4 Things Hotels Should Take Away From The Pandemic
Prior to the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hospitality industry thrived across the globe – though with the exception of only making small leaps of progress when it came to innovating the guest experience. Now, in today’s post-pandemic era, things have changed drastically as the unexpected changes and hardships of the last few years catalysed the industry’s improvement efforts. Moreover, they have also prompted hoteliers to quickly adapt lest they never recover and bring back business.
As more and more hotels resume operations and open their doors once again to tourists as the COVID-19 rules gradually ease, there are several key takeaways they can learn from the recent pandemic that encourages them to reinvent and rethink numerous aspects of their operations.
Below, we share four of these lessons and how they can shape the hospitality industry to become much safer, sustainable, and resilient.
1. Technology is a powerful tool
Digitisation has been an ongoing trend among modern hotels well before the pandemic, but investing in it has no longer become a matter of should but must. 2021 saw an unprecedented growth¹ in digitisation in the hospitality industry as they leveraged technology to address COVID-related challenges and provide a safer and improved hotel experience. For instance, solutions such as an integrated online booking and guest experience platform helped alleviate problems like labour shortage by supplementing the efforts of hotel staff and making their jobs easier.
Moreover, such platforms can be extended to encompass all aspects of a guest’s stay, such as tracking the spaces they use and ensuring thorough sanitation 24/7. In addition, they allow for a more seamless two-way conversation that informs management of guest activities on the premises and notifies guests about services and additional amenities through their phones. Similarly, guests can submit their request for room service, conduct facilities booking, or staff assistance in a more streamlined way that minimises delays wherever possible. Of course, these are only a few of the many technology-powered hotel trends resulting from digitisation, with many more to come to further reduce costs, optimise the guest experience, and ultimately bring flexibility to hoteliers.
2. Put more focus on customer conveniences
People now enjoy plenty of conveniences in their daily lives that should ideally be present whenever they are away from home. A few examples include mobile and cashless payments and online purchasing. When everyone was cooped up at home during the early days of the pandemic, many took to online services to get the things they needed and wanted, from groceries and food takeout to entertainment. The convenience provided by modern apps and websites has shaped consumer behaviour and expectations moving forward; this applies to staying at a hotel as well, starting from booking their room. They think that the whole experience of staying at a hotel, from checking in to checking out and all the requests they may have in between, should be that easy. With mobile check-in for hotels being a thing of today, hotels that are behind might want to start leveraging more on new solutions to provide convenience to guests.
3. Overcommunicate cleanliness
The recent pandemic has heightened people’s awareness of the cleanliness of their environment. A survey from AHLA² states that 81 per cent of travellers are most comfortable staying in hotels with enhanced cleaning and safety protocols for their guests. As such, even in post-COVID times, hoteliers must get the word out about their sanitation practices and take every precaution to protect their guests.
One way of doing so is by outfitting hotel staff with the proper gear like masks and gloves, as well as retaining the protective measures used such as transparent barriers on the front desk, valet tables, and more. Hanging signage marking social distancing, improved cleaning practices, sanitising stations, and temperature checks are other great ways to demonstrate safety protocols.
4. Change things up
Although travelling will continue despite the pandemic, Reuters³ expects the travel industry to take at least three years to recover from the 2020 pandemic. This slow reboot is likely due to corporations reducing their travel expenses and tourists being warier in travelling. Nonetheless, with the continued distribution of vaccines and new product innovations promoting guest safety, there will be those comfortable with travelling again soon. In the meantime, hoteliers should be prepared with their sanitary features to encourage these guests to lodge with them.
For instance, hotels can consider using disposable products within their premises, from restrooms to guestrooms, per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations. Using products with antimicrobial properties is a bonus since they help stop the growth of bacteria. Furthermore, shifting to disposable hand towels instead of hand dryers promotes better cleanliness. Studies have discovered that the latter are less sanitary and boost the survival rate of bacteria in the air and one’s hands.
In these unprecedented times, the hospitality industry would do well to question the status quo and never settle by adopting changes that offer a chance to learn and grow without being a hindrance. While the post-COVID era is rather unforgiving towards the travel industry, it also provides many opportunities. Thus, if hoteliers manage to understand their guests’ new expectations and adapt well, they can be a part of those that will define tomorrow’s hospitality industry.
At Vouch, we aim to take the guest experience to new heights with our Vouch Guest Experience Platform, which fosters greater customer loyalty and helps hotel owners act on the takeaways mentioned above. With our platform’s holistic feature set covering from mobile check-in and facilities booking to a digital concierge, hoteliers can be empowered with the right digital solutions to take their business to the next level. Contact us today to get started.