We all remember exceptional experiences, right?
Perhaps it was a seamless booking process that made it super easy to purchase tickets, or a staff member went above and beyond to make you feel welcome upon arrival.
New technology known as a digital concierge, or virtual concierge, can help match some of those memorable in-person experiences, attending to guests’ needs whenever they want, all the while helping your team to focus on delivering a higher degree of overall guest satisfaction.
Using one means that you’ll likely decrease costs and increase operational efficiency.
So let’s take a look at this capability in more detail, the industries already using it, and how digital concierges benefits guest or customer experience.
What is digital concierge software?
Digital concierge software is a type of guest experience technology that uses artificial intelligence to assist guests while engaging with a physical location or venue.
Accessed by a guest’s smartphone or tablet device, a digital concierge can deliver conversational and contextual assistance to better meet guest needs.
Many feature real-time direct guest messaging, with software trained to understand everyday language, the types of questions guests might ask, and just as importantly the context of the assistance they are after.
And just like a real concierge, in addition to answering questions, a digital concierge can also share important venue and location-based information and in some cases manage bookings, sell tickets, upsell products, and look after food and beverage orders.
What industries use digital concierge software?
Leisure and attractions
When your business depends on delivering the best guest experience possible, a digital concierge can help bring operational efficiencies and guest experience enhancements from initial bookings through to post-visit feedback.
It also helps to decrease the reliance on manual processing by staff. And when guests have left your venue a digital concierge can automatically send surveys to provide valuable feedback.
Hotels and resorts
With a name like ‘digital concierge’, it’s probably not a surprise this technology is most popular within the hospitality industry, especially across hotels and resorts.
Accessed through a guest’s mobile phone via an app or browser, a digital concierge can increase guest satisfaction in a number of ways.
From managing bookings, including checking in and out, it can readily answer questions any time of the day or night, and when needed can relay support escalations to staff.
Other functionality may include booking tickets to local attractions, ordering food and beverage items, wayfinding information for easier onsite navigation and even keyless room entry.
By embracing digital transformation, healthcare providers are improving the patient experience, especially when it comes to booking appointments.
By removing, or greatly reducing the need to make manual bookings over the phone, patients can use a digital concierge to book appointments online, receive reminders and see their appointment history.
This greatly frees up practice staff and better manages wait times and patient flow.
Banking and financial services
Many financial institutions have embraced digital concierge software to improve the customer experience, lowering customer support wait times using AI technology that provides near-instant answers to common questions.
A digital concierge can also be used as another marketing channel to promote relevant products and services, such as credit cards, based on questions customers are asking.
And for certain interactions, especially security based, it can escalate digital conversations to live agents as needed.
Benefits of having a digital concierge software
1. Increase guest satisfaction through convenience
Guests have come to rely on technology to help improve many everyday interactions – from buying movie tickets through to checking in for flights.
And while this convenience may be taken for granted, it’s easier than ever to implement some sort of automation for your business.
Take for example, the common questions your staff gets asked. It might be for things like check-out time, recommendations for local attractions or kitchen hours.
With a digital concierge you can easily answer these simple questions, avoiding the need for guests to physically line up to get answers or request services.
Putting guests in control adds to the convenience of their stay and provides the information they are after in seconds, and at a time that suits them.
2. Save on labor costs and free up staff resources
Managing staffing is an ongoing challenge for any service-based business.
With a digital concierge you can more efficiently provide information to your most common questions and automate repetitive actions like taking bookings, payment processing and other venue-based requests
This can not only help to save on labor costs, but free up your staff for much higher engagement requirements including support escalations.
3. Deliver information through a familiar channel
Most of us will intuitively reach for our mobile phone to get the information we need.
You can add to your overall guest experience by utilizing familiar digital channels to make it as convenient as possible to provide assistance.
Guests can then choose to interact at a time or place that suits them, giving them more time to maximize relaxation and enjoyment.
4. Cater to language or accessibility requirements
While multilingual staff are a huge asset to any guest-facing business, offering guests the chance to have digital conversations in their preferred language can certainly spark delight and create more memorable interactions.
A digital concierge can also provide a much better support experience for any guests that may have mobility or hearing issues.
5. Better promote your own products and services
A digital concierge can effectively become a digital point of sale device, further enhancing the guest experience convenience and ease of use.
Some solutions allow guests to purchase food and beverage items, either for room delivery or via a collection point, make restaurant bookings, as well as purchasing tickets to other local attractions.
Promoting services directly to guests who may not be local can also add real value and save time when planning activities.
6. Stay on top of issues, get better insights into friction points
While staff interactions will always have their place, your digital concierge can help monitor the types of questions being asked.
This is useful to avoid timely, manual escalations of issues and address guest issues much faster, but can also provide a more engaged audience for surveys and other insights around the guest experience.
Using a digital concierge to resolve issues as quickly as possibly can also help prevent negative reviews.
7. More efficiently operate your venue
Not only can your digital concierge assist guests with queries 24/7, you can service multiple guests at the same time, freeing up your staff for other operational tasks.
You can also ensure consistency of messaging, keeping important information up to date via a managed central point.
Must-have features in a digital concierge software
Online ticketing and check-in
No matter what industry you operate in, automating the process of selling tickets and managing bookings will be a welcome time-saver to guests, helping get them into your venue as fast as possible.
Going one step further, you’ll want to make sure things like waivers, if your venue requires them, are paperless and can be actioned before visiting your venue for a much more seamless arrival experience.
Guests will often want payment receipts, either for proof of purchase or for managing expenses.
Instead of them having to ask for a receipt manually, you want a solution that can email receipts directly from your POS.
Not only do you reduce manual interactions with guests and save on paper administration, but you can also use email information for further promotions or to collect guest feedback.
Which leads us to…
Surveys to collect guest experience feedback and insights
Don’t miss any opportunity to gain insights into your guest experience.
ROLLER’s Guest Experience Score provides an easy way to collect, analyze, and action guest feedback.
It automatically sends guest surveys right after they visit your venue, with guests’ information pre-loaded.
Reporting and analytics
Access to the data created by your guests interacting with your digital concierge can give you more detailed insights into your guest experience journey – from common queries to user trends and new opportunities.
Comparing the number of guest interactions with a digital concierge when compared to your staff can also show where savings in labor costs are most effective.
5 of the best digital concierge software providers
1. Mews: Best for group and independent hotels and hostels
Mews is a property management solution powering some of the world’s best hospitality brands.
Its Guest Journey product provides a virtual concierge solution that assists guests with online check-in and check-out, takes payment details, and provides direct guest messaging features during their stay.
- Online check-in and check-out
- Direct messaging
- Payment processing
Hotels and hostels
Starting at $USD200 per month
2. HiJiffy: Best for the hospitality and travel industry
Created specifically for hotel management, HiJiffy is a digital concierge that relies on personalized automation to relieve teams from repetitive tasks and increase guest satisfaction.
- AI chat can integrate with popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp
- Offer exclusive and personalized services
- Automated check-in and check-out
- Integration with reviews sites such as TripAdvisor
Starting at $USD150 per month
3. Posh Technologies: Best for the financial services industry
A conversational AI platform serving financial services companies, Posh set out to create better digital banking experiences for customers, providing voice and messaging-based concierge solutions.
- AI-powered voice recognition and messaging concierge
- Integration with live agents
Banks and financial services
4. Disney Genie: Best for well, Disneyland
When it comes to the ultimate guest experience, it can be hard to beat Disneyland. A new digital concierge called Disney Genie helps guests avoid lengthy lines for the park’s big-ticket attractions and can assist with dining reservations and mobile food orders.
- Forecasting of attraction wait times
- F&B ordering
- Itinerary updates
Disneyland theme parks only
Free, with some paid in-app features
5. ROLLER: Best for leisure and attractions venues
While ROLLER is a venue management platform and not technically a digital concierge, it offers several features that act similarly - from online booking management to digital waiver, POS integration and guest feedback collection capability.
- Online ticketing
- Digital and mobile waiver management
- Self-serve kiosks
- Guest feedback
- Trampoline parks
- Museums and cultural organization
- Amusement parks
From $USD200 per month
A digital concierge is technology your guests will embrace
With guests already using apps in other areas of their life – think food delivery and ride-sharing for a start - there’s already an appetite for technology to help with more traditional human interactions.
And rather than looking at a digital concierge as an opportunity to move away from staff engagement, think of it as more about efficiently using technology to assist with those repetitive and low-value tasks, freeing up your staff for higher-value engagements.
And by streamlining some of those past pain points in the guest experience, such as waiting to ask staff questions, you can help to drive more guest loyalty and recurring visits.