How to Modernize Your Hospitality Desk06/12/19
Hospitality Desks have been a staple of travel management companies since the very beginning. The idea is well intentioned, make it as easy as possible for travelers to get the help that they need. Travel has changed a lot over the years, but the hospitality desk has more or less remained the same. Now that travelers can instantly access information from their smartphone, is a Dry Erase board the best place to put important updates?
When seeking improvement, start with the end goal. The #1 goal of a hospitality desk is to provide a high level of service for travelers. Within that overarching goal, there are 4 main responsibilities.
Responsibilities of a Hospitality Desk
- Posts a daily schedule of events
- Update travelers on any changes made
- Troubleshoot traveler issues, special requests, and questions/concerns
- Anticipate traveler needs in an effort to provide excellent customer service
A hospitality desk works at some level, or it would not have lasted in the travel industry for as long as it has. But just because something works doesn’t mean it’s destined to stay the same forever; a Tesla performs far better than a horse carriage. When travelers are deciding between trips, could technology play a role in the final decision?
Looking back on the transition from low to high-tech solutions, we see that the basic user needs are met. The new solution, however, brought improvements in efficiencies. Going from carriage to car brought improved user-experience and overall performance upgrades. This may be a question to think about in your organization… What is the Tesla of the hospitality desk revolution?
How to Improve the Hospitality Desk
Rather than removing the desk entirely, technology can be gradually incorporated into the process. We were approached by a company that manages group travel for university alumni programs. They wanted to use a 2-way messaging app to provide information, reminders, last-minute weather notifications, reduce reliance on an outsourced customer service team, and improve the travelers’ overall experience.
Their transition followed the same pattern seen in the past. Same end goals achieved in a more efficient manner. The daily schedule of events became a message, sent out first thing every morning. Updates went out to travelers in real-time, keeping everyone informed of new developments. Travelers didn’t even have to return to the desk to ask questions, they simply opened their app and sent a message. After reviewing the trip data, they developed a more proactive communication plan that should reduce questions in the future.
“Thank you for a wonderful experience! The app was very helpful – responses were quick and saved us trips to the help desk. Great job to all!” -Ohio State Alumni Traveler
By being accessible at the click of a button, they were able to improve traveler experience and make the transition towards a more modern era of hospitality desks. We don’t anticipate the hospitality desk going away completely any time soon, but we are anticipating a shift towards technology that improves the experience for all parties involved.
If you think your business could benefit from 2-way messaging, we’re expanding to take on additional clients in the travel sphere. If you’re within the next 5 customers, we’ll work 1-on-1 with you to provide best practices in improving your travelers’ experience and help you win future business.