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Virtual Concierge vs Digital Concierge: Pros and Cons, a Guide

Michael

As guests are booking into your venue, it’s the perfect opportunity to offer them a concierge service that makes their life easier and provides increased revenue opportunities for your business via guest add-on sales. A virtual concierge vs digital concierge could be the answer.

But which type of concierge service suits your needs? And what is a virtual concierge vs a digital concierge?

In this article, we’re tackling what a virtual concierge is, how it compares to a digital concierge and how to implement it in your hotel or venue.

Let’s start with a quick answer for virtual concierge vs digital concierge, then we’ll get into more details…

Typically, a digital concierge is a designated screen placed in a hotel lobby or similar area. Guests interact with the screen for activities and information. A virtual concierge is similar but is typically accessed via a guest’s mobile device. Offering more options and assistance from anywhere.

That’s a very simple answer, but there are nuances to this, and arguments for and against web apps versus web browsers. Plus pros and cons around what advantages there are to using a virtual concierge that we’ll touch on too.

Let’s get started with outlining what a digital or virtual concierge is, by first clarifying what a human concierge is…

What is a concierge?

A concierge has performed duties of one form or another for hundreds of years. Their origins stem back to medieval times, but the modern form of concierge dates back to the late 1800s. Duties have changed over the decades, but the position is still used today.

In modern settings, the role has essentially been that of an interface between the hotel, resort, or venue, and its guests. The position exists primarily to facilitate and maximize the guest’s experience – to keep them coming back. Here’s what they do in modern times…

QR Hotel Ordering Concierge
The Traditional Concierge

A concierge assists hotel guests through a variety of tasks. Tasks such as arranging spa services, booking restaurant reservations, or other hotels. Recommending tourist attractions or highlighting local shopping locations, arranging all forms of transportation, and coordinating porter and luggage services.

The concierge role is a vital link between the hotel, and the guest and a good concierge can be the difference between good or bad customer satisfaction, in an age where reviews are ever more important.

So what is the virtual version of a concierge?

What is a virtual concierge?

It’s not a hologram if that’s what you’re thinking. That’s perhaps a technology for the next millennia, but it’s not that far off. You might say it’s a step up from the digital concierge system you may have seen.

A virtual concierge is a customer experience (CX) system using mobile technology to provide guests with assistance anywhere within the venue. Requests can be made by guests via an app and responded to by hotel staff. Be it a poolside order, booking the spa, or a table in the restaurant.

QR Hotel Menu Ordering Concierge App
Virtual Concierge by Hotefy

You can book a quick demonstration of the Hotefy concierge system so you can get a better idea of how it operates. You can also find the features and pricing for Hotefy here.

What is a digital concierge?

For some years, the digital concierge was more of an interface point, or place within a venue where a guest could interact with hotel information and services. Mostly via a screen, from which you can navigate the hotel facilities, or even speak directly with a hotel member of staff.

Digital concierges are still around, and still being installed. But they still require the guest to be at a specific kiosk or point where the device is installed and available.

Things have moved on rapidly, and now the idea of having the virtual concierge vs digital concierge as a system in your pocket is far more appealing to guests – as well as the hotel owners.

Digital Concierge By JANUS Displays

Will a virtual concierge replace a human concierge?

This isn’t to say that virtual concierge systems will replace human contact with hotel staff. But it does provide convenience on both sides – with guests being able to make requests from anywhere. without waiting, and venue staff being able to respond easily based on those requests.

So this is unlikely, after all, a human to interact with will always be an advantage for certain situations. Complaints handling is one such scenario, or reaching out to get personal feedback on a particular meal, activity, or particular experience.

Plus, with a virtual concierge facility, requests and orders typically increase. With some hoteliers experiencing 2 to 5 times greater number of orders.

Typically, venue owners see an increase in their guest order basket of up to 30% more than from previous orders.

And, of course, there will need to be a member (or members) of staff trained to both receive, prioritize and organize these requests.

Encouraging guests to use a virtual concierge

The challenge lies in getting guests to understand the advantages of having this technology that can be difficult. Here’s what often happens and why you might want to first look at using a virtual concierge app that your guests can access with a simple QR code.

Signing up guests by downloading an app

When guests arrive they’re often guided towards downloading the hotel app to enable greater access to staff and services on site.

There are a few barriers to downloading an app from an app store to start using virtual concierge services. 

Apps that run in the browser are less hassle for guests and more likely to be used

You might encourage them with a special offer for downloading the app. And it can be used to increase loyalty from your guests because studies show that guests are more likely to become loyal via a direct connection using an app

But, all this might hold them up at reception while they’re waiting to download it. Even more so while they’re creating a login for the app. Or often guests state they will do that shortly, and then don’t.

This also assumes they have and use their phone for everything. Or, have enough storage space on their phone to download your app. This is where website apps can be advantageous.

Signing up guests via a mobile website

By mobile website application, we simply mean integrating your virtual concierge service within the framework of your existing website.

In terms of accessibility, use a QR code to sign in to a simple web address method is far easier and familiar for guests.

All that’s required from your guests to access the features of the application, is a quick QR code scan, and logging in. They are easily and quickly accessing the hotel’s services. There are no downloads required, which is a major benefit.

Hotefy is ideal for this as a web-based concierge service. And it has a free sign-up version so you can test it out for yourself.

What a virtual concierge app can do:

There aren’t many tasks a human concierge can do that a virtual concierge cannot. Because for many of these tasks, ultimately, the virtual concierge is passing them over to hotel staff anyway.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the types of services a virtual concierge can provide.

  • Room Service Orders
  • Room Clean Management
  • Poolside Ordering
  • Beach Ordering
  • Tour Bookings
  • Spa booking
Examples of services that a Virtual Concierge can provide your guests. View a live demo at hotefy.com/lantara

The convenience of the browser-based app

Hotel guests are more likely to use a browser-based concierge app. It has a higher takeup than downloading and installing an app store app. There are fewer barriers when accessing and using a QR code and a browser address. And, it will not require uninstalling later.

To conclude

What we’re not saying is only to use a virtual concierge service. Much of this has to be about what works best for your venue, and your kind of guests.

It might be you want to adopt digital, virtual, and human concierge models. Ultimately, if we had to advise on the best way forward, we would recommend starting with a simple QR code access for guests.

As your hotel bookings grow, or you expand to other hotels to develop a chain, then Hotefy can scale with your business to provide for your expanded audience.

Simply offering your guests a QR-based option to access all your concierge services from anywhere on site, might mean you actually won’t need a digital concierge service at all.
So why not get started with Hotefy now, guests will be drawn to the use of a QR code system. There’s a high probability that your revenue will increase as a result.

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