OK, when you think digital you may not instantly think about checking into a hotel and relaxing blissfully by the pool before heading off to a tourist site to make memories. We know.
But at Blue Llama we’ve been thinking about it a lot… so just hear us out.
In a nutshell, it all comes down to “User Experience” and in this article we’ll be drawing upon some pretty clear parallels and throwing out some ideas that may just help local hospitality businesses in all areas boost their business through clever, but not overly complicated “digital enhancement”.
In the context of tech, you generally relate User Experience (UX) to the process of designing and controlling the user journey on your platform. From the moment they arrive on-site, every element of their experience should have been designed to deliver a consistent, efficient, intuitive experience which leads to a desired result for both parties. For the user, this would be access to the information or service they were seeking and for the business it could be completing a call-to-action such as filling in a lead-form, booking an appointment, making a sale or maybe simply raising awareness of your campaign message.
When you think about it, this whole process of controlling the UX really does have everything in common with hospitality.
Whether you’re a restaurant providing a fine-dining experience or take-away service, a hotel providing comfort, safety and relaxation or a tourist attraction providing thrills and memory-making; whichever way you look at it, UX is at the heart of hospitality and the foundation of all profits. So, when you put it that way… why aren’t more local hospitality businesses harnessing digital tools to bolster user experience online whilst also capturing some pretty valuable data that could be used to customize your services?
Well, some are trying. We’ve spotted a few local businesses tapping into tools such as on-site apps and booking tools linked to their POS systems. But why not go that extra step and take complete ownership of this UX and build a platform which serves both parties to enhance experience and profit? Here are some ideas that could do just that – and if any of them float your boat, we’d gladly help you get them up and running. This is our thing.
A beautiful website
For us this is obvious. We believe that a visitor’s holiday starts with their first interaction with you – which more often than not, is your website. First things first, you need a beautifully simple website which whets the appetite and feeds the eyes with anticipation for their arrival on your doorstep. Your site also needs to deliver the goods pretty swiftly, intuitively and with no friction. Visitors need to find what they’re looking for, check availability and book with total ease and confidence. If you’re not providing this very basic level of service online – will I trust you to provide the best holiday / dining / experience? Probably not…
Pocket butler app
How brilliant would it be to offer your guests a pocket butler service to help make the most out of exploring Jersey. As well as on-site services such as room-service, spa and restaurant reservations and taxi-bookings, you could provide your guests with custom guided tours, walking trails and maps to equip them with local knowledge including where to find ATMS, local tips and a messaging link direct to hotel reception. That’s room service going that extra mile! This would also facilitate leaving reviews and give you the power of data to help develop your business strategy with a sound understanding of what works and/or can be improved within your business.
Digital scavenger hunt
Make it fun for all the family with a digital scavenger hunt around your premises, or the Island! Decipher clues, track GPS, scan hidden QR Codes to collect points, capture photos of iconic landmarks all as part of your interactive holiday experience. All logged within your business-branded app and keeping the whole family entertained.
Let’s face it, there are some visitor sites that are a little more appealing to the grown-ups. Why not make it fun for all the family with videos or 3D story-telling around your site? Bring imaginations to life whilst taking your visitor attraction into another realm with an augmented reality app.
In many places around the world, tipping for fantastic service is an absolute norm. Us Brits may be known for having slightly frugal tendencies in this department, but as we try to attract more skilled hospitality workers to the Island, we want to make sure working here is really appealing. Often, tipping outside of a standard rate of pay can be a huge tipping-point in whether a job is appealing or not. Can we make this easier? Setting up a team tipping app could help!
Invite your most loyal customers to the top table for that extra VIP experience. Why an app and not just use your website? Well, a website can absolutely have all the basics for a quick win – but an app enables you to really nurture relationships to deliver that personal level of service and facilitate more ongoing business. How? Through push notifications you can keep your “members” up to date with your latest specials, give exclusive access to member-only offers and invites, they can order direct through the app and track home-delivery status via GPS (without having to pay a % cut to another app to do this), you could even set up accounts so that they pay through it. #FoodForThought
This is one easy one and some local restaurants such as Sands and Kismet Cabana are already on the case. Less paper, more green thinking. Host your menu on your website or microsite and simply ask people to scan a QR Code with their phones to view it digitally. You can update the page with new menu items at any time and they can easily pass on the address to share with friends. No paper required. #NoBrainer
OK, so that’s just the start. We have loads more where that came from and are ready to jump into action to help boost your hospitality business through digital UX. If you’d like to discuss bringing these ideas to life, get in touch.