When it comes to a competitive industry like hospitality, a hotel’s operations and marketing strategies need to incorporate modern technology and consider consumer behaviour patterns in order to stand out. It’s especially important in today’s world, when consumer preferences evolve at a fast pace. Here are a few important trends characterizing the hotel industry—and how you can use them to appeal to your key audience.
With the recent introduction of Apple Pay and other mobile payment systems, many service-based businesses have begun incorporating this new technology into their operations.
Should hotel owners also jump on board?
Some hotels are using mobile payments for catering and cash bar applications. And Marriott is the first hotel to accept Apple Pay for check-ins. That said, mobile payment technology is not yet compatible with property management systems (PMS), so it might be beneficial for hotel owners to wait before adopting this new payment method.
Thanks to Airbnb, millions of rooms in thousands of countries are available for rent by their owners. As a result, hotels must work to highlight their advantages—security, reliability, quality—over this increasingly popular form of lodging.
Hotels can also use strategic planning to compete. One example is authenticity. Many Airbnbers seek an authentic travel experience, which they feel they might not get if they stay at a hotel. To make your hotel more memorable, you can hang up artwork from local artists in the lobby, feature homegrown ingredients in the hotel menu and perhaps offer an unusual feature like a pet ambassador to greet guests. You can also add staff profiles to your website, so visitors can get to know the people they’ll meet during their stay—just like they might with an Airbnb host.
After staying at a hotel, a guest may be likely to write an online review on sites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp. And many people won’t book without reading several reviews first.
You can use a management system like Revinate to get a comprehensive view of your online reputation from several sites. If there are any negative comments (hopefully not), address them in a considerate manner. By showing that you’ve taken constructive criticism to mind, your visitors will feel assured that their concerns are your top priority. Encourage guests to post about their experiences online, or ask if you can share comments from their post-stay surveys. By taking a proactive approach, your online reputation will remain positive.
Hilton Worldwide offers special hotel conveniences through a mobile app. A guest who’s signed up for Hilton’s rewards program can use their phone to choose their desired room from a list of available ones, check into the hotel and unlock their room door. They can also unlock other doors such as ones leading to the spa and parking garage.
Survey guests to get a sense of whether or not they’ll use this feature. You can analyze data in guest profiles for complementary behavior (e.g. do they book over mobile? Do they take advantage of things like express check-out?) to see how many customers are regular tech users.
By keeping an eye on current trends and weighing those against your guests’ preferences, you can keep your operations current without the risk of trying untested technology that may cause more problems than they’ll solve. In the long run, you’ll run a more productive and efficient hotel.
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