Upon arrival, the guest does not wait bored on his feet. The staff accompanies you to sit on a comfortable sofa in the lobby or have a drink at the bar while he completes the registration paperwork from his mobile. The classic hotel reception will go to a better life. At least that is how it is considered within the Accor Hotels group, which has set out to reinvent the traditional concept of check-in through an application.
“It allows customers to enjoy the hotel and take ownership of its common areas from the first minute,” says Bibiana Bárcena, director of the Ibis Madrid Centro, the first to implement the Fols Mobile solution. The rules of the game in leading accommodations have changed and this is just one example of the new scenario. It is not enough to have the best bed, the best breakfast, the best views of the sea or the best price. Hotels now compete in the technological universe that has led them to develop applications and webapps, to consume PMS (hotel management software), to make the QR code the language and the mobile device the window between guest and host.
The challenge is great. Improve the user experience to create a personalized environment, which is not exclusively robotic, in addition to optimizing the management of internal processes and showing its commitment to the environment. In this sustainable and digital future that is already present, paper appears as enemy number one.
Check-in before arrival, order a cocktail from the pool lounger, book that afternoon’s spa treatment or that night’s restaurant menu. Until opening the door of the room without a card. All with mobile. “The pandemic has changed the way hotels relate to customers,” says Alejandro Rodríguez, deputy director of marketing at Fuerte Group Hotels.
“In recent years we have opted for digitization, in search of personalization and efficiency in the use of resources,” he adds. In this search, solutions such as QuoHotel are born, “another channel of communication between client and company”, as defined by Sebastià Vidal, director of tourism at CEI Europe. “We provide accommodations with this software that creates paperless environments [con menos papel] ”, he adds.
Because its disappearance is a challenge for the sector and the main sign of its environmental commitment. According to a study carried out by Parthenon and Booking.com in 2021, hotels and accommodation emit 264 million tons of COtwo per year, which is equivalent to 65 thermal power plants or 10% of the total annual emissions of the tourism sector.
Invoices, receipts, cards, menus… “The use of a certain paper support is part of this waste”, they indicate in the CEI Europe team. The chains are aware and almost all have entrusted themselves to the paperless philosophy in this new digital environment.
But what about the old-school boarder? “We are not talking about 100% robotic environments where you either go with a mobile phone or you will not be able to do anything,” emphasizes Vidal. “This tool helps the hotelier to eliminate bureaucratic tasks to better interact with the client in person.” The goal is to give the guest the power to choose. What if the technology doesn’t respond? There is still a long way to go so that customers do not feel helpless or insecure due to the absence of staff.
PMS. QuoHotel is an example of a property manager system (PMS) or hotel management software that offers a solution for chains to optimize internal processes, improve the user experience and create paperless environments. The CEI Europe company has developed this webapp that it offers to companies through an annual contract and a monthly fee. Its price: from 190 euros to 6,000, depending on the capacity and characteristics of the hotel.
Evolution. The Accor group has developed the new Fols Mobile application, “which allows the hotel team to receive clients and register them in a close, personalized and agile way from any point of the accommodation”, according to the hotel chain. Its different brands will gradually eliminate traditional reception spaces to change “the feeling of a checkpoint for that of being at home”.
Marriott Bonvoy. It is the renewed app of the hotel firm that makes it easier for its guests to register from their own mobile, chat with the hotel team, access different areas of the complex such as the parking lot, the gym or the swimming pool and even open the door of the room without using a key or card.