5 Future Proofing Tasks for Hoteliers During Downtime

March 26th, 2020 Mark Ellis Hospitality Trends

If your hotel is currently closed through no fault of your own, you might be wondering how to ensure you can hit the ground running once the doors reopen.

The good news is that when you’re ready to get back into business, you’ll hopefully be met with the task of welcoming a flood of guests who are desperate to once again sample the delights of your hotel.

With that in mind, here are a few tips for using this time to future proof your hotel business. By the way, these tips could also apply if your hotel is operating.

1. Think beyond your normal spaces

Your hotel excels at providing a comfortable bed for the night and great food. But that might not be enough in the future.

Thankfully, there’s a lot more you can do with the space available in your hotel, and one avenue you may have overlooked is co-working.

It’s estimated that there were around 18,700 coworking spaces across the globe in 2019 – a figure that’s continuing to grow and which is expected to hit roughly 26,000 by 2025. Could your hotel join the coworking revolution and provide space for freelancers, entrepreneurs and start-ups?

2. Put an emphasis on regular staff training

How much of your property management system (PMS) do you currently use? Are your staff fully up to date on the coworking space you’re now planning after reading our first tip?

Research suggests that 74% of workers feel they’re not achieving their full potential at work, and the knock-on effect of that is a sub-par customer experience.

The more they know how to make best use of the tools they have available, and the more they’re aware of the latest hospitality trends and guest expectations, the more memorable your hotel experience will be.

Start by giving them the opportunity to learn remotely, online, and make a promise to yourself that you’ll continue to make staff training a key investment.

3. Implement personalized customer service

You’ll read a lot about ‘personalization’ in marketing this year if you haven’t already, and for good reason.

If you’ve been in the hotel game for any amount of time, you’ll know that no two guests are the same. Now, there are tools available that can meet the varying demands of modern guests with personalized messaging and rate building.

Although you may not have access to these tools at the moment (an email marketing client is a great starting point), planning for how you can segment and target your audience with the most relevant offers is a key strategy.

You can go further, though. If you have a detailed customer database within your hotel PMS that includes past stay habits, preferred rooms and optional extras booked, start using that data to win those guests back and gradually build brand loyalty.

4. Make direct booking as easy as it should be

This is a simple one.

How easy is it to book via your website?

If you’ve got some time to spare, put your guest hat on and pretend you want to book a room at your hotel.

Sound strange? Not so. By undertaking this simple task, you’ll find out whether or not it is simple. If it takes far too long, or you find yourself trying to work out how to advance to the next step, you probably need a new online booking engine.

As the industry continues to evolve and people become more price and research savvy, your hotel website needs to be ready for an influx of potential new guests.

5. Free, simple WiFi

You’d be forgiven for assuming this is an old tip, but it’s amazing how many hotels still charge for WiFi or make it needlessly difficult to connect.

Research suggests that WiFi is one of the most important elements of the guest experience with 65% of people jumping online within minutes of checking in.

If your hotel has to close for a period of time, use that time to investigate your WiFi.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is it secure enough?
  • Is it free?
  • How long does it take to get connected?
  • Do any specific devices struggle with the connection method (i.e. it might work on your laptop, but what about your smartphone)?

If you hit any stumbling blocks above, you may need to chat with your WiFi provider or IT support team.

If you’re currently charging for WiFi, now is the time to drop that fee. Any revenue you’re making from it currently will soon be inconsequential if your desire to charge for WiFi impacts the guest experience (which it will).

Wrapping up

It’s very rare you find time on your hands as a hotelier, but when you have no choice but to close temporarily, you’ll probably find you have it in abundance.

Use that time wisely. Do the things you’ve been putting off for ages. Make sure your hotel remains fighting fit and ready for a long, sustainable future that is built for the modern guest.

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InnQuest Software is a leading technology provider for the hospitality industry. For over 25 years, innQuest has combined hotelier experience with innovative technology to deliver an all-in-one solution that empowers hotels to attract guests, drive customer loyalty, and increase profits. Our flagship property management software, roomMaster, helps manage over 5,500 properties across 100 countries. InnQuest develops scalable solutions ranging from a Hotel PMSCloud PMSChannel ManagerHotel CRM and helps properties enable guests to Book Direct. We believe that everyone deserves a great guest experience, whether they’re staying at a small B&B, a thousand-room resort, or anywhere in between.

Call us today at 1.813.288.4900, or email us at sales@innquest.com. We will be happy to walk you through innQuest’s solutions.