their primary tasks. However with the balanced workload they can easily focus on their primary tasks which improve their efficiency and the service quality. The interactive self-service hotel kiosks help hotels and hospitality businesses make better resource planning and management strategies to maximize the performance of the employees and the quality of the service.
Scalability, Upgrade and Future Readiness
One of the biggest advantage of the interactive self-service hotel kiosk is that it is very flexible towards customization and upgrades. Since it is a customized and tailor-made solution which is exclusively build for the hotel, the ownership rights belongs to the hotel/business and not the custom software development company. This provide hotels complete independence from the vendor, they can setup in-house team manage and maintain the system or they can outsource it to any vendor they want. This also save them from unnecessary scaling and upgrade cost. The hotel can issue as many licenses as they want, they can redistribute the interactive self-service kiosk software to their partners or subsidiaries or anyone else. They will have full ownership of the software and the hardware. On top of that the customized interactive self-service kiosk software and hardware are built using widely available technologies which means the maintenance, further customization and upgrade cost will be low. Hotels can easily find experts to customize or maintain the system for them.
This also increase their future readiness, because the technology evolves very quickly, a new technology implementation at a department could impact the entire digital infrastructure. The compatibility and integration issues are very common whenever a business implement a new technology. Furthermore the market trends, business practices and methodologies are also subjected to gradual changes and sometimes major revamps. All these factors could impact any system or digital tool a hotel is using, however, with the customized interactive self-service kiosk software, all these changes, needs and demands can be handled very conveniently. Establishing new integrations with the new systems and sorting out compatibility issues is fairly easier with the customized interactive self-service hotel kiosk software comparing to any commercial off-the-shelf solution. Since the customized software are owned by the business who uses them, it is easier to customize them in any way possible. There is no restriction, additional licensing cost, or any such thing involve. Which increase the future readiness and also help increasing the lifecycle of the system which is why customized software always have better ROI comparing to the commercial off-the-shelf solutions.
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For hotels and hospitality businesses maintaining satisfactory customer experience is a big challenge, especially in a competitive market like UAE. Here in Dubai and all around the UAE the hospitality industry is rapidly growing which is inviting more businesses to the market. Competitive markets always led to high standards, which obviously means more running expense. However, businesses keep looking for solution which can reduce or optimize their operational cost without compromising the quality of work they produce. The interactive self-service hotel kiosk is one of the modern solution to deal with this problem, it not only minimize the operational cost and help businesses save some cost, but it also significantly enhance the customer experience. It help hotels offer excellent service via self-service kiosks which help reduce the workload of the employees and also help improving their performance.
The interactive self-service kiosk software is a modern AI (artificial intelligence) based smart software, which offers several innovative features to enhance the customer experience and to maximize the efficiency. The integrated software also help management have more visibility on the operations and provide them with intensive business intelligence data which help them evaluate their processes, policies, strategies and work flows. Businesses can aim for much higher goals by implementing modern technological solutions. RSI Concepts is a leading interactive self-service solution provider, if you want to learn more about interactive self-service hotel kiosks or if you want our help to implement a most productive and cost-efficient solution, please feel free to contact us through our Contact Us page or leave a comment in the comment box below and we will get in touch with you soon.
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