Peak travel season is the best of times and the worst of times for the hotel industry. On the one hand, months of being at or near full occupancy contribute immensely to the bottom line. On the other hand, having to operate at capacity for weeks at a time puts huge stress on hotel operations. Complicating this is the fact that if hotels can’t seamlessly accommodate extra business during peak travel season, they stand to lose out on earnings that will carry them through the slower parts of the year.
Instead of adding extra staff (and labor costs) to handle the extra guests, hotels should consider using automation to pick up the slack. Putting the most time-intensive and error-prone aspects of hotel operations on autopilot means that staff can focus on delivering an exceptional experience to travelers with high expectations.
With the busy season fast approaching, think about automating these components of your hotel:
- Reservations and Booking: Instead of relying on front desk staff to take reservations while also interfacing with guests, use a booking engine with automation to handle all your incoming bookings. A sophisticated system can log, organize, manage, and update all your reservations without impeding the interpersonal connection between guests and staff.
- Pricing and Distribution: Just because the hotel is busy does not mean it’s living up to its full revenue potential. Carefully managing pricing and distribution requires a deep dive into the data and daily refinements. Managers can focus their time more effectively when automation is crunching the numbers and determining the perfect price point or channel strategy based on constantly updating data.
- Maintenance and Housekeeping: Keeping the hotel clean and orderly when it’s busy is harder to do but more important too. Rather than relying on staff to log maintenance requests, dispatch staff and coordinate turndown service using automation. It eliminates a big distraction while ensuring that the messes and damage are addressed as efficiently as possible.
- Marketing and Outreach: Just because it’s peak season doesn’t mean high occupancy is guaranteed. Hotels need to market effectively before and during peak seasons to attract as many guests as possible. Automated marketing can send targeted emails, update messaging across OTA platforms and keep guests engaged with text messages, to name just a few examples. It’s not just a replacement for manual marketing—it’s an improvement.
- Guest Experience and Engagement: Automating how you collect and organize guest data allows you to build it into comprehensive guest profiles. Staff throughout the hotel can use the profiles to treat guests like individuals and meet more of their expectations early. Automation upgrades service across the board.
- Energy Efficiency and Sustainability: Efficiency and cost-cutting are still important during the busy season, but they’re easily neglected when so much is going on. Automating things like lighting and HVAC systems can help you lower energy costs without compromising the guest experience or creating extra work for maintenance. Sensors know when guests are in the room and turn off lights and HVAC when they’re out of the hotel.
- Room Access and Amenities: Making guests go to the front desk to get room keys can be annoying when it means waiting in line. Digital room keys and automated check-ins on a mobile app allow guests to proceed straight to their room. Keep in mind that not every guest will be comfortable using this technology, so it should be offered as an option, not a replacement. Some might not have access to a smartphone app, and the initial touch point of check-in helps establish a relationship between hotel staff and guests.
Some hoteliers worry that automation is expensive, and complicated for both staff and guests to learn. But thanks to AI-driven PMS, the exact opposite is now true. These systems integrate more tools and more data under one umbrella. IAutomation becomes an asset you understand intuitively and benefit from on day one. There is no reason this peak season can’t be the best one yet.
RoomKeyPMS is making cutting-edge automation accessible for every kind of hotel. Contact us to explore where AI fits in at your hotel.
Photo Credits: Shutterstock / Chaay_Tee