From automated thermostats and voice-activated blinds to multi-functional tablets and smart speakers, in-room technologies are rapidly becoming the norm in serviced apartments. However, the most important tech for operators remains hidden from view. In our digital age, a frictionless service across the customer journey underpins great guest experience and repeat custom. To get ahead of the game, serviced apartment operators should embrace these five must-have technologies.
- Property management system (PMS)
A modern PMS is not simply an online ledger or spreadsheet in fancy clothing, it’s a multi-tasking digital assistant that makes your business operations smoother and more effective. Contracts and inventories are all in one place for easy compliance. Centralised owner information and supplier details help cement key relationships. Property images, facilities lists, email templates and ready-to-go quotes are used for efficient marketing and guest communication. In short, it’s everything you need to run your business efficiently from one simple-to-use platform. For advice on picking the right PMS, check out our 10-step checklist.
- Booking portal
In recent years, online travel agencies (OTAs) have grown in popularity. But the drawbacks, which include delayed refunds and poor lines of communication, have led to many customers booking accommodation directly with providers for peace of mind. This plays into the hands of operators who use booking portals. Not only can you offset the 15-20% OTA commission, but by offering 10% discounts for booking directly, you can improve short-term revenue and long-term loyalty. Having an online booking form with snazzy photos, direct comms and clear payment terms results in maximised profit that alleviates guest concerns. Here’s some tips to get started.
- Smart locks
When smart locks first arrived on the scene, some operators feared that the lack of a concierge ‘meet-and-greet’ might detract from the guest experience. Those fears didn’t last long. Aided by the consumer technology trends that emerged during the pandemic, guests now prefer the ease of remote check-in and check-out that comes with smart lock technology. Whether it’s a virtual key on a mobile app or in-built sensors, smart locks are more convenient, secure and environmentally-friendly. What’s more, access control can easily be applied to existing units which will send your management costs tumbling.
- Online help centre
Not all technology is reliable. Microwaves break, air-conditioning units give up, radiators stubbornly refuse to turn on. While maintenance is part and parcel of serviced apartment management, modern technology has revolutionised how it’s done. For example, with a specialised operations app, guests can report a maintenance issue 24/7, send photos of the fault, speak directly to the assigned technicians and track progress with notifications. Operators can schedule tasks, prioritise urgent duties, provide real-time updates and send temporary key codes to the appropriate technician, contractor or housekeeping staff. Across every unit and site, operators can remotely manage maintenance with the touch of a button. It’s a one way ticket to efficient resolutions, happy guests and minimal admin costs.
- Automated payment systems
Operators don’t want to chase invoices. Guests don’t want to think about bills. The solution? Automated payments. From cash to cards to apps and Apple Pay, payment methods need to be simple and secure. With modern technology, first time guests can enquire, receive a quote, book their accomodation, pay securely online and receive a PDF invoice in no time at all. For long-term and corporate clients, operators can use automated billing systems to send invoices based on bookings, which are automatically updated with subsequent amendments (i.e. additional extras purchased during the stay) and loyalty discounts (i.e. 10% off for monthly stays).
Adopting technology has never been easier
There is a common misconception that implementing technologies is a time-consuming burden for operators. But what might have once been a cumbersome process, now only requires one integration as these features are all integrated within the res:harmonics system. Adopting technology has never been easier.