In the fiercely competitive hospitality industry, guest experience is everything. And thanks to the digital innovation of UK technology firm Crave Interactive, hotels can now offer the ultimate in guest experience.
Crave is the company behind a new generation of in-room hotel tablets that are revolutionising the way hotels interact with their guests. The devices enable extraordinary levels of guest engagement; everything from ordering room service and equesting extra towels and pillows, to booking salon and spa services, and adjusting room lighting and temperature can be done through the tablet.
This in turn presents huge opportunities for upselling and a significant return on investment (ROI) for the hotels that have installed Crave’s tablets. Primarily these are high-end hotels; the luxury Chewton Glen hotel in the New Forest was the first to introduce Crave tablets, but with the technology now viable in mid-sector and limited-service hotels, Crave has its sights set on global growth.
Already the European market leader, Crave is building momentum in the United States, with clients such as MGM’s ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, which features tablets in all of its 4,000 guest rooms, and chains such as Hyatt, Secrets, Breathless and Montage.
Crave’s founder and chief executive Gareth Hughes says: “The tablets were originally developed as a luxury product, so the big challenge was bringing the costs down in order to provide a great ROI. We’ve done that and the hotels we are working with are seeing the results; they tell us they are budgeting for profits, not for costs.”
Crave has worked closely with its manufacturing partner to craft a new low-cost tablet that replicates the most essential elements of its more sophisticated luxury version. Its modern, seamless and secure user interface, and the immediacy of its fresh content have rendered the traditional print version of the hotel guest directory obsolete.
Mr Hughes says: “Hotel operations managers love the immediacy of being able to instantly update information. Until Crave they had to wait months to effect a change while waiting for the next directory print run. Our clients have thrown out the printed guest directories, menus and marketing materials that typically clutter a room.”
In addition, the hotel can upload food and beverage specials, and push discounted rates for spa treatments directly to guests in-room, based on changing demand. Attractive messages prompting impulsive bookings are highly effective as a sales tool. Based on the TripAdvisor reviews of hotels that feature the tablets, guests absolutely love them.
Positive ROI, exceptional guest experience and a desire to replace paper aside, hotels that have installed Crave would agree it helps them communicate and engage with guests, removing the barriers between guests browsing services and then purchasing them.
Mr Hughes says: “We are currently getting two million touches of our tablets every week, with the resultant data enabling our clients to understand their guests’ preferences and interests in a way not previously possible. Our journey is to use our technology to help hotels provide a more personal service to each guest.”
Crave has seen its sales increase eight-fold in the last financial year and is about to launch a new round of private Enterprise Investment Scheme funding for the next stage of its global expansion.
“With 20 million hotel rooms worldwide, we estimate that the addressable market is at least 12 million rooms,” says Mr Hughes. “Our vision has always been to see guests using our tablets everywhere, from the most luxurious suites to rooms in economy hotels – and we know now that it is entirely possible.”