Modern travelers value seamless online access to everything
Nowadays the guests value convenience and quick access more than the traditional ways of access to hotel services. The explosion in popularity of Airbnb can be seen as an interesting lesson for the entire hospitality sector, particularly hotels. It has shown that modern travellers are moving away from traditional face-to-face type services offered by the hotels towards an instant online access to everything. I have recently travelled to Barcelona and stayed in a local hotel. I have booked and paid for the flights online and, upon arrival, I took out the smartphone out and within seconds booked a transfer from the airport to the location. Few taps, done.
This was my first time in Barcelona so I did not have much of an idea on what there is to see and do in the area, apart from what I’ve read in the vague article in an in-flight magazine. The hotel’s reception was not of much help either. Yes, they were kind and polite but, after a short chat about a famous Spanish cathedral, their help resolved to pointing me towards a stand packed with flyers and leaflets advertising some of the local attractions. I gave up after third leaflet. This was way too much time consuming, and quite simply boring. Trawling through a sea of information printed on those leaflets and booklets was not my idea of spending a good time in Barcelona. Not to mention, that each one of those businesses advertising themselves in the flyers, had their own ways of booking and paying for their services. Some were online, some over the counter, some required deposits and some didn’t. This was too much information coming from various angles at me.
Very posh and expensive hotels sometimes have concierge services who can take care of such things for us. However, as mentioned before, people choose fast access over traditional services these days. By the time I would have even request a concierge to my room, I already had airport transfer booked and paid for. The same applies to eating out. Browsing through a menu on my tablet while sipping a drink by the pool was so extremely convenient and comfortable. I didn't have to physically phone the restaurant or, God forbid, walk to the restaurant and waste my holiday time. Within minutes I had my lunch chosen and paid for. Few taps, done.
For some reason, transfer services and restaurants have already thought about how important an instant and convenient access is to their customers. While spending my time in the sunny Barcelona I kept thinking how great it would be if hotels offered access to booking and payments system to their services. No more leaflets, flyers, endless telephone calls to reception desk etc etc. My conversation with the Barcelona hotel reception would be very different then: - Certainly, we can help sir - would be their answer - simply download the Stay Planner app onto your phone and you’re good to go! That’s it. All of the local services and attractions will be available to you instantly. Just few taps, done.