The hospitality industry will likely never be the same again. This isn’t necessarily bad news, though. Right now, industry leaders are thinking about how to evolve their businesses—embracing innovation and planning ways to ensure stability and long-term success.
Here are eight ways hospitality organisations can harness technology to adapt and thrive in the next decade to come.
How technology can help hotels achieve long-term success
1. Embrace changing guest expectations
As properties move toward contactless processes, an emphasis on convenience and control has quickly pivoted to meet the need for social distancing and guest peace of mind. Mobile friendly and web-based check-ins and check-outs, in addition to mobile payments via personal devices, have already become the norm, with guests expecting the same self-driven, contactless, and cashless experiences across all locations during their stay. It also means they are able to closely follow cleaning and sanitation standards, all while documenting their hotel stay experiences in real-time.
Organisations need to create visibility and processes to ensure they are carefully meeting and exceeding guest expectations, while also remaining flexible enough to respond to guest needs as they arise.
Preparation for cultural and technological change has applications far beyond the immediate present. Over a narrow window of time, on-the-fly adaptations have already taught industry leaders a number of lessons—in particular, that the ability to adjust to changes in the status quo is a crucial element of resilience in this new era of the hospitality industry.
To continue to thrive in the 2020s, hotels must lean into this flexible mindset to make guests feel comfortable, safe, and relaxed. From there, they need to constantly redefine what a great guest and player experience really means, creating systems and processes that can continue to deliver those experiences consistently as conditions change.
2. Keep it personal
With the rapidly expanding functionality afforded by personal devices, today’s guests rely on mobile technology to manage their hotel and gaming experiences—with many of them saying they prefer to place service requests, receive communications, and manage the mechanics of their stay themselves.
Some of this is driven by our current environment, which demands fewer face-to-face connections with hotel staff.
These trends are not temporary; in fact, they’ll shape the future of the industry by instilling the expectation that guest experiences are theirs to manage. That expectation drives another essential aspect of next-generation hospitality technology: personalisation.
Personalised guest experiences encompass more than mobile apps. To provide a truly personalised experience, hotels also need to manage their data and integrate disparate systems that affect the guest journey.
They need to turn data collection and analysis into services that appeal to individual guests—encouraging repeat visits and generating the potential for greater lifetime value. They need to leverage intelligence to create rewards and incentives that strengthen the relationship between brand and guest.
There are many tools that can help accomplish this, and organisations should integrate their hotel property management systems with gaming systems, CRM, third-party loyalty programs, and all applications that provide visibility into guest histories, preferences, and activities.
3. Maximise the value of properties
Even under the best conditions, hotels are not content to leave rooms empty and let revenues quickly dwindle. Luckily, every property is teeming with untapped potential, and another key aspect of staying resilient through turbulent times is to realise that potential. In some contexts, this means rethinking how spaces are divided, adapting them to serve new needs, and using them to create and nurture new revenue streams.
Hotel organisations are capitalising on the use of their event spaces and guest rooms, offering companies and organisations both indoor and outdoor collaborative spaces that accommodate social distancing. Flexibility and manoeuvrability are key when it comes to leveraging spaces to serve a wider spectrum of uses. By tracking the usage of spaces, guest rooms, and event spaces alike, organisations can unlock the revenue and profitability potential of every square foot of a property.
Once again, the importance of data visibility and management has never been clearer, and each of those requires careful integration between event management software, property management systems, revenue management, and forecasting solutions.
4. Keep staff connected
One of today’s toughest challenges for hospitality leaders is figuring out how to keep team members engaged, productive, and centred on their mission of creating a superior guest experience. This is particularly pertinent for service staff and the guests they serve, where technology can help keep personal health and safety at top-of-mind.
The best way to do this is by adopting a technology platform that improves communications between teams within and across all locations to standardise services—including cleaning and sanitation, incident management, maintenance, food services, and other key operational areas.
In addition to mobile-based housekeeping processes that allow for greater visibility and efficiency to make sure locations continue to meet strict standards, businesses are investing in push messaging, leveraging SMS and social media to better respond to and communicate with guests and each other in a more proactive way. These investments in technology keep staff connected while also making sure that they remain safe, healthy, motivated, and productive.
Again, this isn’t just about the needs of the present. It’s about how present conditions are likely to shape the future. Creating a scalable framework for staff to do their jobs will continue to be paramount to success.
In the next part, we will discover the remaining four ways a hotel organisation can ensure its long-term success with technology and innovation.
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