If you want to create a hotel brand that resonates with today’s customer mindset it must be packed with technology. That’s the mantra Bob Zacharaiah is using for developing his new hotel, Malana Hotels & Resorts. And for him it’s the only way to make the hotel as efficient as possible while upping the stakes on delivering high quality personalized service.
But it’s also about having the right technology for the right reasons at the right cost.
As Founder, President and CEO of HotelWorks Development, Bob Zachariah is looking to deliver a new mid-market brand to the hotel industry that connects emotionally with the consumer. Last month we discussed the impetus for the brand and some of its unique features for the hotel set to debut next month in Cotulla, TX. You can read that article here.
Now we take a look at the technology Zacaraiah says will fuel his bottom line while increasing guest satisfaction. The idea here is to create a product that heightens guest experience through personalized and dedicated service while offloading unnecessary stuff to technology.
“We are using technology to allocate tasks so we have money for labor. That way technology can enable us to deliver a higher quality of personalized service,” said Zachariah who believe technology can have deep impact in the focused service arena. “If you can marry mobile and an online concierge into midscale arena, for example, you can take advantage of it to make guests have a better hotel experience. We are finding we can use technology to also reduce staff in the hotel but have it simultaneously allow us to focus available staff strength to provide better service and an overall better product.”
For example, in the guest room you can order items such as extra towels through the hotel’s mobile app or through the in-room television. The hotel will also have an online check-in process which will take full advantage of modern smart phone technology. Oh yeah, that phone could also serve as a room key and the hotel’s app will provide wake up call, concierge services and any other special services a guest would need. Guests can even send a digital postcard right from the app.
The app will also be used by guests to get detailed information about local restaurants and attractions presented in a meaningful way. Much more so than the way many hotels have it now where a line on some page somewhere on the hotel website simply says Zoo, 12 miles. Or Lou’s Pizza two miles. That is meaningless to the typical guest and does not empower their stay.
“Everything is at the tip of the guest’s finger. This frees up staff to provide more services to those guests that truly want it and need it,” said Zachariah. And for those older folks that don’t understand all this reliance on tech tool to shift customer service, well that seems to be how the word is shifting. Especially with the younger Millennial generation that prefers in many instance to replace human interaction with technology.
The entire hotel will have fiber optic wiring and superfast WiFi (hardwiring too!) enabling guests to bring their own entertainment to the hotel. They’re doing it anyway so Malana Hotels will make sure there is enough bandwidth for people to each their own Netflix or Hulu account on the guestroom television.
“It’s all about creating an experience where our guests can watch their favorite internet based content from their own account. You can even use the cell phone as the television remote too,” said Zachariah.
But he also promises there won’t be any “tech glut” because too much technology could actually have a debilitating effect on the guest experience. After all, no one wants to read a user manual when checking into a hotel, so Zachariah promises only technology that matters on a daily basis.
Take the lobby, for example. Here’s a communal zone which will have iPads for searching the web or printing out a boarding pass. And that robust WiFi will be outside too – this is Texas after all – so people can work while playing outside. Televisions will be positioned outside too in cabanas with grills and a small cooking area so people can be outdoors and entertained via personal media simultaneously.
Last little piece of critical tech? A refrigerator and microwave in the room so people can purchase something in the hotel’s 24/7 deli and reheat the item later should they choose. It’s those little touches Zachariah sees as making a big difference.
Next time we’ll focus on what it takes to open a hotel whilst becoming inculcated in the community.