By its very nature, the hospitality industry is constantly searching for ways to improve the customer experience. Quicker sign-ins, improved staff workflows, and personalized experiences for each customer are all ways hotels aim to set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive industry.
As a result, hotels and other venues are looking for new technologies to give themselves a competitive edge. The most recent trend in hospitality is using tablets, smartphones, and other handhelds. Hotels are distributing these devices to front desk staff, concierges, and housekeepers, and also placing them in rooms for customer use.
Where do tablets and handheld devices help in hotels?
Tablets are a simple way to improve your customers’ experience. For example, tablets give hotels more ways to make customers aware of additional products and services. And customers, in turn, are increasingly happy to use no- or low-contact interactive services. They offer a range of new ways to interact with customers and improve their stay.
Front desk customer service
Tablets and mobile hotel electronics are changing how hotel front desks operate. They create a more personalized and modern check-in experience. Staff can now come out from behind the desk to better engage with customers, making their arrival feel less like a transaction and more like a welcome.
Having a desk between hotel employees and guests creates a barrier right from the start, and customers become frustrated when waiting to get to their rooms. Tablets and other mobile technology will help connect the hotel with the customer from that first interaction without barriers.
Tablets enable guests to conduct quick and easy self-service check-ins and check-outs. When many guests arrive, staff can always assist those in line to speed up the queues and keep the check-in process ﬂowing smoothly.
Adding new technology tools doesn’t force a cold, sterile interaction. It just provides another approach for engaging guests in the ways they want. They also help guests order products and services, fill out surveys, and sign up for mailing lists.
In-room customer service
Hotels are beginning to provide tablets directly in guests’ rooms for customers to use. Hotels can communicate promotions, deals, and products and services that can all be purchased quickly and easily from the tablet. Tablets open multiple new avenues to communicate with customers and reduce barriers for them when looking for services.
Housekeeping process control
Many hotels now provision their housekeeping staff with tablets for better process control—a concept borrowed from industrial manufacturing. It might not seem like these two industries have much in common, but housekeeping and manufacturing processes must occur quickly and consistently. Those require good control.
Housekeeping tablets include checklists so staff know what they need to do in every room and communication tools so they can check in with their supervisor, receive special requests, and confirm in real time when a room is turned over. With this reporting, front desk staff can instantly see when rooms are ready and get waiting guests in as quickly as possible.
Tablets bring all kinds of operational benefits that can streamline and simplify hotel operations. For example, administrators can use reporting tools to monitor front desk operations, housekeeping, room service, and any other team that generates digital information. They can get real-time insights at the fingerprints into every operation throughout their venue.
Are there issues when hotels acquire many new handheld devices?
The use cases for tablets and other electronic devices in hospitality are many. But hotel tablet tracking and management comes with its share of challenges.
Managing a large number of electronic devices can be a logistical nightmare
Hotel operations managers suddenly find themselves keeping hundreds of devices accounted for, charged, and ready daily. And then there’s tracking who had each device last and where they last used it. Done manually, that can be hours of work.
Also, these valuable assets are frequently targets for theft. Even discounting malicious behavior, because tablets and handhelds are designed to be very portable, it is easy for staff members to lose them.
One solution is to use smart asset lockers
Many hotels have turned to smart asset lock systems for hospitality asset tracking to manage these huge numbers of devices better. These systems automatically maintain a digital audit trail of all devices while keeping them charged and ready for use.
Smart lockers are built for managing powered devices
Asset lockers allow you to assign and charge multiple items in a single compartment, saving you big when securing many devices. In addition, the hotel tablet management software will monitor which items have been plugged in or removed in each compartment and will only release devices once they have been fully charged. That means greater efficiencies for your staff, as they’ll never struggle using half-charged devices.
Smart terminals automate recordkeeping
Hotels require a large staff who all share keys and equipment that are constantly changing hands. With smart asset lockers, you can easily keep your staff accountable. The smart terminal that controls the hotel locker maintains an audit trail of every transaction and other important events.
It enables you to schedule and restrict access for certain times, certain users, and when certain conditions are met—for example, when a signout limit has been reached or when a device has reached maximum charge. The terminals connect to a web management dashboard that gives you a full read-out of items in the locker, including charge level and error codes related to devices. You can even automatically open support tickets if a device is malfunctioning.
Modular design fits any footprint
Every hotel has unique needs, so why build a one-size-fits-all locker? Advanced asset locker systems have a modular design that you can stack and customize for your unique mix of equipment and your floor plan. First, combine a range of stackable locker modules, including compartments sized for 2-way radios, tablets, laptops, and phones. Then, you customize each compartment with charging ports and content surveillance asset tracking.
Positive outcomes using smart asset lockers for hotel tablet management
Automating your hotel electronic device management with smart lockers offers a range of benefits.
Increased productivityAutomating manual device management tasks allows your staff to focus on customer service and revenue-generating activities. Smart lockers automate the tedious administrative work of managing a large volume of equipment. Smart terminals automatically track every transaction, manage maintenance schedules, and instantly report any irregularities to managers.
Reduced equipment lossesAnother benefit of automating hotel asset tracking is you remove human error almost entirely from the equipment management process. There’s no human inventory manager to forget to record a transaction. If someone forgets to return the equipment at the end of their shift, you can have the smart locker email or text them and their supervisor. Your team can immediately begin searching for the missing device, significantly increasing your chance of recovering it.
Increased accountability for equipment use
Because all the transaction information is accurate and the system can immediately report losses, it is much harder for theft to go unnoticed. In addition, curfew alerts provide instant awareness for any late returns.
You can also apply RFID hotel asset tracking tags to devices and scan them inside compartments. The smart locker system can verify that users returned the corrected device every time. Users can’t report a return and withhold the device. The system will know.
New insights into asset useRFID tag and content surveillance hotel asset tracking give detailed insights into how hotel staff members use your tablets and other handheld devices. For example, you’ll be able to see in real time who has which tablets, where they’re using them within your venue, and their current tasks. You’ll also be able to analyze performance trends over time in detailed reports. Those reports can reveal trends you might not otherwise notice during day-to-day activities.
Hotel Tablets and AssetTracer Smart Lockers: A Winning Combination
New smart technology is poised for more and more use in hotels and the wider hospitality industry. Tablets and mobile technology can help venues offer superior customer service and streamline operations.
With a huge influx of expensive new assets and equipment, smart asset lockers—like Real Time Networks’ AssetTracer systems—provide a way to protect your investment and ensure each item is charged, accounted for, and assigned to the right individual.
Schedule a live demo today to see AssetTracer smart lockers in action
About the Author
Vice President of Marketing
Jay oversees marketing and strategic partnerships at Real Time Networks and has over three decades of experience in leadership roles in the financial services and technology industries.