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6 Ways Resorts Can Use Technology to Engage Guests in 2023

Travel and tourism took major hits during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it’s roaring back to life with guests ready to experience all that hospitality has to offer. Meet travelers where they currently are by leveraging innovative technology solutions to deliver a memorable guest experience for all the right reasons.

Let’s explore what the tourism climate is now and how owners and operators of resorts can leverage the best and newest technology.

Yes, to Travel in 2023

According to a recent poll from Morning Consult’s Return to Normal Tracker, three in five adults stated they are comfortable flying domestically. Additionally, 75% said they had no concerns about staying at a major hotel chain. These data points are great news for the hospitality industry. There’s still pent-up demand for this, and even concerns of inflation don’t seem to be limiting spending, as noted in TripAdvisor’s Fall Travel Index.

The guests are coming, but they return to resorts with new perspectives and expectations. Many of which involve technology.

Visitors Are Back but Changed

COVID-19 changed consumer behavior in many ways. One of the most critical and far-reaching was interactions with technology and more digital adoption. In the hospitality space, this change became apparent with self-check-in kiosks, the ability to use contactless payments and heavier use of apps to interact with a property versus one-to-one conversations.

These technologies allowed guests to avoid human interaction, making them feel comfortable. It also helped resorts reorganize how people check-in and use resort amenities. As a result, hotels were also able to operate with fewer staff members, as recruitment and retention in the industry continue to be a challenge. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) noted that leisure and hospitality is a fast-growing industry and shows signs of recovery. The headcount to match the demand still lags.

So, hospitality is at a crossroads in how it considers technology integrations. They need to match a visitor’s expected experience, bridge the gap where labor shortages remain and engage them in a sensory and meaningful way.

Here’s how the industry can do this successfully.

How to Build Your Own Polysensory Experience

 

An Elevated and Enhanced Lobby Experience

Every experience begins with a powerful first impression, and hospitality has a unique opportunity to do this exceptionally. Their entrance into your lobby should wow them and make them feel comfortable.

Technology has a critical role in developing these next-level lobby experiences. Striking elements like oversized video walls or displays can provide essential information and set the overall tone for a guest’s experience. Additionally, interactive features and extended reality solutions are on the horizon. Instead of just seeing the space as a lobby, it could be a gateway to all your resort offers. Imagine someone walking up to a virtual or augmented reality experience that showcases spa services, dinner options or entertainment. They could then immediately book these through a kiosk.

 

Check-In That’s Convenient but Better Than Average

Self-check-in has been a part of the airline experience since way before COVID-19. Most consumers are used to this, but few would say it’s an “experience.” You can elevate your contactless, digital check-in by offering options—touching screens, touchless options that are gesture- or voice-enabled or via your app. Customers always like choice!

Now, it’s time to take that and make it better. You’re offering convenience and safety elements. You can do more, especially for returning guests. The technology could deliver a personalized approach to check-in, reminding them of upgrades or experiences available to them.

For new visitors to your resort, you can introduce them to what’s ahead and offer some sample itineraries based on the preferences they input. You may be worried it takes the human element out of hospitality. What it actually does is, again, give the consumer a choice in how they learn about your property. Some just want the digital interaction, but the screen can also offer them the opportunity to book time with a concierge to learn more.

 

Wayfinding That Guides and Delights

Resorts are often huge and confusing to navigate, which is why wayfinding signage is so useful. There is an opportunity to do something bigger and better here, as well. Digital signage and video walls have been wayfinding cornerstones for years.

Now, you can make them more interactive. Visitors search for where they want to go, and a map displays it with highlights of what’s on the way, like shopping or restaurants. It promotes what you have to offer in a way that’s convenient and relevant to the user.

The Working Traveler Is Back

Business travelers are once again hitting the air, and your resort needs to deliver spaces to work and collaborate. A revamped conference room must have all the right pieces (screens, microphones, etc.) and be super easy to use. A guest should be able to come in and get set up in minutes, regardless of their device.

Immersive and Polysensory Experiences

Hospitality can ramp up the experience factor with immersion and polysensory. While often found in museums or entertainment venues, immersive experiences are at home in resorts. You can bring the stories that built your resort to life with a variety of interactive elements, from video walls to interactive displays to audio components.

Such installations don’t need to be formal attractions. Rather, they could include the resort’s narrative or the city’s history. More ideas come from triggered content as guests venture through the resort and entice all the senses. For example, content could begin to play when people walk into the restaurant row of the resort. They could see clips of entrees and get a whiff of their aromatic scents. It’s a new and polysensory approach to promoting what’s for dinner.

These ideas could attract new and returning customers and ramp up your exposure on social media. It’s a unique type of buzz you can only generate with this type of immersion.

Designing, Building and Integrating New Technology into Your Resort

The canvas for experiences is ready for you to mold. You’ll want to work with an experienced team of designers, content creators and technology integrators. Key to this new proposition will be a control center where you can manage it all from one point, which will ensure optimal operations and reduce costs. Planning your technology and having the right partners will ensure your investment delights guests in every moment.

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