Today, GuestJoy is formally announcing a new stream of functionality on its platform that will empower hoteliers to deploy online check-in at their properties.
The announcement comes as many hotels across the globe are slowly but surely preparing to either reopen their doors, or expand the number of guests they can host at a given time.
I asked Andrew Martin, GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager, to explain a bit of the background of the project, as well as how it will work.
Andrew: “It was born out of necessity; a push in product development that was just waiting to be embraced.
One thing I have always been proud of with our product is that its development has always been shaped by the direct input and feedback from our customers. If it wasn’t something hoteliers needed, or it didn’t work the way they expected, we worked closely with them to form a feature that was fit-for-purpose.
This example is no different. 2020 is a year that has turned out as nobody predicted, and has indeed been devastating for many. There was a time when so many of us were locked down, and unsure of the future.
But the time has come to step out of those shadows and start to move forward. Over the past few months, GuestJoy has been busy fine-tuning some areas of our platform, and completely re-imagining others.
Understandably, when we spoke with both current and future customers, their biggest concern was as guests started to return and occupancy increased, things would start to look as they had before: crowded reception areas filled with guests waiting to check in.
Even with new norms in place like masks, social distancing, and hand sanitiser, it’s completely understandable that many guests would not want to be standing in a line for long, if at all.
Flora: “And this is how we decided to focus on online check-in?”
Andrew: “Exactly. And actually, it’s much more than simply the act of checking in. We have added functionality in the app to actually encourage guests to check-in ahead of time”.
Flora: “So, can you give us an idea of how it all works?”
Andrew: “(laughing) Well, that’s tricky in one sense. One of the strengths of our platform is its flexibility, and to behave according to the needs of an individual property! But OK, I’ll give you a common example.
The first thing we did was to add a new pre-arrival email type. This email features a call to action that redirects the guest straight to the online check-in form.
This complements the lineup of already powerful email types hotels can choose to activate for their property, meaning that any hotel can have a customised, targeted email campaign in place for their guests.
Something else we have been working on since late last year is adding more and more 2-way integrations to our suite of vendor partners. Making this a seamless experience for both the guest and the hotelier is one of our main objectives.
Flora: “Is it possible to have 2-way integrations with any PMS provider?”
Andrew: “In a practical or realistic sense, the answer to that is no. There will always be some vendors who aren’t willing to open up their platform, or the technology just isn’t there to support it.
This is one of the challenges of the hospitality sector; the effect of legacy technology holding large parts of the sector back, coupled with the hesitation by many to change and seek better solutions. But not everyone is like that!
Flora: “Does this mean there are some customers who will miss out on the new functionality?”
Andrew: “The good news is, the answer to that question is a resounding “no”!. Customers can still take advantage of the online check-in functionality even if we don’t happen to have a 2-way integration with their PMS provider.
The alternative is that the information is instead entrusted to the hotel, where a staff member will amend the booking in the PMS. The end result for the guest is still a faster, simpler check-in experience, which is universally what our customers want, so it’s a great benefit for literally any property.
Flora: “You know I have to ask the nasty question about cost, right?”
Andrew: “Ha! I suppose it’s an easy one this time around! The best part of all of this is that we aren’t increasing the cost of the service for our customers. Instead we are increasing the value of our product to them.
Let’s be frank here. Software platforms like ours, and many others, are secondary systems for hotels. Are they important platforms? Sure; but if my PMS goes down, and my upselling platform goes down, I know which one I’m going to be most worried about!
That’s why we see it as vital that we’re always providing value to our customers, and in fact it’s something that continually surprises our new customers. We’re constantly hearing feedback such as “Really? I can do THAT as WELL?!”.
You see, with secondary (but still important!) systems, there are literally hundreds of different providers offering systems for all sorts of purposes. In theory, a hotel could have dozens of systems covering all manner of tasks or services.
So why not streamline things a little? Save money?
GuestJoy is a truly unique offering in hospitality. No other system can provide industry-standard targeted upselling and cross-selling; automated guest communications; online check-in; guest feedback; online reputation boost, and still more.
Single-purpose systems really do need to justify their existence in this post-Covid-19 world. Now more than ever, hoteliers need to have lean operations and costs reigned in. GuestJoy is the perfect answer to that need.
When GuestJoy can consolidate several other systems and yet still be so simple to use for any staff member, more and more of our new customers are thrilled that they can cover so many things – in fact, the entire guest journey – on one platform.
It’s one of the reasons I love working at GuestJoy! We have such a multi-faceted app, that no two days are ever the same.
Flora: “That sounds great! So, do you have any sort of closing messages for readers on all of this?”
Andrew: “Sure, definitely. Hospitality, by definition of its name, is a sector where we won’t be hiding at home on Zoom calls forever. We will get back out there and we will see guests once more.
There was a very depressing time for most of us over the past few months, but, you know what? It’s time to move on from that. No more Zoom calls, board games and other fluffy marketing activities, or letting people know about our home office setups.
Keep the new webinars and baking tips, though; they’ve been great!
But at GuestJoy, we’re all about the push to open up to guests once more.
We’re about recovering, and about helping our customers, and future customers, navigate that road to recovery by providing tangible, built-for-purpose tools that make their staff’s work easier, and make the guest experience fantastic.
We’re about action now. We’re about doing; not just saying. Join us, and you’ll wonder why you ever did things the old way!
Andrew Martin is GuestJoy’s Customer Experience Manager, and bridges the gap between hoteliers, their guests, and technology, ensuring that our tech is invisible at a hotel and only helps, not hinders.