With each new challenge faced by the hospitality industry this year, hoteliers responded by adopting new technologies to support lean teams and deliver an enhanced guest experience.
The year 2021 brought various challenges to the hospitality industry including continuing health and safety concerns, loss of revenue due to travel restrictions, and widespread staffing shortages. Many hoteliers faced these challenges by adopting new strategies and technologies to meet the changing demands of today’s guests and adapt to the new normal. Below are a key trends and topics in hospitality that emerged in 2021:
Contactless Solutions for Guests
Creating a seamless, contactless guest experience became vital for hotels to stay in business. To that end, hoteliers adopted mobile technology that enabled guests to safely check-in and open their guest rooms without the need to interact with the front desk. By using a hotel app, guests could access hotel information and make service requests right on their smartphones. Mobile apps also alleviated the front desk workload while allowing guests a more convenient, safer and contactless experience.
Tech Solutions to Support Lean Teams
As events, business trips, and vacations began to ramp up over this past summer, many properties operating with lean teams were suddenly faced with clogged front desks, decreases in work order fulfillment, overwhelming housekeeping tasks, and little to no time for service recovery. When consumers began traveling again, adopting tech that could help a stretched workforce meet the needs of their guests and streamline their daily tasks, became hoteliers’ top priority. On the backend, hoteliers sought to streamline their lean team workflow through automation. Adopting a holistic guest platform, hoteliers could improve both guest communication and tracking for booking details, tasks, and work orders. When many IT departments were outsourced or cut altogether, it became crucial that the hoteliers invest in a tech partner that could provide the maximum benefits for their staff while requiring minimal onsite upkeep.
Luxury + Convenience Through Smart-Rooms
2021 was a big year for smart tech in hospitality. This is largely because everything can be tailored to the current guest while offloading tasks from staff. Smart-rooms offer modern conveniences that today’s guests are accustomed to at home and elsewhere. Using smart-room tablets, guests can dim the lights, adjust the room temperature, message staff, view a sleek digital compendium, request in-room service, and more–right from their smart-room tablet. Plus, tablets were able to make guests feel like the hotel staff was always just a few taps away. Many hoteliers this year discovered that smart-room tablets are the perfect room companion. While mobile check-in and mobile apps have their many benefits, guests might enjoy not having to rely on their personal devices to access hotel features when they are in their rooms. Plus, some guests prefer a tablet’s larger screen and find it easier to navigate. A dedicated device that acts as the room command center offers guests control capabilities as well as more convenience.
Improved communication and guest engagement took the spotlight in 2021. This year, hoteliers put an emphasis on communicating with guests before, during, and after a guest’s stay. For instance, sending guests a welcome email to remind them to download the hotel app to access hotel information, make service requests and more can set the tone for their stay. During a guest’s stay, staff were able to use the hotel’s app to communicate with guests on a one-on-one basis or to a larger group. Utilizing SMS, Messages in app, or even displaying eye-grabbing banners in a hotel app allowed staff to communicate with guests about any health and safety updates, or acknowledging their service requests. Communication shouldn’t end when guests end their stay either; follow-up emails, surveys, and personalized promotional offers for future stays are key in encouraging guests to return and becoming loyal customers.
Mobile Ordering and In-App Dining
Mobile ordering allows guests the convenience of being able to browse a hotel’s restaurants’ menus and order food items directly from their mobile device or smart-room tablet. With in-app dining, guests can get their food delivered to them anywhere on the property, schedule room service in advance or even schedule a pick up order right from the hotel’s app. Many pick up orders can be offered to non-guests as well, allowing day visitors and event goers to experience the same level of ease and convenience at on-property dining establishments. This year it became more clear than ever: paper menus will soon be a thing of the past. Which is why those with on-property dining shifted to in-app menus where they could make immediate menu updates, save on printing costs, and create eye-grabbing promotions. As properties reopened from lockdowns, digital storefronts helped recoup some revenue by increasing accessibility and visibility to their guests.
On the staff side of things, mobile ordering directly through the hotel’s app elevated guest delivery and reduced order confusion by streamlining the backend. When dining capabilities are consolidated within a hotel app, orders are easier to view and keep track of, reducing mistakes all around. In-app digital dining can also provide actionable guest metrics, such as which menu items are more popular, that can help with making more efficient purchasing decisions.
As we head into 2022, there is new hope for a year of recouping revenue losses and utilizing even more solution-driven tech. For further information on how INTELITY’s platform can support small and large teams and elevate guest experience, start a conversation today.