Like most hospitality based industries, the hotel industry has changed drastically as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. And as the travel industry picks up again, hotel managers are trying to figure out how to create a safer and better experience for guests and their frontline employees. Interestingly enough, while the hospitality industry overall relies on the personal touch, technology is going to play an even bigger part in the hotel industry than it does now.
Why hotel technology is changing right now:
Most of the country is easing out of lockdown and people eager to travel again. To keep up with increased demand for accommodations, amenities and food services, the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries are going through major changes, many technology-based or focused.
According to a survey last year on Statista, travel behavior all across the globe changed, particularly in terms of the level of comfort when staying in hotels. The study reported that 60 percent of respondents said “they would be more comfortable staying in hotels after the coronavirus pandemic if there is increased frequency of cleaning and disinfecting procedures.” Nine percent of respondents to that survey stated they “were in favor of temporarily suspending some hotel services such as spas, casinos, and restaurants.” What a difference a year makes. While last year people were still apprehensive about spa services or dining out, social media is filled with vows to enjoy both extensively.
Managing budgets while accommodating guests:
After a year of restrictions, people are no longer content to give up luxuries, especially when in hotels. In fact, after being mostly stuck home for 14+ months, people really want to enjoy the full experience that hotels and resorts can provide. A challenge for hotel operators right now is to figure out how to provide the safest possible and most seamless experience to all their guests, while taking advantage of the new and emerging technologies. An even greater challenge is prioritizing spending and figuring how what the most important tech investments should be right now.
At Relay, we’re proud that our devices connect workers and empower them through the use of a panic button connected to the cellular network. Contact us to find out how to empower your staff through connectivity with a device that alerts to potential danger.
Prioritizing your tech investments:
In March, we posted about Tech tools hotel operators need most. While researching that article we uncovered some interesting technology that hotels would be investing in over the next months. Our top picks included chatbots, venue sourcing software, and panic buttons, of course, which will soon be mandatory in all states. The question we received most often though, was how do you prioritize your hotel tech investments? We wondered the same thing as well.
To add a bit of perspective, you need to update your booking software before the summer rush, but is it wise to do any of this before you’ve updated your safety plan? And should you even be thinking of letting in new guests before you’ve fully trained your staff in the best ways to use their personal protective devices?
To help you figure out your tech and investment priorities, we created a checklist. Of course your hotel or chain is different than everyone else’s and as such has differing needs, but this should give you an idea of where to begin.
- Technology driven disinfection systems: This one is a deal breaker. No matter how gorgeous your grounds or how high the threadcount is on your bedding, if guests don’t feel that you’re taking their health concerns seriously, they won’t stay with you.
- Mobile keys: People no longer want to touch germy keys (well, we’re not sure they ever did!). If you’re apprehensive about a property-wide rollout, consider starting floor by floor until you iron out any potential issues.
- Panic buttons and safety systems (and training): As you ease staff back in it’s time to pay attention to the new and emerging legislation in your state. There’s a good chance that your employees have never used personal panic buttons before and now is the time to train them and explain the process as well. Way before you host guests, you need to add that newest level of safety and protection.
- Automated booking services: Once you’re sure that your space will be safe for both guests and staff, it’s time to make sure that your booking system is of the moment. This is also a great time to ask new hires their favorite platforms and why, and to train everyone in best practices. While you’re at it, pay special attention to internal glitches and solicit as much feedback as possible.
- Chatbots, virtual reality tours and more: If you’re feeling adventurous, try setting up a few methods of keeping potential guests in touch before they’re in touch or during their stay. If you’ve never used any form of chatbot or alternate communication methods, you might want to start small with a focus group offering incentives for honest feedback.
- Smart rooms: The reason we didn’t include this at the top of our list is because this will involve a major spend. Voice control, facial recognition and more can highly personalize the guest experience, but it can also go really, really wrong. Take as much time as possible to explore options before spending.
We also recommend considering a private app for your hotel to be shared by guests and one just for staff, as well as upgraded WiFi and an expanded social media presence.
The Relay difference:
If you’re ready to set up your own network of panic buttons, look no further than Relay. Our products are affordable and efficient. Relay is an easy to deploy, flexible panic button. Best yet, it’s also an elevated communications solution, so you’re combining two critical line items into one (with better value). With Relay, you save money, setup is nonexistent, and our products offer hotel staff a practical, easy solution.