Let’s chat about an issue near and dear to every hotelier’s heart – improving the guest experience. Specifically, we’ll explore how giving guests real-time access to their folios can lead to higher satisfaction and fewer headaches at checkout.
What’s a Folio Anyway?
Before we dive in, let’s get on the same page about what a folio is. A folio is basically a guest’s account that shows all charges for the room, tax, room service, minibar snacks (#guilty), and any other fees during their stay.
In the old days, folios were usually just printed out and provided at checkout. Guests couldn’t see a running tally of charges – they just had to hope everything looked accurate once that final bill came.
|Traditional Model||Real-Time Access Model|
|Folios printed and given at checkout||Folios accessible anytime via TV, mobile, etc|
|No visibility into running charges||Guests can monitor charges in real time|
|More billing disputes||Greater transparency builds trust|
As you can probably guess, not knowing what you owed until checkout caused all sorts of headaches. Folio mix-ups are one of the top sources of guest complaints since people don’t like surprises on their final bill.
Giving Guests Real-Time Access
Luckily, technology has stepped in to solve this issue. Many hotels now provide real-time folio access through the in-room TV, mobile apps, tablets, or lobby kiosks.
This gives guests complete visibility into their current charges. Instead of wondering what that poolside mojito cost, guests can check their folio anytime and see every transaction right away.
According to hospitality consultants McKinley Morgan, real-time folio access offers several benefits:
- Increased transparency builds trust and satisfaction
- Guests can proactively resolve any issues with charges
- Access empowers guests and gives them control over spending
By flipping the traditional folio model on its head, hotels hand over the reins and let guests track spending themselves.
Real-Time Access Improves the Guest Experience
So how exactly does granting guests folio access lead to happier guests? Here are a few key ways it enhances the experience:
Increased Transparency Builds Trust
As we all know, uncertainty makes people anxious. When guests can monitor their charges in real time, it creates confidence that the bill will have no surprises.
Folio transparency demonstrates the hotel has nothing to hide. This builds trust in the brand and leads to higher satisfaction.
Resolving Issues Early
Even with the best systems, occasional billing mistakes happen – a restaurant charge gets assigned to the wrong room, a decimal point is entered incorrectly, etc.
When guests can identify these issues during their stay, they can get them corrected immediately versus disputing charges at checkout. Real-time access allows problems to be resolved proactively.
Under the traditional model, the hotel fully controlled the folio. Guests simply waited for their final bill.
Giving guests real-time folio access puts them in the driver’s seat. They gain more control over their hotel spending and can make informed decisions. This autonomy results in higher satisfaction.
According to Forbes, real-time folios give guests “greater control over their experience, which in turn builds trust.”
Implementing Real-Time Folio Solutions
Of course, introducing real-time folio access requires some effort from hotels:
- Updating property management and point-of-sale systems to sync folio data
- Training staff on any new procedures
- Ensuring large properties can scale the solution
Let’s look at a few examples:
|Hotel||Results After Real-Time Folio Implementation|
|Aloft Miami||33% increase in convenience satisfaction scores|
|Hilton West Palm Beach||20% increase in overall guest satisfaction|
|Hotel Solamar||13% increase in service experience scores|
Across the board, guests report higher satisfaction when empowered with real-time folio access. The transparency and control create a frictionless experience.
Checking Out of the Old Folio System
Much like other industries, the hotel business has been transformed by new technologies that empower consumers. Real-time folio access is an integral part of this shift.
By providing anytime access to charges, hotels create transparency and give control back to guests. The result is greater trust in the brand and higher satisfaction scores.
As guests increasingly expect real-time folio visibility, hotels need to check out of the old system and upgrade to on-demand access. It’s a change that pays dividends in happier guests who are likely to return and recommend the hotel.
The future looks bright as hotels leverage technology to create personalized, seamless experiences. Real-time folio access provides a foundation for even deeper collaboration with guests. Who knows what innovations are next? But one thing is certain – guests will have an ever-increasing role in shaping their own hotel journeys.