Brand is becoming more and more important
In the past, location was the deciding factor in selecting a hotel: consideration would then be given to required amenities and cost. Now, consumers increasingly opt for a favoured brand, confident they will have an experience that will meet their expectations.
Consumer choice is led by changing needs
Lifestyle changes play a large part in the increased demands that consumers place on their hotel stay. Previously, hotels provided an experience that was not commonly enjoyed at home. Today, because our private space is more sophisticated and better equipped, the challenge for today’s hotel market is to offer a standard of comfort which exceeds that at home.
Assisted by technology, loyalty programmes have now become more common in the hotel community. Solutions providers have launched software systems which enable the hotelier to collect, store and use for subsequent stays a wealth of data that permits a level of personalisation previously impossible to achieve.
Technology has a critical role to play as an enabler
Given that travellers now seek not just a hotel room but a tailored stay, technology moves from a ‘desirable’
Equipped with this level of detail, hotels can truly understand their guests, offer a personal level of service, build loyalty and garner the information required to solicit or enhance future bookings. It is as if each guest leaves a ‘footprint’
Whilst, historically, the hospitality industry has been known for low pickup rates on technology, today’s hotel successes have, invariably, made a significant investment in IT. Open systems architecture and integration, accessibility without the need for programming skills, and the ability to gain business intelligence are the elements demanded of technology providers. All systems need to talk to each other, to populate and use a common database repository, and to equip hoteliers with a constant, live snapshot of performance that enables them to respond to issues and opportunities.
As consumers spend more on personal technology, so the hotel of the future will need an increasing investment in commercial technology. Mobile solutions render the interaction between guest and hotels more efficient, as bookings are increasingly made electronically from desktops and handhelds, iPads® and iPhones®. Rich functionality now enables hoteliers to interact with guests. Whilst seemingly contradictory, increased automation through technology is providing the means of delivering a more personal service.
An iPhone® can now be configured as an electronic key, so a traveller arriving late at night can access a bedroom without the need to collect a key from a manned reception. The same rich HTML electronic confirmation used to open the guest’s door can be used by the hotel to upsell and make the guest aware of available amenities. Equally, it can be used before arrival to send an automated reservation reminder, during the stay to ask for ‘live’ feedback and after the stay to solicit follow-up comments and provide incentives for further visits.
Savvy hotel operators are using the recession to reengineer their businesses, develop an exceptionally efficient operation, and offer individualised service. Assisted by the right staff and the right technology, hotels can undoubtedly use this tough climate to their advantage. In fact, the better players may well exit the recession in a stronger condition than that in which they entered it.
To discuss this topic further, please contact:
Director of Sales, Hotels & Resorts
Agilysys (Europe) Limited
Tel: +44 (0) 7976 254 743
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Romain Consulting is a UK-based Marketing & Corporate Communications consultancy. Services including PR are delivered by a high-calibre, highly-experienced technology Marketer. Former Marketing Director of global group. Strategy, planning & execution. Full range of Communications & Product Marketing activities are available on a project or retained basis. Specialisms: