AWS for Industries

Imagining a high-touch, yet touchless hotel experience

“One of the only ways to get out of a tight box is to invent your way out” – Jeff Bezos

Industries are going through difficult times; global businesses impacted by the prolonged lockdown must transform challenges into great opportunities. The world has witnessed similar events in the past, although maybe not quite at this scale.

While the hospitality industry is one of the most impacted industries, it will make a recovery. Those who listen to their guests’ needs (and differentiate from others) will emerge as winners. To thrive in this new normal, businesses, and hotels in particular, must revisit the foundational assumptions in their business models. According to McKinsey and even before the global health crisis, 92% of companies believe their business models will change given the digitization wave. Now is the time to reimagine and innovate customer engagements.

How hotels will adapt for travelers: Touchless, yet personalized experiences

It is likely that hotel guests will grow accustom to and continue to prefer touchless experiences during their stay.  For the hotel industry, it is imperative to sanitize facilities and reduce unnecessary “touches” from guests during their stay. To do so, hotels will begin to create a touchless, yet high-touch, personalized experience for guests.

Touchless experiences can be envisioned across several areas within the hotel – upon entering or exiting the hotel, dealing with the valet, check-in or check-out at the reception, walking down the aisle into the elevator, keying in the room door, ordering food at restaurant, availing spa and gym facilities, etc.

The heart of these experiences can be delivered through a hotel’s easy-to-use, mobile app, where end-to-end services can be sought by a press of a button. The app is the hub for pre-stay, during stay, and post-stay activities. It connects disparate pieces of data together into a unified view for guests. On the backend, the mobile app is integrated with third-party portals and applications. This is where the agility and reliability of AWS helps facilitate that the required information is available for the guest on his or her smartphone.

With this handy digital channel, the guest has an option to minimize face-to-face interactions and enjoy touchless yet personalized services. How will that look for your guests, from pre-stay to post-stay?

Imagine a traveler who is tech-savvy. They are planning to fly into a city for a business meeting and must find a hotel. The traveler experiences four steps in their journey of hotel selection and stay – which are reimagined in a new touchless world.

  1. A traveler’s touchless journey: Moment of inspiration

The hotel uses social media marketing to make the traveler aware of the touchless features and services, including special offers for loyalty members. In this phase of their journey, intelligent chatbots and customer contact centers address the traveler’s queries and requests 24/7.

Questions for hotels to consider:

  • Does my hotel brand inspire and resonate safety, hygiene, confidence, and convenience in the communication?
  • How can we increase the interest of the traveler to inspire them to explore the hotel property selection on the app?

Tactics to consider: Increase effectiveness of social media marketing, chatbot and contact center through personalization, artificial intelligence, and analytics.

  1. A traveler’s touchless journey: Pre-stay

Before the traveler arrives, they receive a 3D walkthrough video link of the hotel via email, along with a suite upgrade offer. A travel itinerary comes in as well, along with recommended third party services, including car rental and airline offers.

Questions for hotels to consider:

  • How can I get the traveler to download the mobile app, which is pivotal to orchestrate the touchless experience?
  • Are we able to demonstrate touchless features of our hotel via video – for instance, mobile key access to the room, parking, spa, restaurant reservations and pre-orders on app, and electronic key for the rental car?

Tactics to consider: Communication of touchless experience to set expectations, encourage app download and instill confidence, integration with other offers and providers

  1. A traveler’s touchless journey: During stay

The traveler arrives to the hotel and checks in using the mobile app without having to interact with hotel staff. They don’t need to sign any required documents in person, thanks to an E-KYC (know your customer) that is already configured. The guest walks-in through the lobby, accesses the elevator with a digital, and enters the room again with a mobile access key. When the guest is ready to relax and enjoy hotel amenities, they book a spa appointment and pre-order and book a restaurant table for breakfast using the hotel mobile app. The next day, check-out is also touchless; the guest breezes out to the rental car, which is also accessible with the press of a button on the app.

Questions for hotels to consider:

  • How can we make the touchless journey seamless and personalized?
  • What digital solution features can be stitched into the solution to create a differentiating experience?

Tactics to consider: Validate that customer data privacy and security is under compliance and build in E-KYC features, according to government regulations for seamless check-in.

  1. A traveler’s touchless journey: Post-stay

The following day, the guest receives a thank you text message and feedback request from the hotel. The guest gives a “thumbs up” review on the app and enrolls in the hotel’s loyalty program. Next, they click on the social media link to share the positive, touchless experiences on channels like Expedia and Facebook.

Questions for hotels to consider:

  • How can we engage with the guest after their stay?
  • Do we make it easy for guests to provide feedback directly to us and share positive experiences on social media and review sites?
  • How can the satisfied guest experience help build loyalty and social media wins for the hotel?

Tactics to consider: A fully integrated loyalty program; a single view of customer data and preferences; integration with review and social media sites

Building a touchless experience with AWS

At AWS, we urge all customers, including hotel chains to ‘work backwards’ from a traveler guest perspective and build out a desirable guest journey. Hotels and other hospitality companies use AWS to create delightful customer experiences, from guest support to personalized experiences.

A touchless experience for guests can be powered by AWS in a variety of ways. This includes running data analytics, machine learning algorithms, personalized recommendations, and delivering marketing campaigns. AWS services do the heavy lifting so hotel companies can focus on their guests and how their touchless experience can differentiate them from the competition. This includes AWS services such as a data lake, Amazon Lex, Amazon Personalize, Amazon Rekognition, Amazon Redshift, and more to power such a platform and drive positive business outcomes for the hotel. Below you’ll find a typical architecture diagram to help envision data, integration, services on cloud, accelerator, and business impact.

Conclusion: Hotels who put guest safety and comfort first will create delightful experiences and drive customer loyalty

The global health crisis has adversely impacted many businesses, and the hotel industry in particular will have to innovate to achieve sanitization, convenience, and safe stays for guests. Social distancing and sanitized environments are critical elements of the new operating model of hotels. This new model mitigates the perceived risk of guests, and by providing touchless, yet high-touch experiences, guests can feel at home during their hotel stays. The enhanced customer experiences envisioned in this post – and other innovations dreamed up by hotels who put their customers first – will be accelerated by cloud technology.

AWS is here to help you achieve your desired business outcomes. AWS Professional Services, along with  the APN Partner network, help the hotel industry with recommendations, migration and modernization, emerging technologies, and governance. Read more about how AWS helps companies in the travel and hospitality industry on our website.