Hoteliers looking to gain the upper hand over their rivals should consider adopting the latest technology available at their fingertips. This will help make their systems as efficient as possible and tackle the latest challenges in their industry.
There is an increasing array of tools at their disposal to do just that, but in some cases identifying these tools and how they would integrate into their business is a first hurdle some don’t overcome.
Looking at how the industry has developed in recent months and years and the most recent trends and how they will shape the future are all key for success. Statistics published by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) underline the notion that people are willing and able to travel and, in turn, return to hospitality venues. A survey of 4,700 people originating from 11 countries from across the globe demonstrated that 86% of people expect to be travelling in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Furthermore, Airbnb recently said it expects bookings at the end of the first quarter of 2022 to exceed pre-pandemic levels. It also reports that in January it had over 25% more bookings for summer travel in comparison to the same period in 2019. These numbers not only highlight the real potential for growth within the industry , but should also remind hoteliers of the importance of a resilient payments operation.
In addition to a rekindled desire to travel, consumers have made savings from being in lockdown and have money to spend. Therefore, tailoring a payment solution to the increasingly bespoke needs of the customer, while paying close attention to the latest trends, is a necessity to maximise the chance of long-term success.
The first overarching trend which is worth highlighting is what may be called the ‘demand evolution’. Within this umbrella term three strands may be identified, namely: creativity of offerings, flexibility for changes and cancellations and adaptation of loyalty programmes.
Hotels have expanded their accommodation packages offering to meet new demands and compete with vacation rentals. They have also now implemented a greater degree of flexibility within bookings, which was driven by the pandemic as unexpected circumstances arose at short notice.
Allowing for more flexibility, so that guests can cancel at short notice, will encourage them to book a room and should, ultimately, lead to increased revenue for hoteliers. Finally, they should reward their guests and make them feel more valued by focusing on loyalty schemes. This may involve a reward points system and ensures members receive discounts depending upon the revenue they have generated for the hotel.
This new period of demand is strongly interlinked with the second umbrella trend which is important to cover – digitalisation and innovation. Hoteliers are aware their customers are spending an increasing amount of time online and should install, where possible, the technologies enabling guests to book online.
Indeed, within this, contactless check-in and check-out services allow guests to arrive at their accommodation and bypass what came be time consuming interaction with reception desks. In some cases, contactless services allow the guests to use a keyless check-in too, thanks to an app on your smartphone. Another type of technology employed by hoteliers is the voice command system. An increasingly popular technology, it allows customers to control various aspects of their stay, such as their thermostats in their bedroom, through voice-automated systems similar to Alexa or Google assistants.
And finally, there has been a doubling in the purchase of robot technology since the pandemic and hoteliers may look to enhance their service by using robots to deliver amenities or sanitise rooms. This has the overriding benefit of alleviating contact between guests and staff , minimising the risk of virus transmission.
Modern hospitality leaders are also harnessing the power of data in their daily operations. And by closely analysing this data they are able to better understand the needs of their guests. For example, a guest may set up a profile as part of their booking experience and once their details have been saved and their booking history uploaded, hoteliers are in a better place to assess how they like to spend their holidays. Subsequently the hotel is able promote certain bespoke offerings or discounts to this guest, presuming permissions are granted, to encourage return visits.
Adopting all or some of the systems listed above will undoubtedly help hoteliers attract guests by offering them an greatly improved customer experience. It will also streamline their systems. Both of these outcomes make a boost in revenue a realistic eventuality. To find out more about Worldline’s hospitality offer, please visit: Download Whitepaper Hospitality Payment Trends for 2022 and Beyond | Worldline