While all hoteliers agree that creating a memorable guest experience is why they’re in the hospitality industry, in fact creating that experience has become as essential as providing a clean, comfortable room. Let’s face it, there is a direct correlation between guest experience and guest loyalty and in 2019 this couldn’t be more accurate. As technology advances, and people are traveling more, the trends that carried you through 2017 or 2018 no longer apply. Whether you own a large flagged property, or a small independent hotel; it is imperative to embrace emerging technologies that are geared towards increasing guest satisfaction and experience. Here are our favorite trends for 2019; how do these compare to your budgeted goals?
Smart Hotel Technology: Guests are more conscious about energy consumption these days and as such they are expecting their “away from home” accommodations to be cognizant of energy too. Smart Hotel Technology is one way to appease your guests and cut your energy costs. Smart Hotel technology utilize the Internet of Things technology sensing when guests leave their rooms so all lights and temperatures become automatic. Guests spend roughly 50% of their time in their rooms while traveling; imagine the cost savings you’ll receive when implementing smart Hotel technology. In addition to energy management, you also can manage your rooms remotely- again potentially saving money on your energy costs. Plus, this can have huge influence on the guest experience.
Weekend Getaway Packages: It is no secret that travelers are booking more last-minute trips than in previous years. With this influx in quick travel plan decisions, hoteliers can expect to see an increase in the number of long weekend stays for 2019. Just because it may be last minute, travelers are still looking for that great guest experience. Hoteliers need to create weekend packages that are attractive to guests if they want to capitalize on these last-minute travelers.
PMS in the Cloud: A lot of hotels are moving their PMS systems to the Cloud. Companies seem to be utilizing the cloud more than ever and they don’t really need a reason to do so. After all Cloud-based technology replaces old PMS systems and provides you with real-time availability updates, it rarely goes down, and it can connect to a wide range of software vendors. Hoteliers that are jumping to a cloud PMS are finding an increase in productivity with their staff, and the mobile solutions that accompany Cloud-based systems are unparalleled.
Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence: We’ve seen that guests are waiting until the last-minute to book their travel plans, but along with this, they also expect immediate responses to their questions. Chatbots can provide instant access to frequently asked questions. Chatbots also save hoteliers in fully staffing their properties 24 hours a day.
Social Media Influencers: Social Media Influencers have increased in popularity over the past year with the Association of National Advertisers claiming that 75% of advertisers are already using social media influencers to market their businesses. The truth is Influencers have power over your target demographics. Not only do they have “influencing power” they also can say all sorts of things that you can’t. Social Media Influencers put their own spin on their posts allowing an entirely new perspective on your property’s uniqueness. An Influencer’s voice adds variety to your property, and their selling points may create an experience for a potential guest. There are even tools that can be placed on your website and booking engine to help you turn your guests into social media influencers. Check out www.flip.to and see how their solution can add automation to your social media . This tool integrates with many booking engines including our own WebBook.
Millennials Matter: Millennials are the fastest growing group of consumers in the travel industry. Not only are they growing in consumerism, they are also more connected to social media, they have a broader reach to potential guests, and they like non-traditional appeal. Millennials spend more money on vacations than Generation X or Y’ers combined, and they are constantly on the hunt for their next authentic experience. In addition, millennials love OTAs! They utilize OTAs for everything from flights to hotel stays. In order to keep the appeal going for millennials, hoteliers need to step up their digital . A complete review of your Hotel’s Account on each OTA is essential. When reviewing your online presence, make sure that all content, images and pertinent data is accurate and up to date to showcases your hotel in the best way possible
Wrap Up: Since consumer needs are always changing, there will always be room for improvement in your property’s strategy. While giving your property an overhaul every time there is a new technology could get very expensive, but when guests realize that their needs are being met the increase in repeat stays and referrals will provide your property with a secure revenue stream. These 2019 are not the end-all or be-all to your property’s success, when it’s time to update your capital improvement plan or marketing strategy, keep them in mind – because they just may be what puts your property on the map.