We live in the digital age, and the businesses in all the areas simply have to adapt to it if they want to move ahead. Alexander de Zordo, co-founder of GLOQON, platform dedicated to connecting travelers and people in a specific area, shares with HostelSkills Conference team his views on how to use the technology to increase the value of particular hospitality business.
EVEN OUR PARENTS ARE DIGITAL TRAVELERS
The digital travelers – who are they and what do they expect?
When talking about digital travelers many people have a specific age group in mind, maybe millennials who grew up with smartphones and are always online and connected. But if we look at people today, it can be anyone – business people, students, travelers… Everyone is using smartphones, everyone is connected. Even our parents, they might not know how to use a computer, but they have their iPads and iPhones, and they are using them all the time. So, the digital travelers are not a specific age group, they are basically everyone. And it’s even more true when it comes to traveling because you want to find information about the place where you are going and where you’re staying, you want to reach out to people who are in the area. So, I think it’s not the expectations of traveling that changed, but the habits. People are using smartphones all the time and I think businesses can take advantage of this fact and provide a platform where tourists can get all kinds of information they want, and at the same time connect with others in the area and make their experience in a certain destination much better.
WIFI – FROM DIGITAL TO REAL LIFE CONNECTIONS
Is Internet killing atmosphere in hostels?
That part of the survey was actually really interesting because we tried to compare the results that came in from hostels and travelers and when we did the comparison we found out that the answers we got were very similar, sometimes we didn’t even know is it coming from a traveler or is it coming from a hostel unless we checked. The overall response is basically negative. We got really strong opinions that the WiFi and Facebook were the worst things that happened to hostels because they killed the atmosphere. On the other hand, some people said that it was positive. The fact is that most travelers say that they need WiFI, because if they cannot check what’s going on with their friends back home, with their families, and find the information they need then they are going to be in a bad mood and complain. So, in the end, the lack of internet in hostels will result in a worse atmosphere.
Can Internet be a tool to improve the real life communication of hostels guests?
We found that hostels are trying to limit their WiFi service in order to get people together in real life, but I think that’s a war that’s been lost a long time ago. It’s better to provide them a platform where they can break the ice online and then meet up in real life. Just simple questions like “who wants to go to lunch, who wants to go out, etc.”… It comes down to meeting in real life.
MORE VALUE AT (ALMOST) NO COST
How to use WiFi to create extra value for hostel guests?
WiFi can be a really good resource to provide additional value. With platforms like ours, you as a hostel can provide the information you know your guests want. And it’s clear it’s in your interest to do that. But, there’s even more that can be done – maybe you want to sell side products or you want to promote partner businesses… All this can be easily done through a splash page, for example. We’ve all seen what happens at check-in, the guests come to the reception desk, and often even before the actual check in, they are going to ask what’s the WiFi password. So, while you are checking the people in they are checking their Facebook. This fact can be used for mutual benefit, yours and the one of the guest. The first thing they see can be a splash page, where you can provide all the information they need and at the same time a platform where they can actually interact with each other, they can post as they normally would on social media but instead of getting in touch with people who are hundreds or thousands of kilometers away you are trying to get them together with the people who are staying with you at the very same time.
WIFI&IN-HOUSE SOCIAL MEDIA
According to Alexander de Zordo, co-founder of GLOQON it’s 3in1: digital concierge service, marketing and information channel
- WiFi has to be free, it would be a really bad experience for the traveler if they had to pay
- It is an awesome promotion channel
- Promote in-house events
- Let guests know what’s going on in the city/area
- Promote partner businesses (discounts on meals, maybe) and help grow your local economy
- Get feedback from guests while they are still at the premises
- Fix the issues they might have&avoid mean comments on Trip Advisor
- Give them a platform to meet other (solo) travelers in the area