What you will learn:
- Planning for recovery
- New technologies and the shift
- Ways to build a more frictionless sustainable guest experience
- Ideas that won’t break the bank and offer efficiency and new points of revenue
Hospitality is likely one of the oldest and most resilient industries in the world. While this virus has dealt a crushing blow to our industry and life, we know this too shall pass. Many of us are now looking to the future and the changes necessary to compete in this new world of virtual meetings, social distancing, and ensuring our properties are safe for our guests.
A new normal will proceed and recovery will happen. The younger generations will lead this charge as we are all aware with many debates about millennials and their known impact on the services we offer in hotels, the addition of this virus will now shift and accelerate everything. Those organizations that understand this change and embrace the technological impact will be the ones to survive in this economy. (See blog from 2019, Why Marriot hopes you get your marketing strategy right.) The Internet of Things is now in full motion and these shifts will now make technology a necessity instead of a nice-to-have.
As responsible business owners and hoteliers, we have to prepare for the recovery and below are some ways that you can start to migrate without breaking the bank. The options below also ensure that you connect to the next generation travelers as they will be more important than ever to our recovery. The good news is, millennial travelers spent $200 Billion in 2018 and this will continue as they look for experiences, not products.
So, let’s refresh our memory of what this Next Generation of travelers want and as well consider the new climate with health and safety concerns.
- Mobile First – is alive and well. And this isn’t your Grandma’s hotel app, it must be accessible through browser, light and quick to respond, with integrated messaging
- Skip the Front desk – 48% of guests don’t see the value of having to line up to check-in and that was before the virus scare. Mobile check-in/out is now a necessity, Kiosks are also viable options to help ensure less human contact.
- Mobile key – Get rid of the cost and risk of germs by pushing mobile key options at check-in. Note: Most locks can be converted and there are programs for no-money upfront.
- Mobile food ordering – Uber isn’t the only company that should profit on the shift in food delivery. Avoid mistakes and make it easy to explore and order from anywhere on your property.
- Kiosk or interactive connections – Concierge desks will likely change forever. Tools for reservations, exploring the destination and booking can be done through strategically placed Kiosks.
- Instant messaging and good old texts are still a great way to connect and provide personalized services to your guests.
- Upgrade your meetings– providing interactive ways to navigate, but also new ways to have virtual meetings or a combination of such.
As mentioned all of these solutions don’t have to be earth-shattering on your time or budget. They should connect to your existing systems and many organizations like ours offer flexible startup programs to reduce money upfront or provide one-time purchase options. No matter where you set your sight, it’s a great time to re-examine your hotel offerings and provide more frictionless engagement. Constantly connected guests will look at their mobile devices and shy from in-room products. They will also look for properties that value digital experience, provide convenience, and less human interaction alternatives.
You now have the ability to craft experiences and connect your brand to products that the next generation will require. They will be the first groups to kick-start their bookings and evaluate along with the rest of us on how to deal with our new reality.
Articles and Key Take away:
- As luxuries become necessities, companies that fail to take advantage of further advancements through digital transformation may become companies transformed out of the industry.
- Let’s Refresh our Memory – What do Millennials and new travelers want?
- The virus will change how people want to engage with your property. Providing more digital options and more virtual ways for guests to connect is key.
- 74% of travelers will choose more frictionless options of engagement but still want personalized services.
- Video Conferencing, Instant Messaging and connecting any time through a device is the new normal.
- Omnichannel strategy is now, more than ever, focused on connecting both online and offline functionalities.
- You can easily build a phased approach to any automation services. Take the time to think through what makes sense for your property and team.