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Hotels to Combat Predicted Downturn in Occupancy with Strategic Tech Investments

According to new data from TravelClick's March 2017 North American Hospitality Review (NAHR), group travel is showing signs of growth in the first quarter with average daily rates (ADR) up 3.5% and occupancy up 1.5%. Overall ADR is up 2.0 % based on reservations that are currently on the books for March 2017 through February 2018, growing in 21 of the top 25 North American markets. Unfortunately, committed occupancy for the first quarter of 2017 through the fourth quarter is down 1.2% compared to last year.
Since the reservation pace in the second quarter of 2017 doesn’t show much improvement, TravelClick encourages hoteliers to take proactive steps to capture the advance reservation demand from group reservations. To do so, operators will need to find ways to differentiate the guest experience above and beyond the local competition.
Findings from HT's 2017 Lodging Technology Study reveal that hotels are investing in personalization and mobility to ease friction points and differentiate their brand from the competition. In particular, more than half (52%) of hoteliers said improving digital customer engagement and loyalty will a top strategic goal for technology.
So, where should hotels be focusing IT spend to capture guest loyalty and get the biggest bang for their IT buck? HT’s 2016 Customer Engagement Technology Study found that 91% of guests’ booking decisions are influenced by a hotel’s ability to offer free, reliable WiFi. The good news is that 99% of hotels offer WiFi, but just over half (53%) provide it free to the guest. Tiered access is the pricing method preferred by 40% of hotels. Respondents to the Lodging Technology Study reveal that guest Wi-Fi will see significant activity in 2017 with 45% planning to make upgrades and an additional 5% looking to switch suppliers.
The Customer Engagement Technology Study also found that 48% of guests are influenced to book at a hotel if it has a mobile app that offers a variety of features. About a third of hotels plan to upgrade their current mobile app, and 7% plan to roll out an app for the first time. Televisions will continue to get a facelift, with about 1 in 4 hotels planning to upgrade their Smart TVs. The areas that will see the greatest amount of new rollouts are location-based technology (12% of hotels will add this for the first time), and tablets at the front desk (10% plan to add them in 2017).
To learn more about what hotels' IT budgets, business drivers, allocations, top challenges, focus areas and technology strategies for 2017, download the 2017 Lodging Technology Study here.
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