To say that ‘the pandemic has changed everything’ would be an understatement. Learning to live with the virus, masks, and social distancing has become a part of our lives. With the need to avoid contact at all costs, technology has transformed into a survival kit. Since it has become a societal necessity, technology having a lasting impact in the hospitality industry is no surprise.
The hotel industry has faced severe negative impacts due to the pandemic and the hospitality sector – which depends on people coming together – has faced a global crisis as social distancing becomes the new norm. In many parts of the world, people are skeptical of places in which people congregate; including hotels. This has been a huge blow to the operations of the industry. With months passing and the virus still prevalent, it has become clear to the industry that technological integration is the way forward.
With the fear of human contact and risk of transmission, customer behavior is dictating a rapid upscaling of technical solutions within the hotel industry worldwide. With the younger generation so dependent on technology, there is an opportunity for hotels to use this forced adoption of technology to future-proof their operations and modernize the guest experience.
Upon closer inspection at hotels that have re-launched their services to the market post lockdown, here are some observations we found that suggest a technological jump for the better.
This pandemic has made us realize how vulnerable we are to unknown viruses. Prior, we cared less about distancing with strangers, the surfaces we touched or how much we sanitize or clean our hands. Standard hygiene practices ignored many hazards. With corona being highly contagious, we have adapted a more contactless lifestyle as part of social distancing. Hotels are beginning to catch on to this trend.
With guests putting their safety in their hands, hotels need to provide options that minimize guest risk. The best solutions came with contactless procedures and engagement options. From mobile contact and menu options for ancillary services to using wireless keys to open doors, contactless is the new hotel selling point.
Seamless Internet Connection:
Hotels trying to attract customers back to visit their properties post the pandemic have realised online connection becomes a non-negotiable. Among the various marketing strategies and pivots hotels have tried, offering a change in working and studying scenery for both professionals and families has stood out. These staycations have become a trend in different parts of the world and require high quality internet connection to facilitate productive activity. For guests in hotel quarantine and stuck in their room, this 24/7 internet is as basic a necessity as a functioning shower.
The most convenient connection a company can have with their customer is through their mobile devices. Our mobiles have added a sense of security in these times as we know where our phone has gone and what has touched it. We feel more comfortable. Hotels are making use of this by migrating different services onto phone-friendly applications. Making use of features like QR codes, web applications, and digital concierges, this is helping hotels digitize many functions and putting them right where customers are hoping to find them.
Smart Services include smart communication and room services tools and are the new trend for hotels. By using the above mobile devices, hotel operations and processes can be streamlined whilst improving the guest experience. Guests can order, make bookings, request amenities or communicate with staff or automated concierges from their phones or other devices. Being able to have things done via an impersonal mode of communication also allows guests to be more honest in asking for remedies to issues, rather than leaving poor reviews. Functions like these can be implemented, tested and adapted to provide increasingly higher levels of guest satisfaction.
The hospitality industry – amongst all other industries – must adapt with time, external events, and customers’ behavior. With people changing their technological habits and expecting services to be available digitally, hotels need to learn to fulfill that need well in order to win over competition and attract more customers. For the right operators, the pandemic presents an opportunity to push their properties into the smart future of the hotel industry.