by RUPESH PATEL
How long have you been in the hotel industry? If you can remember reg cards and cutting metal keys in the maintenance room, you’ve seen all that’s revolutionized hotels today and how technology has transformed every aspect of the hotel business.
Today, hotel guests can get questions answered by chatbots, book their favorite floor and room number, and check in without talking to a single person. And for us old-school motel owners, we can even lock out a guest with a simple push of a button. (My dad used to make me physically go change out the doorknob/lock when someone didn’t pay.)
WOULD YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF TECH SAVVY?
I would venture to say a majority of people today are tech savvy. They have the latest-and-greatest gadgets in their homes and daily lives. They’re getting instant gratification with everything on demand and asking for it when they travel.
Along the way, the hotel industry has integrated tech ideas from the corporate and startup worlds. We’re taking advantage of data to make smarter business decisions and using tools to create stronger teams.
Almost everything we do today revolves around technology. This means we as hotel owners must adapt, integrate, and be ready for the future, today.
Here are five hotel technologies to make your hotel relevant today.
1. GUEST COMMUNICATIONS
A well-communicated hotel is a successful hotel. That means staff and guests must be tightly connected! To make that connection stronger, we must be using the tech that our guests are using. For many guests, their cell phone is their office. They conduct all their business from it, including booking travel.
In a recent poll I conducted with hotel professionals like you, I asked “How do in-house guests like to be communicated?” A staggering 57% preferred text messages, followed by 28% for phone calls, 10% for email, and 4% selecting “other.”
So why is texting the clear favorite? Guests like it because it’s quick, convenient, and they don’t have to trudge down to the front desk to request extra towels. The hotel staff loves it because it frees up their phones and the long lines at the desk. Plus, it’s an opportunity to create a positive guest experience.
2. OPERATIONS AUTOMATION
In the past, managing hotel operations meant physically writing everything down on paper or typing it into a slow, ancient system. Creating manual reservations and guest requests were always time-consuming, cumbersome, and often bulky. (Did you have that DOS-based computer in the back office? I did!)
Today, many new cloud-based systems help hotels become more operationally efficient. These new technologies can seamlessly talk to each other and make faster decisions. What parts of your hotel business can you consider automating?
3. IN-ROOM ENTERTAINMENT
According to TechJury “82% of U.S. adults streaming internet TV claim it’s more entertaining than cable.” Today, the average hotel guest travels with multiple devices, including their phone. They want a superfast internet connection to create a personalized experience by casting or streaming from their phones, including music, movies, shows, reality TV, sports, news, photos, and of course, YouTube!
A forward-thinking hotel operator understands the importance of guest satisfaction, and keeping up with the latest in in-room entertainment makes guests happy.
4. SMART REVENUE MANAGEMENT
Looking to increase revenues? Sure, we all are. Gone are the days you can set rates and forget it. Today, your rooms have the potential of being sold on hundreds of different booking channels. Many of these channels come with a hefty commission and are difficult to manage individually.
This is where technology comes into play. You can now take advantage of tools to make smarter revenue decisions and maximize revenues. These tools help your hotel analyze, forecast, and optimize RevPAR, sell channels, business mix percentages, and so much more.
Imagine having an assistant automatically manage your rates and inventory for you and then alert you when there are additional opportunities to grow revenues. This is what many new and sophisticated hotel revenue-management tools are capable of doing. Don’t guess; use technology to improve your revenues.
5. HOTEL LABOR TECH
Payroll has now become the highest cost center for most hotels. With the rise of minimum wage and government benefits, hotels today are challenged with managing their budgets while maintaining proper operations.
Gone are the days when we guessed how much our labor costs would be. Today, a well-managed hotel team needs to be dead accurate on labor costs. To accomplish this, new hotel labor tools have helped managers optimize their hourly employee schedule, reduce incidents of over scheduling, eliminate wasted overtime, and make quick, informed, data-driven decisions.
As you can see, hotel technologies have come a long way. Which technologies will you adapt to make your hotel relevant today? I would love to hear your feedback; please message me directly on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/rupeshpatel1/.
Rupesh Patel is an AAHOA Member, hotel owner/investor, and industry advocate. He shares his passion for the hotel industry with daily insights and inspiration to a following of 50k+ hospitality professionals on social media. With 20-plus years of experience, Rupesh hosts a live weekly hospitality show, showcasing the top industry leaders, and has been featured in magazines, podcasts, and media outlets. Today, Rupesh continues to grow his network and businesses through genuine and authentic relationships. Learn more at www.rupesh.co.
When upgrading in-room entertainment options
- Offer a secure and reliable high-speed internet connection.
- Provide an option to easily and safely stream from phone to in-room TV.
- Give options to stream from YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu.
- Offer solutions to stream music from phones or tablets.
- Make sure the guest’s information is cleared from the TV prior to departure.
- Provide enough outlets to charge multiple devices.
- Consider adding a mirror option for Apple Airplay.