If you took a hotelier from a decade ago (circa 2nd generation iPhone) and dropped them into the industry today, would they recognize it?
The booking journey is gravitating toward mobile-only. There are voice-control devices that guests can use to select a room or order room service. Blockchain has infiltrated hotel operations. Chatbots are as face-to-face as some of your guests get.
Where does that leave “hospitality” in the hospitality industry?
If you’ve jotted down the lessons the 2010s taught us about the hospitality industry (personalization is king, the Internet of Things is up and running and connection is a hot commodity), now it’s time to turn and face the 2020s.
We’ve compiled a series of trend lines worth following, because they don’t show signs of faltering.
Integrate guest’s devices with the tech in-room and around the hotel to provide a seamless stay they can control. Allow guests to connect to bluetooth speakers, control the temperature and order room service from their phone to drop extra steps that stand between them and what they want to get out of their experience (and revenue for you).
Hotels now offer opt-in text notifications for the weather, apps with user-friendly guides and chatbots that can make dinner reservations. Find which digital tools and accessories make it easier for your guests to enjoy your property. Maybe it’s putting a Google Home pod in rooms, developing an app to give visitors one place for everything they’d need during their stay or putting QR codes in the rooms for guests to scan and see what’s happening around town. These options take care of the minutiae so guests can focus on making the most of their stay.
Less personnel, more personal.
Chatbots are playing the role of concierge and customer service. Some fast-moving hotel chains have started using robot butlers to provide foodservice. Using AI and robots for mundane, repetitive tasks frees up your staff to cater to the needs of digital nomads and the evolving breed of leisure and business travelers who value interaction and integration.
Guests aren’t holing up in their rooms; they’re out and about, around the grounds and on the town. Hotels that can get creative with the ways they make experiences more personal, interactive and connected will align with the values of the modern traveler. Having staff run engaging activities is a good practice, as is being mindful of the quality of shared spaces. These contribute to how guests perceive the hotel and remember, above all, everything must be Instagram-worthy.
Get as immersive as humanly possible. Invest in activities, decor and amenities that pique the fascination of prospective guests. Then be thorough in proving why the benefits of your hospitality concept are worth the visit.
The variety in video options—for both organic social media and paid advertising—means that your hotel has no excuse; put great content out there because you’ve already got the subject material. If you have a smart phone, you can get started. IGTV is an excellent new avenue for hotels to connect with Instagram users. Walk the viewer through your hotel, or have chefs talk through what’s on the menu. Drone shots are dramatic and cheaper than ever. Repost user-generated content (with permission, obviously) to show off how much people enjoy your place. Use 360º video in common spaces to give interested visitors a feel for the place, or show them the room they’ll stay in. The possibilities are literally endless.
Step in the right direction
Millennials taking control of the national wallet is good news for the hospitality industry, because they view travel as a crucial part of their lives. It’s seen less as a luxury and more of a necessity. Take advantage of all the opportunities that accessible technology brings to hook these experience-seekers. Doing so will draw people to your hotel and keep them coming back, well into the next decade.