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01/03/2022

Look To Tech-Driven Management Solutions for Safe and Profitable Post-Pandemic Travel 

From upselling at the point of sale to offering flexible check-ins/outs, hoteliers that make use of innovative technologies will make up for loss revenue and improve operational efficiencies.
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As we approach a post-pandemic world, what does the future hold for the travel and hospitality industry? One of the greatest challenges for hotel operators will be upholding new health and safety guidelines as people begin to resume travel. Operators must ensure that their hotels are safe, while also looking for ways to boost revenue after facing significant business disruptions in the past two years. 

One successful path forward for operators is to leverage new technology. This year has seen hotel owners and operators turning to innovative solutions to make up for lost revenue, inspiring a renewed sense of inertia as they better connect with guests and improve operational efficiencies across their assets. 

Flexible Check-Ins and Check-Outs 

A key way that operators can improve the guest experience is through flexible check-in and check-outs. In the past, hotels have been rigid in their check-in and check-out times– no check-ins before 2:00 p.m. or check-outs after 11:00 a.m. have become part of travelers’ expectations. However, hotels are growing flexible with these times, at no additional cost.

Companies are building out back-end software that makes it possible for hotels to manage the operational complexities that come with around the clock check-ins and check-outs. Through automated property management tools, hotels are able to effectively scale room distribution, and manage room prices, providing a better guest experience. 

Upsell at Point of Sale

Hotels are increasingly turning to machine learning solutions to help increase daily rates. Hotel operators are now offering personalized upsell options to guests who book through their websites. Back-end solutions help hotels update their correct rates across multiple channels on a daily basis, ensuring that both hotels and guests get the best rates possible. 

Algorithms that capture more data on consumer behavior and guest preferences will allow hotels to more accurately price and position their recommended offerings. This level of personalization assists hotels in effective pricing, and guests get access to the experiences they want. 

Focus on Health and Safety 

Last year, The New York Times suggested that the most important word for hotels was ‘clean’. The heightened focus on hygiene during and after the pandemic has necessitated hotels to not only augment their cleaning operations but also codify and communicate to guests how they’re keeping facilities clean. 

This is where new technology solutions come into play. A number of tools can help hotels streamline their cleaning operations in a cost-effective manner. These tools can assist operators in keeping track of what spaces have been cleaned, and how frequently they need additional cleanings. Tech tools are also being used to inform guests about hotels’ commitment to hygiene and safety in real-time, whether through messaging, social media, or a combination of both. 

Yet these aren’t the only ways that technology is making waves in the hospitality industry. In fact, tech innovations are leading to an extension of the conventional definition of the hotel itself. So how can hotel operators utilize these new developments to stay ahead of the curve? 

Rise of Alt-Hospitality 

Airbnb added a new dimension to the hospitality industry by making homestays accessible, scalable, and safe across the globe. The pandemic has brought an intensified emergence of “alt-hospitality” options that guests have flocked to, seeking to stay away from dense urban centers. 

With people looking to get out of cities into the great outdoors, glamping has become one of the biggest opportunities for the hospitality industry. Startups are providing networks of camper vans and guest houses with units available in national parks and along hiking trails. While it’s still early for tenting, glamping and camping, we can expect the alt-hospitality industry to pick up steam. 

Traditional hotel operators would be smart to adopt similar innovative solutions that provide their guests with unique experiences and offer different types of hotel stays.   

By utilizing technology solutions, hotel operators can expand their offerings, while managing these new systems remotely. With travel beginning to pick back up before the emergence of the Omicron variant, there’s now doubt over 2022 prospects for the hospitality industry. 

Hotel operators need to remain strategic in their procedures and day-to-day focuses. Technology is key to this, as it allows hotel operators to have automatic inventory management of their rooms, flexible bookings and check-ins and check-outs, and a continued focus on health and safety. Not only do new tech solutions give hotel operators insights into how their hotels are run, but they provide a superior experience to the customer. Whether it’s a better rate, the option to check in at 8 am, or the peace of mind that their hotel is cleaned, tech solutions are providing hotels with the right solutions to make it happen.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kunal Lunawat is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Agya Ventures. Prior to Agya Ventures, Kunal built technology and product at Hannover Re, a leading reinsurer based out of Germany. Kunal started his career as an investor at Blackstone, where he was part of the firm's real estate private equity practice. Kunal grew up in Calcutta, India and was inspired by his father, who is a first generation real estate developer. Kunal holds a BA in Economics from Yale College and an MBA from Harvard Business School, and currently lives in New York City.