As the first half of 2019 comes to a close, now is the time for hoteliers to take stock and check back on the goals set at the start of the year. Whether you’re on track or running behind, now is the time to reassess and make improvements before the summer travel rush hits full swing. Boutiques and big chains alike can step it up in the second half of the year by taking advantage of technologies and expertise they may already have close at hand. Here’s how:
- Deliver Individualized Experiences at Every Opportunity
Today’s guests expect to have every aspect of their stay tailored for them, from the moment they book their stay through checkout and at every stage in between. In fact, Oracle Hospitality found that 45 percent of guests want the capability to select specific room locations, and more than 80 percent of business and leisure travelers expressed interest in using smartphones to request services and message hotel staff.
Guests’ appetite for individualized experiences will only continue to grow. To keep up, hoteliers must adopt technology that enables them to operate at scale and be agile enough to respond to guests’ unique needs. Drawing on guest data, such as records of past requests and reviews, allows hotels to convert each guest interaction into a defining moment to deliver an individualized experience.
- Capitalize on Mobility to Redefine Service
Scurrying to keep up with guests’ high expectations? The answer may be in the palm of your hand. An overwhelming 91 percent of hotel executives surveyed said mobile technologies are critical to improving guest experiences and cultivating loyalty, and the reason is clear. Because they can be accessed from a tablet or smartphone, mobility solutions untether staff from desks so that they can provide exceptional service wherever needed. When these solutions are combined with the ability to access guests’ profiles, preferences, stay history and consumption patterns, hotels can revolutionize the way service is offered and put critical information at staffers’ fingertips.
- Tap Millennial Staff to Improve Operations and Court Guests
Understanding millennials is a top priority for hoteliers today, with good reason: this generation makes up an influential group of consumers and will soon account for the backbone of the hospitality workforce. However, hospitality operators rarely seek the opinions of millennials on their staff: only 15 percent of millennials who had worked in the field in the past five years said their employers sought their feedback. That’s a missed opportunity as these tech savvy consumers and early adopters could offer insights and suggestions about using technology to improve service and offer individualized experiences. Keep in mind that 36 percent of surveyed millennials said their employers’ use of technology had plenty of room for improvement. Engaging millennial staff can help hoteliers improve operations, bolster morale and reduce staff turnover – a good deal all around.
- Optimize Food and Beverage to Boost the Bottom Line
The hotel food and beverage department is integral to operations and holds the promise of generating additional revenue, but may fail to realize its potential due to underutilization or inefficient management. Fortunately, hotels with suffering F&B departments can still course correct in the second half of the year.
Two critical components—labor and inventory—together account for a hefty share of restaurant revenues. The impact of these expenses is so great that two-thirds of independent restaurant operators reported raising menu prices to offset labor costs, directly undermining the guest experience. This means hotel F&B operators must make cost control a top priority. By using technology to manage labor, inventory and loss, operators can efficiently and effectively control costs, freeing up time to focus on guests.
- Promote the Concierge to “Orchestrator”
Competition to earn guest loyalty is intense everywhere, but there is one place where you have home-court advantage: in your lobby. Once travelers arrive on property, their notion of a memorable experience can be shaped by the deeds and words of your staff. That may seem obvious, but hoteliers forfeit this opportunity without even realizing it. Often guests turn to non-hotel sources—be they tour guides or Google—for in-destination queries, including recommendations for activities, even though they would prefer to receive such information from the concierge.
To address this, evolve the role of your concierge to an “Orchestrator” helping mastermind guests’ stays. By becoming a trusted confidant to guests, the concierge can nurture relationships and direct guests to on-premise activities and dining, driving increased revenue. Plus, the Orchestrator can lay the foundation for future success by documenting preferences in guest profiles, ensuring their next visit will be even better.
Whether your focus for 2019 is service or sales, increasing the bottom line or raising your profile, now is the time to reassess, transform operations and achieve your goals.