How technology is the key to hospitality success in 2021 and beyond
Last year, we saw the travel and hospitality industry shift exponentially. Running your property from home became the norm, guests turned to your digital channels for instant updates, and contact-free tech had a global uptake. Triggered by the pandemic, many of these trends are set to remain in 2021 and beyond as the industry continues its gradual recovery. But trying to pick up where we left off is no longer an option; instead, operators must leave old ways of thinking behind and look to their tech stack to accelerate recovery and pave the way for future success.
“Integration between systems will play a bigger part than ever before, allowing operators to manage their entire solutions with minimal input.”
Luke Weuffen, Chief Operating Officer at RMS Cloud
Taking the time to update your tech stack will help you increase operational efficiency and deliver unrivalled guest experiences, two crucial aspects for business success in 2021 and beyond. Here are six tech trends you won’t want to miss:
1. Cloud-based software to become the standard
The surge in remote working combined with the need to quickly adapt has prompted many hospitality operators to switch to cloud technology. Compared to on-premise systems, cloud-based software is resilient, scalable and fully accessible via an online server. This means that even if your staff are off-site, they can still oversee reservations, access reports to make pricing decisions, send marketing collateral to guests, and much more; all they need is an internet connection.
2. Higher demand for contactless offerings
Though already well-established in the hospitality market, self-service has rocketed since the emergence of COVID and is now an expectation over convenience. While the current benefit is reducing face-to-face interactions, contactless tech also streamlines the guest journey, making it a long-term solution for guest-centric operators. It will also save you from having to invest in expensive hardware in the future (such as kiosks).
3. Increasing staff efficiency and cross-communication
Limiting direct contact is crucial for your staff as well as guests in 2021. Implementing digital housekeeping tools enables teams to collaborate virtually while also streamlining essential tasks, such as general housekeeping, deep cleaning and inventory control. Like contactless guest-facing tech, interactive devices for staff have plenty of productivity-boosting capabilities, giving it a life span that will long outlive the pandemic.
4. Fluid inventory capabilities
Many property operators are looking at fluid inventory in the wake of the pandemic to better assist them with any future downturn. This implementation allows you to quickly reconfigure your accommodation inventory to long term in the event of another short-term market collapse. Having a tech stack that enables you to switch to long-term on-demand will help you target a different market, such as students, remote workers and residents (providing short-term letting and government housing, for example).
5. Providing instant answers to guests’ questions
In this tech-savvy world where instant communication and conversational marketing is considered the norm, guests expect quick, if not immediate, answers to their questions. That’s not to say that you’re expected to oversee your communication channels 24/7; instead, you can leave that to an intuitive chatbot. By promptly and successfully answering your guest’s questions, hospitality chatbots like Book Me Bob offer a personalised and elevated guest experience in real-time. Guests that have to wait hours for answers will simply go looking elsewhere.
6. Delivering bespoke guest experiences based on rich guest data
As well as expecting real-time answers to their questions, guests also appreciate properties that go the extra mile to create a more personalised experience. With technology advancements, this is now easier than ever, especially for returning guests. For example, tap into your PMS data and look at their stay history; did they make any special requests, add extras to their booking or stay during a particular time? By analysing this data, you can design tailored packages or identify upsell opportunities that are bespoke to individual returning guests, elevating their experience and encouraging even more return visits.
Our 2021 Trends and Challenges report covers technology advancements in more detail, alongside the evolution of guests and shifts in marketing and revenue management strategies. Download your free copy of the report here.
Catch up on our webinar where we were joined by industry trailblazers to discuss how the right technology stack and an agile approach to marketing can help you effortlessly meet your guests’ evolving needs.