It’s a non-negotiable fact that technology is changing the faces of industries all across the globe and the hospitality industry is no different. Over recent years, hotels and similar hospitality establishments have become shaped and influenced by new technological trends and the reality is that rather than slowing down, technology is going to become more a part of everyday life in the hospitality industry. As such, it’s up to hotels to either move with the times or become left behind in the wake of technology. Each new year brings a whole host of new technology trends for the hospitality industry to adjust itself to, but 2016 has three in particular that are sure to shake it up for the better.
Every hotel should at least have its own Facebook page, if not a Twitter account and potentially an Instagram account to reach out to its current and indeed its potential audience. Social media gives you the opportunity to reach out to your target audience directly to showcase your new products and services. It’s basically a way to take advantage of very cheap, if not free, advertising space. You’re also likely to be able to promote your products and services to a new and younger target audience who are less likely to see your advertising through more traditional methods. You should be aware however, that social media can be a bit of a battlefield that thanks to social media all of your services and products are now completely on display, and open to scrutiny. Research from this year has shown that over 50 per cent of customers made a purchase based on an online recommendation or from online advertising, instead of over the phone or by physically going into a hotel to make a booking. It’s becoming more and more important to have a social media presence that is running at optimum performance to ensure that hotels can expand their room occupancy. Not only can you use social media to advertise your advertise your products and services, it also creates an excellent platform for you to receive feedback from your target audience. By asking customers directly what they would like from you and your hotel, you have the opportunity to directly create customer satisfaction. While this is good, it can also create potential pitfalls as when you open up the door to criticism, you invite the good with the bad, so make sure you are ready to receive both kinds of comments.
Mobility is another way of talking about mobile devices, which are the most common example of the public’s growing dependence on technological advances. On any average street now there is a sea of people walking with their heads cast down towards the screens of their smartphones, highlighting that people feel the need to be connected at all times. Mobile applications are also constantly being developed to allow people to connect to things more easily and to use their phones to control certain devices around the home. For example, there is an app that can be downloaded to allow the user to switch the lights on and off in their house. There is another that enables certain types of cars to be locked and unlocked, just by touching the screen of their smartphone. This type of connectivity is beginning to creep into the higher end of the hospitality industry, with some hotels now offering a key card mobile application to allow them to open their hotel room doors. Similarly, some hotels are now offering their customers constant contact with the concierge through a mobile chat app, which is being referred to as having a concierge in your pocket. Such connectivity with the hotel and its staff makes customers feel more at ease with the hotel surroundings and the likes of the pocket concierge can boost customer satisfaction as they can receive an answer to a request in real time, rather than lodging a request and waiting for it to be dealt with in a queue.
Swap your PMS for ERP
Hospitality industry software is constantly evolving and upgrading as hotel requirements become more sophisticated and complex, meaning that properties are and will continue to find it difficult to manage requirements with a simple property management system (PMS). A PMS can’t handle the rate of data and change between social media marketing, business intelligence, revenue management, distribution channels, online reputation management and more. A good hotel enterprise resource planning or ERP system will assess these needs and leverage all the data you have been given to make your interactions with your guests personalised. A more personalised guest interaction experience will create a higher level of customer satisfaction, which can only be good for your hotel and the hospitality industry overall.