For Radisson Hotel Group, the Pandemic Has Sped Up Rather Than Slowed Down Its Digital Strategy

In early February last year, just before the pandemic hit in full force, ReviewPro invited Andrea Pinna, Senior Brand Quality Director at Radisson Hotel Group, to be a guest speaker for our annual trends webinar. A year later, we invited him back to find out how the pandemic has affected the company’s digital guest experience strategy.

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In this condensed version of our conversation, Pinna discusses Radisson’s approach to data science, digital guest service and automation. To view the full presentation, check out our on-demand webinar, Hotel Trends to Fast-track Recovery in 2021.

Part of Jinjiang International, Radisson Hotel Group is a global hotel chain with more than 1,500 hotels across eight brands in 120 countries and more than 100,000 employees.

ReviewPro: How has the pandemic affected the implementation of Radisson Hotel Group’s digital guest experience strategy?

Pinna: The pandemic has pushed us to speed up the implementation process, as well as to find some quick wins together with our partners like ReviewPro. Today, we are implementing a fully integrated digital experience in our hotels covering the many needs of our guests. At the same time, we’re improving the efficiency of our staff members, dedicating less time to time-consuming, repetitive tasks and ensuring more tasks are supported by technology.

We have mapped out our Digital Customer Journey and identified how each touchpoint can be supported by technology. Our main goals are:

  • Ensuring consistency and alignment across the various projects
  • Drafting a new and improved email communication flow
  • Defining the reactive vs. proactive approach at different touchpoints
  • Securing the uniformity of the look, feel and tone of voice of individual components
  • Identifying key intersections and overlapping touchpoints among different activities

ReviewPro: Looking ahead, how does Radisson Hotel Group plan to harness trends in data science, digital guest service and automation to help fast-track recovery?

Pinna: We expect to see the first real signs of recovery in business travel in the second half of 2021. We think the business segment will be extremely interested in and receptive to our new digital experience. For example, the Expo Dubai is now scheduled for October 2021, with millions of visitors arriving in Dubai, where Radisson Hotel Group is one of the key players.

Our new digital experience and automation will help enhance the guest experience and guest satisfaction. Part of our focus will be on providing safe and touchless solutions. The higher the online reputation of our hotels, the faster the business recovery will be. Guests need to feel confident and safe coming back in our hotels. And that’s exactly where we are focusing our strategies.

RevewPro: In terms of data science, how are you using guest feedback to be more responsive to the changing behavior and expectations of travelers?

Pinna: When we analyzed all our online reviews from 2020 using ReviewPro data, we saw that our guests completely changed their expectations after the first lockdown. During the summer, after we reopened our hotels, we observed a big drop in our quality scores. Guests were not used to having a bagged breakfast, for example. Others complained because the gym was closed due to national COVID-19 rules. As a hotel chain, we needed to completely rethink our guest experience.

Over time, and particularly during the fourth quarter of 2020, we returned to our 2019 online reputation levels. Today, guests are more aware of COVID restrictions, and their expectations aren’t changing as much.

Overall, in 2020 the top reason for positive mentions in online reviews and guest surveys was the quality of service provided by our staff. The second most cited reason was our cleanliness and safety measures. It’s true that guests now expect even safer and cleaner hotels, but even during the pandemic they were reminding us that, at the end of the day, we all work in hospitality. Despite all the new technologies we may implement, we should never forget the parallel importance of service basics.

This is one of the reasons why last year, despite being in the midst of the pandemic, we launched a new service training program entitled “Delight the Guest”. We wanted to reinforce with our general managers and team members our key brand promise to our guests, “Every Moment Matters,” and our “Yes I can” culture.

ReviewPro: How are you ensuring that automation and touchless guest service enhance rather than the detract from the guest experience?

Pinna: Radisson Hotel Group is implementing our new guest digital experience with a full parallel focus on all guest touchpoints. Automation and touchless guest service have been designed to improve the guest experience, creating even more efficiency and effectiveness throughout the guest journey.

Flexibility is key. Some target segments such as business travelers and younger generations will be more willing to use digital options. Others, such as families staying at a resort, may prefer to use traditional channels.

Our main challenge is to manage expectations, particularly before guests arrive. That’s where the digital guest experience, and digital communications in particular, can support us. At the same time, it helps our team members be even more efficient and dedicate even more time to serving guests and making a difference.

At the end of the day, with or without the digital experience, we always have one unique, common goal. It’s one of the pillars of Radisson Hotel Group: we deliver memorable moments every day, everywhere and every time.

ReviewPro is a proud partner of Radisson Hotel Group. The company uses ReviewPro’s full suite of products, including our newest solution, Guest Experience Automation™, which helps hotels automate guest communications on multiple channels, ensure timely resolution of issues and automate responses with an intelligent chatbot.

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