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  • Stathis Tripsanas

Hotel Operations with Virtual Reception: A Practical Guide [2023]

Introduction:

Handling a hotel's front desk is like juggling. You're balancing room bookings, guest inquiries, and various operational tasks all at once. Traditional reception methods often struggle to keep up, leading to errors, delays, and dissatisfied guests.


This is where Virtual Reception comes into play. It's like having an extra pair of hands on deck—helping you manage check-ins, guest communication, and even housekeeping schedules more efficiently.


The Need for Virtual Reception in Modern Hotels

Long gone are the days when hotel reception desks were the sole point of contact for guests. While the traditional reception will always have its place, it's often fraught with bottlenecks—be it long lines during check-in and check-out, or the difficulty of juggling multiple guest requests at once.


Virtual Reception systems like Carlito's offer a solution by acting as a 24/7 support to your hotel staff. With features like real-time chat and multilingual support, these platforms ensure that no guest is left unattended, even during peak hours or in the middle of the night.


Essential Features
  • Real-Time Chat: Immediate communication between hotel staff and guests is possible right from a mobile device or tablet, ensuring prompt responses.

  • Customizable Staff Profiles: Know who on your team is available for guest interactions, all managed via a simple device interface.

  • Interactive Guest Communication: Features like photo sharing, chat history, and the ability to display your reception's availability status make communication more dynamic and personalized.

  • Multilingual Support: Communicate effortlessly with guests from around the world, breaking language barriers.

  • Push Notifications: Keep your guests informed about special events, offers, or any changes in booking status, all sent directly to their devices.

  • SMS Alerts: Make sure no message goes unnoticed with SMS alerts, so your staff can respond promptly.

By focusing on what truly matters—seamless communication and operational efficiency—Carlito's Virtual Reception system becomes an invaluable asset for modern hotels.


Benefits of Using Carlito's Virtual Reception

For Guests:

  1. Immediate Assistance: With a text, guests can have their queries answered instantly, removing the need for waiting in line or dialing the hotel reception.

  2. Enhanced Personalization: Previous chat histories allow hotels to remember guest preferences like pillow type, room temperature, or even favorite meals, making each stay better than the last.

  3. Stay in the Loop: Real-time notifications keep guests updated about any changes in their booking status, upcoming events, or any emergency measures like fire drills.

  4. Language is No Barrier: With multi-language support, guests can communicate effortlessly in their native language, which significantly enhances comfort and trust.

  5. Guest Empowerment: Guests feel more in control when they can manage their bookings, requests, and queries without having to go through a third party, leading to a more satisfying experience.

For Hoteliers:

  1. Streamlined Operations: All communication can be managed from one platform, greatly reducing the chances of miscommunication or overlooked guest needs, allowing reception staff to focus on more specialized tasks.

  2. Financial Upsides: Targeted push notifications allow hotels to efficiently upsell or cross-sell services, turning opportunities into revenue. A satisfied guest is also more likely to avail themselves of paid amenities like spa services or dining.

  3. Improved Online Ratings: Faster and more personalized responses to guests can significantly influence online reviews. Positive reviews can drive more bookings and, consequently, more revenue.

  4. Reduced Staff Stress: By automating routine tasks, the Virtual Reception system frees up human staff to deal with more complex guest needs, reducing the workload and stress levels for your reception team.

  5. Special Requests Made Easy: For guests celebrating special occasions, Virtual Reception can automate the initial stages of organizing amenities like room decorations or a surprise meal, letting staff focus on delivery and quality.


Integration with Existing Systems:

A virtual reception platform should integrate seamlessly with your existing hotel systems. For instance, Carlito's Virtual Reception is designed to fit smoothly into your current PMS without the need for syncing guest data or booking information.


How to Implement Virtual Reception: A Step-by-Step Guide

Implementing a virtual reception in your hotel operations doesn't have to be a complex or time-consuming endeavor. Especially with platforms like Carlito, the process is often straightforward and quick. Here's a short step-by-step guide to get you started:


  • Assess Your Needs: Identify the specific communication gaps or operational inefficiencies that a virtual reception can solve for your hotel.

  • Choose the Right Platform: Opt for a platform that aligns with your hotel's needs and integrates seamlessly into your existing technology environment.

  • Sign Up & Configure: Most platforms, like Carlito, offer an easy sign-up process, often accompanied by a free trial. You'll also need to configure settings, like chat options and staff profiles.

  • Train Your Staff: Ensure that your reception staff is trained to use the virtual reception tools. Many platforms offer tutorials or customer support to assist with this.

  • Go Live & Monitor: Once everything is set up and your team is trained, you can go live. Keep an eye on metrics such as guest engagement, response time, and satisfaction levels to make adjustments as needed.

  • Gather Feedback & Optimize: Finally, collect feedback from both staff and guests to continuously improve the service.


Case Studies: Virtual Reception Success Stories

The Surprise Engagement


Prenn, planned to propose to his girlfriend, Emma, during their stay at a luxury resort in Lake Como. Through the virtual chat, he arranged a surprise evening at the hotel restaurant. Through the chat functionality, the hotel helped coordinate every detail—ordering a bottle of champagne, choosing a romantic table by the window, setting up ambient lighting, and even arranging for their favorite song to play at the right moment.

















When dessert arrived, the waiter presented Emma with a beautiful ring, exactly as Prenn had planned. With the ease of the virtual chat, not only was he able to coordinate this seamlessly, but it also allowed him to focus on the moment rather than logistics. The result? A perfect proposal and an unforgettable experience for both.


In-Room Dining Experience

Sarah was exhausted after a day-long business conference and decided to dine in her room. Using the virtual reception app, she quickly ordered a three-course meal. Midway through her meal, she realized she forgot to order her favorite dessert. A few taps in the virtual reception chat, and her dessert was on its way. Even better, the virtual chat enabled her to communicate allergies and preferences, making her in-room dining experience as good as being at the restaurant itself.


Virtual reception tools are practical solutions that make life easier for both guests and hotel staff. From planning special moments to handling routine tasks, these platforms remove unnecessary hassles and let everyone focus on what truly matters: a comfortable and enjoyable stay. It's this straightforward, user-friendly approach that is making a noticeable difference in the hotel experience for guests and operators alike.



Final Thoughts:

Running a hotel is no small feat, but it doesn't have to be a headache. Virtual reception tools like Carlito's make it easier for both guests and staff. From quick check-ins to special surprises, it's all about making everyone's stay smoother. So if you're looking to up your hotel game without complicating things, a virtual reception might just be your next best move.


Next Steps


Looking to upgrade your approach to Guest Experience Management? Carlito is more than just a hotel app—it's a comprehensive Hotel Guest App that includes a Virtual Reception feature. Click👉 here to schedule a demo with Carlito team and discover how you can elevate guest experiences through technology at your fingertips.


About the Author:
Stathis Tripsanas, Head of Marketing at Carlito

Stathis is a tech-savvy marketer with over 10 years of experience in SaaS, with a focus on hotel tech and marketplaces. He is currently the Head of Marketing at Carlito, a SaaS Company that develops Hotel Guest Apps.


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