Looking back at the myriad of industries impacted by the pandemic, hospitality was undoubtedly one of the hardest hit.
As travel diminished and stays became less tantalizing, hotels had to pivot rapidly in order to stay afloat.
Fast forward to today, another significant pivot is needed as travel begins to resurface and unfamiliar customer preferences manifest.
In this blog, we’ll look at some key trends shaping the future of hospitality and how you can leverage digital technology to drive your hotel forward.
The Future of Hospitality As We Know It
While it may seem daunting at first glance to keep up with rapid changes, the future of hospitality is bright.
As new technologies emerge, hotels can feel empowered to do more with less while simultaneously learning more about their customers.
Specifically, data-driven technology will become essential in the near future, to effectively manage hotels. This includes solutions that provide hoteliers with key preference data like guest likes, dislikes, restaurant satisfaction, preferred amenities and so on. This not only allows hotels to better the experience but also helps in terms of allocating spend and resources on an operational front.
Further, automation, both front and back facing will be widely adopted. From an employee perspective, this will empower them to do more with less – which is key for those experiencing labour shortages. In addition, automation will streamline the entire customer request process. Where today, a customer may call in to request extra towels, automation allows the customer to use a channel of their choice and have the request immediately routed to the right team member.
Lastly, the future of hotels will shift towards delivering a cohesive brand experience. From check-in to restaurant ordering to in-room amenities and reception, customers expect elevated service that’s consistent across the board. In that, your hotel should be monitoring and measuring guest satisfaction, considering each key touchpoint in the customer journey and ensuring it’s memorable.
How You Can Start Arming Yourself For The Future
So now that you can envision a data-driven, customer-centric future, how do you deliver on it?
In addition to a solid goal and a roadmap, it starts with incorporating key technologies that provide a better understanding of customers and eliminate unnecessary heavy lifting.
In this section, we take a look at key solutions to consider, in order to arm yourself for the future.
An Intuitive CRM
A fortified CRM is a crucial tool for any hotel; storing guest profiles, identifying prospects and keeping a clean record of your hotel’s sales activities.
But what sets a good CRM apart from a great one? Its ability to be intuitive and insightful.
As we mentioned earlier, the future of hospitality is data-driven – which doesn’t mean simply knowing who your guest is, but rather what they like and how they feel.
Using For-Sight’s CRM solutions, for example, you can bring together data from multiple transactional systems to provide a holistic understanding of each guest. Data is then presented in an intuitive reporting suite so you can get to know motivations and take advantage of upselling opportunities.
Sophisticated In-Room Tablets
Making the shift towards digital solutions also requires a transition in customer-facing tools.
This includes channels and methods of communication that make the life of the customer easier – and collect data along the way.
Take an in-room phone for example. While calling in can get you directly to reception, a good percentage of guests shy away from 1:1 contact. In addition, it doesn’t provide actionable data and can get frustrating if there isn’t someone to answer the phone immediately.
Shifting towards a digital in-room tablet, customers can make requests on a self-serve basis. Requests can be tracked and modified, plus insight on orders and time to serve are captured.
Using a solution like Volo, you can even take these capabilities to the next level. For example, you can incorporate workout videos to spice up the guest’s morning routine, provide transportation options and offer front desk communication – all from the click of a tablet.
Contactless Communication Channels
The future of hotel communication is contactless. Pushed rapidly in part due to the pandemic and spearheaded by younger generations, it’s become critical in reaching more guests.
Apps in specific have proven to be tremendously beneficial as several reports support;
- 352.9 billion mobile app downloads are expected worldwide by 2021 (Openkey)
- 42% of people globally have booked a hotel on a mobile device (Hotels.com)
- 74% of guests would use the hotel app if their favourite hotel would have one (Criton)
- Hotel app and other hotel technology influence the booking decisions of 70% of travellers (Intelity)
If you’ve been considering an app, a solution like Criton simplifies the process, giving guests all they need right on their phones. From accessing maps, directions and WiFi information, to communicating in real-time via web messenger, leveraging the simplicity of Criton is a great way to ensure communication scales with your hotel.
Managing Multi-Channel Environments
Keeping communication channels top of mind, it’s also important to consider the back end and how you’ll manage messages from various channels. Whether in-app, through Facebook messenger or via email, keeping communication organized is essential to efficiency. Using the Loop Experience Platform, you can access all customer messages in a single inbox, regardless of channel. Further Loop breaks down messages by sentiment and trending topic, so you always have context wen responding.
Unified Request Fulfillment & Maintenance Management
Just as technology can empower customers to make their own decisions, it can also empower employees to do more and hold them accountable for their duties.
Taking a look at Flexkeeping for example, you can manage request fulfillment and collaborate all on one unified platform.
Whether an employee is updating linen usage or inputting minibar consumption, housekeepers can update their progress in seconds on their phones to leave their workflow smooth. Further with real-time data and reporting you can pinpoint areas of success and improvement.
Similarly, using a solution like Unifocus’s Knowcross application, you can further manage property maintenance, employee scheduling, and regular inspections so you anticipate, respond and surpass hotel expectations.
A Holistic Event Management Solution
A good chunk of hotel revenue stems from conferences and events. This means running them and ensuring a flawless execution is key.
Opting for a digital solution like TripleSeat, you can manage your events with ease – and, you got it, more insight into your guest preferences.
Tripleseat makes managing group sales and catering easier than ever. Offering a cloud-based system you can book more group businesses, streamline the planning process, and communicate every detail seamlessly across departments.