Technology in the hospitality industry is getting more sophisticated year after year. The latest trends in this business strive to help business owners run the business more efficiently and allow them to provide their guests with a better experience. We have gathered some of the most important advances in hospitality tech you need to consider this year.
Integrated Property management systems (PMS)
Running a hotel on paper isn’t good for your efficiency or the environment. And the shift from in-house data to cloud storage makes integration of your PMS much easier.
Having an integrated PMS ensures that you can create and access reports, digitize check-ins, payments, and general hotel management. Reports can be easily passed on to the relevant staff, making all the processes more efficient.
Integrated property management systems allow businesses to harvest rich data about their clients, which is arguably the single most valuable asset in the quest to provide the most comfortable experience.
Combining all the data collected from previous guests and reports generated from the hotel itself, and then integrating with a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM) gives you all the tools you need to ensure that you are marketing your hotel to the right people, as well as creating a conversion-focused marketing strategy.
By keeping pertinent customer information on file, you can personalize your customer experience and always stay one step ahead. Keeping an eye on preferences and the way people use the hotel, such as early morning alarm calls, favorite beverages, and gym use, gives you the opportunity to adjust your service accordingly. Knowing when your guests are likely to travel and offering them a special deal or an especially warm welcome will ensure that you create loyalty and prevent precious guests from migrating to the competition.
Knowing what your guests want and need even before they do is key to creating lasting business relationships.
Mobile-enabled management systems
The latest trend in property management is mobile technology, which offers a huge number of benefits over a single central system.
Cloud storage is designed specifically for cross-platform use in mind. Mobile PMS’s are created using simple API’s and web-based applications so systems can be accessed from anywhere and on any device. This approach also makes mobile technology accessible and affordable for even the smallest of establishments.
1. Paperless check-ins.
Paperless check-in is faster and more convenient for both guests and a hotel. No more formal in-person check-ins. Now your guests can check in online and avoid standing at a desk and filling out forms after a long flight. This also frees up staff members to focus on other areas of guest experience.
2. Mobile keys.
Mobile keys are becoming more mainstream, which reduces costs for businesses while providing convenience for guests. Guests are far less likely to lose their own mobile device rather than a hotel room key! Mobile keys integrated with a central PMS can also offer helpful data, for example enabling hotels to know exactly how many guests are in their rooms in the event of a fire or other emergency.
3. Customer messaging systems.
Customer messaging systems can be utilized with mobile technology. During their stay, guests can message staff with their requests, removing the need to visit front desk or even make a phone call. This enables staff to respond much more quickly, as well as giving you priceless information which you can use to provide a better service in the future. Offering a messaging service also gives guests a quick and easy way to make suggestions or give constructive criticism.
4. Hotel management system.
Hotel management is much more streamlined on mobile too. Let your housekeeping team know that there’s been a wild party in room 204 and an immediate clean-up is required, or send the maintenance team to a broken toilet in room 60. All members of staff can check schedules and ensure that tasks are completed on time.
The ongoing popularity of Online Travel Agents is largely a response to the lack of information customers find on the Internet. Everything is now researched and purchased online, and OTA’s are providing all the information guests need. Take a look at any online travel agent and you can clearly see the facilities, rates and pertinent information that any guest needs to know before booking.
Savvy hotel owners understand that guests want to access information (facilities, menus, gallery, maps). Providing a mobile app or optimized website will not only increase your reach but also give guests everything they need to feel confident in your establishment. Provide all the relevant information as well as up-to-date rates, interactive reviews, direct communication and booking options and customers will likely move away from OTA’s. Creating a stunning user experience from the moment they first discover your business will increase loyalty and turn your customers into regulars.
Direct bookings also give a unique opportunity to gather valuable data about potential guests, ensuring that your marketing efforts are reaching the right people. And rates can be adjusted according to the demand and seasonal fluctuations, having direct access to customers means that you can respond more quickly to needs and expectations.
Automating much of the day to day hotel management and creating a more sophisticated PMS, means a greater responsibility to ensure that all systems are watertight and protected from online fraudsters.
Online security is one of the hottest trends of 2017. There have been many recent attacks on large systems which were assumed to be untouchable, and news coverage has increased general awareness. No one is safe. Thieves are getting cleverer in their quest to extract money and data, and complacency is a sure-fire way to become a target.
Whether you are running a huge hotel chain or a small boutique hotel, you will always be prey to hackers. Don’t forget that you are holding sensitive data about your clients, and not some credit card information. This data can be used in a number of ways and guests will feel more confident booking with you if you can provide them with proof that you are protecting them.
People need to feel secure to relax, and providing the highest level of security can go a long way to giving peace of mind to customers.
Thankfully with the growth of online crime figures, there has also been growth in the number of tools that you can use to protect yourself and your clients.
Staying in a hotel used to be a novel experience, where customers could experience luxury which they don’t get at home. Nowadays, everyone has a smart TV, fast Wi-Fi and access to streaming services at home, leaving many hotels feeling less luxurious than guests own sitting rooms.
This means that all guests have higher expectations. If you can get superfast Wi-Fi in your local Starbucks for the price of a coffee, people surely expect to get the same or better Wi-Fi service in a costly hotel.
Previously considered only necessary in executive settings, decent Wi-Fi is now an essential service for all guests, not just those traveling for business. Even the youngest kids have connectable devices which they don’t want to be parted from, and providing subpar connections will guarantee a lower rating and fewer returning customers.
Providing a fast Wi-Fi connection will also compliment your mobile PMS, giving fast and efficient communication between guests and staff, and allowing needs to be met more quickly.
The rise in popularity of streaming services means that standard TVs are no longer watched. Guests now expect a smart TV with access to the major streaming services, which allows them to log into their own accounts so that they can continue watching their favorite shows while away from home. If you are still running a standard system it might be worth making the change now.
Many manufacturers offer special rates for hotels, which could make it more affordable for your business.
The hospitality industry is becoming more and more competitive, with guests having access to a wider range of establishments and travel options. This means that keeping up with advances in technology is crucial to ensure that day to day management is seamless and customers are relaxed and happy after their stay.