The hospitality industry has witnessed widespread adoption of hotel technologies in the past few years. Integrated booking systems, social media, smartphones, metasearch, property management systems, artificial intelligence, and advances in smart appliances are fundamentally reshaping how processes are executed and hospitality services are provided. This major shift has led to improvements in the operation of services as well as personalization of experiences in accordance with the changing behaviors of the evolving customer base.
With digital transformation gaining ground, more and more hoteliers are now adopting the new state-of-the-art technologies. As a result, they’re able to enjoy smoother processes that make their lives easier and provide improved guest experiences that make their guests happy.
If you aren’t in touch with the changing landscape of technology in the modern hospitality world, chances are you’re losing opportunities to progress in the industry. Here, we are going to list the issues (with corresponding solutions) you might be facing if you haven’t stepped onto the road of digital transformation yet:
Your hotel isn’t able to attract a wider audience
Travelers, these days, are using technology to look and book their next trip, including hotels. As per Global Digital Travel Sales by eMarketer, “In 2018 digital travel sales worldwide increased by 10.4% to reach $694.41 billion”.
As guests are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, hotel technologies remain the new frontier for hoteliers who want to reach and attract more travelers to their properties. trivago and Phocuswright in their study, Independent Lodging Properties and Online Marketplace extensively analyze the marketing budgets of independent lodging properties and conclude, “Independent lodging properties now spend most of their marketing budget on online activities, where they perceive greater return on investment.” As a hotelier yourself, you should start investing in technology and building a digital business model that markets your property to technophiles.
If you’re wondering which kind of technologies are most used by hoteliers for marketing, the trivago and Phocuswright study further sheds light on the types of marketing techniques being used by independent properties, and their perceived effectiveness. It points out that online travel review sites and metasearch are the most effective techniques to gain visibility, with almost 62% of respondents ranking them as very or most effective. Search engine marketing, social media integration, and email marketing are a few more examples of digital services that entice today’s guests.
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You’re not able to drive a significant amount of direct bookings
Driving direct bookings is one of the most important criteria for hoteliers. According to a report by Kalibri Labs, “Direct bookings remain more profitable for the hotel industry — to the tune of 9 percent — and when factoring in ancillary spend, profitability can be almost 18 percent better.” Furthermore, while analyzing the effectiveness of direct bookings in driving loyalty bookings, the report indicates, “The direct booking programs are effective in growing the membership base and those members continue to be loyal to the programs they’ve enrolled in.”
But the question remains: how to drive direct bookings? The answer is simple: through technology usage. Independent Lodging Properties and Online Marketplace study, while talking about how independent properties are reinforcing efforts to grow direct bookings through digital innovations, identifies “metasearch and mobile as effective distribution channels, driving significant proportions of bookings directly to properties in a cost-effective manner.” Other than metasearch and mobile sites, make sure you have a well-designed website and an efficient booking engine to ensure more direct bookings.
Your hotel isn’t known for providing the best guest experiences
Adobe in its study, Running on Experience: The exhilaration of digital transformation, discovers that 72% of travel and hospitality businesses see the digital foundation as very important in the coming years for ensuring personalized guest experiences. No wonder then, winning hospitality brands are providing personalized experiences to guests throughout their customer journey, well before and well after a hotel booking with the help of hotel technologies.
The future of hospitality management and personalization of experiences is being shaped by hospitality services, like mobile check-in/check-out, keyless entry, smart climate/lighting control, and guest-facing systems, like location-based digitally guided tours, in-room tablet, mobile, and more.
Such innovations have undoubtedly enabled hoteliers to enhance guest satisfaction by providing a seamless experience. Additionally, these have also helped hoteliers closely monitor the guest cycle by collecting data on specific guest preferences, locations, and behaviors, which helps in providing personalized services to the guests in the future.
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You struggle with everyday hotel’s operations
Hoteliers have to deal with multiple issues almost daily, including reservations management, rate management, rooms management, housekeeping, front office, analytics, and many more. Therefore, many hoteliers have started adopting digital innovations in order to ensure smoother hotel functions.
The hotel technologies ensure enhanced guest experiences, increased employee productivity, and improved operating efficiency.
With the help of digital services, especially a property management system (PMS), hoteliers can easily adapt their rates to suit their business and ever-changing market conditions, along with identifying opportunities for cross-selling and up-selling to maximize revenues. Technology also helps employees handle all facets of room supervision, including room status updates, queuing rush rooms, and maintenance tasks. Thanks to digitalization, hoteliers can easily manage room reservations, billing and experience for guests and groups of any size, thereby avoiding overbookings. Besides, advances in technology have allowed hoteliers to easily run food and beverage operations, improve business performance with reports, and increase overall efficiency and guest satisfaction.
All hotels need some variation of a PMS, depending on their size, complexity of their processes, and their goals.
You’re not able to maintain a positive online reputation
Phocuswire’s study on travel reviews reports, “Over 95% of travelers read reviews before booking their holidays, with leisure travelers reading an average of 6-7 reviews before booking and business travelers reading an average of 5.” Unsurprisingly then, maintaining a good online reputation across travel review websites and social media sites is very important for every hotelier.
In order to maintain a property’s positive online reputation, you need to first measure its online reputation. A hotel’s online ratings don’t only help predict future bookings, they also offer valuable insight into how efficient the property’s operational and guest experience standards are. Investing in an online reputation management tool is crucial for every hospitality business. An efficient rating index tool will take available rating sources from across the web and use an algorithm to aggregate them, thereby providing a dependable and impartial score.
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