As COVID variants and staffing concerns continue to present issues for the hotel industry, hoteliers can offset low occupancy periods with the right tech strategies.
The path to recovery for the hospitality industry is fraught with ongoing staffing concerns and travel uncertainty as spikes in COVID cases and new variants crop up around the globe. Despite the constant unknowns, hoteliers can institute strategies to ensure optimal guests experience, mitigate revenue loss, and help prevent staff burnout. Here are three tech strategies to put into place during times of industry upheaval.
1. Plan For Uncertain Occupancy Levels
One thing is clear, recovery for the industry is not a straight line. While we saw record occupancy rates in December, the sharper than usual decline in January is proof that COVID will continue to have a big impact on travel plans and hotel bookings this year. Plus, Skift reports that the booking window has narrowed since the pandemic started as guests wait closer to their travel dates to nail down details. This shift in consumer behavior means that hotels might not be able to rely on traditional travel patterns to predict when high occupancy and low occupancy periods will occur, and so hoteliers will need to prepare in advance for both.
How can tech help with the peaks and valleys brought by COVID?
A comprehensive guest app opens up a myriad of opportunities for additional revenue that can help provide a buffer for when hotels experience low occupancy. With a guest app, hotels can promote their amenities and entice guests to use them by offering discounts or specials, such as to a spa, a nice dinner at a hotel’s restaurant or a round of golf if a hotel has a golf course. Having guests spend more during low occupancy periods can help optimize revenue. A guest app can also help drive guest loyalty by enabling them to have more control of their stay and access services more easily. Via a guest app, guests can order food delivery, request room service, get recommendations for local activities, order rideshare service and more, making their stay a memorable experience. Even when occupancy is at higher levels, having a guest app can offer a property a competitive advantage. A recent survey conducted by Metova found that 90% of travelers prefer a hotel that offers a guest app.
2. Prioritize Digital Communication
A recent study by Local Measure found that hotels that digitally engage with their guests via an app see a 40% increase in return visits and increase ROI of 564%. With a guest app, hoteliers can communicate with guests at any point of their journey via guest messaging and push notifications. Pre-arrival, hoteliers can send important information such as check-in details, new COVID safety protocols, late check-out option, and direct guests to a hotel compendium where they can find hotel information and more. Guests can also easily communicate with staff to make special requests such as ordering extra towels, and ask any questions. Additionally, by providing an easy line of communication via an app, staff can better track and respond to guest complaints or any service issues in a more timely manner, thereby boosting customer satisfaction.
3. Support Your Staff with Good Tech
Staffing shortages have been a constant source of stress for hotels over the past few years, and as many are still working with lean teams, it’s important to invest in tech that can support both full and lean teams and work well with the tech you already have. Hospitality Tech noted in their 2022 lodging study that a major pain point for hotelier’s implementing new tech is difficulty integrating with legacy systems, which cause issues for staff along with missed revenue opportunities. But hoteliers who give staff the best tools for an efficient workflow reduce unnecessary tasks, keep revenue lines open, and help prevent staff burnout.
What should hoteliers look for in their tech?
- Tech that’s intuitive, and customizable to fit your specific needs.
- Tech that’s responsive, easy to use from any device.
- Tech that’s adaptable, able to integrate with your currents and future systems.
The pandemic has brought on new consumer behavior where travelers today are looking for a more personalized digital experience during their hotel stay. As hoteliers continue to grapple with various challenges brought on by the pandemic, incorporating digital guest facing solutions into their tech stack will enable them to remain competitive and provide a modern guest experience.
Want to learn more about tech that can elevate guest experience and reduce pain points for staff? Start a conversation today.