Despite the pandemic’s brutal blow to the travel industry, summer 2021 brought back travelers with vengeance. According to screenings reported by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), air travel drew within 90 percent of 2019 passenger numbers over Labor Day weekend, a positive sign for the hurting hospitality industry. However, the labor crisis has hindered crucial recovery efforts and limited hoteliers’ ability to meet guest needs.
In the wake of this, many hoteliers have turned to innovative technological solutions to help drive recovery. As the hospitality industry continues to embrace a new, digital era, advancements in technology have allowed operators to do more with fewer staff while maintaining guest satisfaction and driving higher revenue.
As the season comes to a positive end, a reflection on the technology solutions adopted by the industry can offer valuable insight into which technology tools will help improve future recovery efforts. In assessing your hotel technology stack, consider these five top technology tools that helped hoteliers drive higher revenue over the summer.
With staff and guest safety top-of-mind for guests, the implementation of contactless services was vital during the pandemic: by August 2020, 62% of hotel guests preferred to check in and out of a hotel via app and 30% preferred to check in and out through a webpage, according to a Statista survey. As the industry emerges from COVID-19, the contactless journey seems to be here to stay; consumers increasingly prefer properties that offer contactless solutions, which helps create a faster and more personalized experience.
Hoteliers can also streamline valuable operations by automating front desk services. Through integrating mobile check-in/check-out capabilities or in-lobby kiosks, hotel staff can more effectively manage tasks with fewer employees. As travel demand increases, freed-up staff can continue to deliver excellent service and swiftly meet guest needs as they arise.
Beyond check-in/check-out functionalities, innovations in contactless services are continually evolving to improve every step of the guest journey. By adopting digital, self-service sales options, which allow guests to reserve and pay for amenities services or food orders from their own devices or on digital kiosks, hoteliers are enhancing guest satisfaction and increasing revenue-driving opportunities.
The increase in contactless sales is not just a trend in the hotel industry; according to the Global Payments Report 2021, contactless in-store payments worldwide exceeded in-store cash payments for the first time in 2020. As contactless sales continue to grow in popularity, adapting mobile POS systems can help hoteliers stay ahead of guest expectations.
Data and AI for Guest Marketing
Increasing property bookings is vital to recovery. With demand still below 2019 levels and properties across the globe eager to capitalize on summer travel, competition in the hotel industry was fierce. Hoteliers were able to stand out from their competitors by refining their marketing strategies, delivering tailored messages to their audiences.
When making purchases, 70 percent of consumers want more personalized experiences. Recent developments in AI and data-backed marketing technology have allowed hoteliers to target this demand by delivering valuable guest metrics. With this technology, hoteliers can create personalized campaigns tailored to their audiences, increasing bookings and driving higher revenue.
Event Management Software
The emerging solutions in hospitality technology no longer revolve around just AI and machine learning, but they also address the tools hoteliers need in a post-pandemic marketplace. In-person meetings and events returned at a rate quicker than expected over summer; as more than 193 million people are expected to attend accommodation-scale events at the back end of 2021, technology solutions to offer valuable insight have assisted hoteliers in recovering this critical area of revenue.
Event management systems have evolved to include seat management capabilities, which allow guests to reserve their desired seating regardless of event type while simultaneously ensuring social distance protocols are enforced. In addition to this, online POS integrations allow hoteliers to meet guest needs with fewer event staff on hand. With the ability to access and leverage all event spaces in a singular platform, event management technology has also allowed hoteliers to make more informed decisions.
Streamlining technology operations
With many more technological solutions now available, it's increasingly difficult for hotel operators to handle the increasing number of integrations now required to meet guest needs. More often, software and hardware systems are fragmented, requiring manual user interaction rather than operating as seamlessly as it is intended to.
Modern PMS platforms, which are designed to be a central point for all hotel systems, helped operators easily integrate the technology necessary to thrive over the summer season. Allowing for the consolidation of data insights, guest information and event software, industry-leading PMS platforms helped hoteliers increase communications between critical tools and automated services. Through this, hotel staff were able to streamline operations and deliver an enhanced guest experience.
The hospitality industry’s summer recovery further proved the importance of hotel technology. To remain competitive in today’s market, adapting to the digital era is now necessary. As the fall season brings more innovations in technology, hotel operators must consider the integrations that can best solve their unique property challenges.
September 01, 2021
As work-from-home becomes more common and hoteliers shift towards a new, digital era of hospitality
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