May 19, 2023
This Q&A is with Max Spangler, Director of Technology at Charlestowne Hotels. Spangler has been in his current position since 2019. Before that, he founded MeshMap and Groupify.
This interview, which covers leveraging new and existing tech to improve operational efficiencies, was conducted over email.
Hotel Interactive: Should hoteliers take an omni-channel approach with their guests?
Max Spangler: Absolutely! This enables guests to interact with hotel staff via their preferred method of communication. Monitoring guest behavior and preferences for channels of communication can go a long way in providing personalized service, leading to guest engagement and loyalty.
HI: What would you say is the most important technology when it comes to connecting with guests?
MS: A critical communications channel for guests prior to checking in and during their stay is SMS text messaging. Hoteliers can personalize information and recommendations via text message, opening a direct line of communication between the guest and hotel staff. Similarly, AI-driven chatbots can aid in the pre-arrival and post-stay engagement, gathering feedback and maintaining communication.
HI:What should hoteliers know about the Internet of Things?
MS: Implementing IoT devices and smart room features can provide guests with more control over their environment and access to personalized services. The guest experience can be enhanced by integrating voice assistants, smart lighting, and climate control systems—all of which can also contribute to overall energy efficiency.
HI: How important are contactless services, and what should hoteliers focus on in the immediate future?
MS:As guests continue to prioritize safety and convenience, investing in contactless services like touchless payment systems, self-service kiosks, and contactless room service options will be crucial for enhancing guest experiences. Think like the guest—what would make your life easier? Prioritize technologies that allow for convenience and personalization.
HI: What’s a benefit you’ve seen when introducing new tech tools into your existing tech stack?
MS: At Charlestowne Hotels, we’ve been able to collect additional data points and gain new insights about our guests through tools like pre-arrival questionnaires. We strive to provide the most curated experience possible, during and after each visit, so the more data we can garner and the further we can delve into customer trends, the more we’re able to learn and predict guest behaviors.