For successful brands within competitive industries, business evolution is a natural process that trends toward better products and services for customers, and the evidence of this is on full display in the hotel industry where the most competitive players in an inundated field exploit technological advances to their advantage by creating better comforts, experiences, and products for their visitors. That said, the usage of technology is not restricted to products and services. In fact, the most competitive hotels, large or small, use state-of-the-art advances to make operations more efficient. In doing so, they help increase profits, decrease waste, and live to serve–and thrive–another day.
For business hoteliers, security and privacy are not premium services. Instead, they are basic requirements that customers expect. As such, hotels that market themselves to the business market are taking advantage of more advanced monitoring systems and bio-security.
In terms of monitoring systems, smaller cameras are being deployed throughout hotels and resorts and not always in obvious places. Additionally, the quality of the footage is no longer grainy black-and-white footage. Instead, footage can be up to 60 frames per second, and it can be as high as 4K in resolution. Advances in bio-security allow customers to access a safe via a fingerprint, ensuring that inside jobs cannot occur via the theft or resetting of a passcode.
In terms of keeping the grounds safe, robots now patrol the grounds. Because the robots are equipped with facial recognition, they can be on the lookout for people in the news or even previous employees who might be disgruntled enough to return and create a hazardous situation. Additionally, the use of something known as a geofence is on the rise. Geofences are digital boundaries. These boundaries are matched to the credentials of staff members. If an unauthorized staff member attempts to cross the boundary, an alert is issued. For business customers, this technology is important because most thefts come from within the hotel by a staff member.
- Hotel Internet Services
The ability for customers to go online and reserve their favorite room for their next resort holiday is nothing new, but booking technology remains a top technology for hotels if they are going to decrease wasted rooms. For instance, hotels are now populating so-called super-saver sites with one or two rooms that offer visitors big savings on select rooms. Such site placement serves to maintain brand awareness. In fact, if a hotel is not using a coupon aggregator or a best-price search engine, they are in danger of not being considered for many people’s upcoming stays. These types of sites function as funnels, allowing customers to review available budget rooms while also being offered value-added amenities, additional nights, and other perks.
Additionally, advertising continues for hoteliers long after the rooms are booked. For instance, it is obvious that such cheap rooms go fast, but the advertisement, itself, remains online because future dates will probably still be available. If a hotel can publish attractive photos of all the amenities and can properly convey the luxury of the stay, it can sway visitors to book more expensive rooms without actually engaging in bait-and-switch practices.
- Virtual Reality and 360-Degree Tours
Hotel tours are transitioning from photo galleries filled with snapshots to 360-degree tours via which customers can tour a hotel and view the amenities, décor, and surrounding scenery. Many hotels offer 360-degree tours that allow you to get a panoramic sense of the hotel. However, others actually offer virtual tours that allow you to don a headset and roam the grounds. This type of technology allows potential visitors to match their tastes with what a hotel has to offer.
This technology does not simply increase bookings because popular hotels are typically booked. The true competitive edge that this technology provides is that it helps ensure that a hotel is a perfect match for visitors. When a visitor has the opportunity to gauge a hotel’s décor or amenities, there is a much greater chance that the stay will be perceived as extraordinary. Simply put, this type of technology prevents a mismatch between expectations and reality. In doing so, hotels are sort of cherry picking their customers because visitors vet the hotel beforehand and leave relaxed and overjoyed. As such, they are much more likely to leave a five-star review, something that cements the hotel’s reputation.
One of the most ubiquitous pieces of technology is the humble phone app. Although a phone app might seem common, the analytical technology that drives such an app is anything but mundane. For instance, apps track customer preferences, and they help track lost revenue potential by keeping a history of dropped carts or incomplete bookings. Because these apps monitor behavior, they can help analysts pinpoint the reasons a booking was successfully made or determine why a high-dollar reservation was considered but ultimately lost. Such insights help marketing and advertising teams hone their campaigns for a greater return on dollars spent.
Apps that function as hotel internet services can track in-house orders from restaurants and allow occupants to easily order room service. They can help track popular items and help restaurant managers rotate less-than-popular dishes off the menu. This type of data tracking helps increase sales, of course, but it also helps ensure that a higher percentage of customers are able to obtain what they prefer. Of course, delivering services and products according to customer preference will help increase the chance that a hotel receives a glowing review complete with exclamation points. However, something that might not be as obvious is that happy diners take pictures of the food and share them on their social sites. Such pictures are a type of personal referral, and they help drive future sales.
In terms of returning to the basics, any hotel keeper knows it is easier to keep a customer than to gain a new one. As such, apps also serve as the core technology for loyalty programs, which deliver points and help customers trade these points for future hotel stays.
- Efficient Management Systems
Most hotels are upgrading their in-house booking systems to something known as a property management system (PMS). A PMS allows hotel managers to better coordinate maintenance and guest services. They also help integrate departments that might rely on disparate technologies. For instance, a PMS can serve as a technological hub for accounting, customer service, and maintenance. No longer does a hotel manager have to license expensive accounting, booking, and maintenance software. Instead, he or she can simply use a PMS to manage all the departments from one technological hub.
Additionally, a PMS can help project sales and track departmental budgets. By doing so, they help managers better time their promotions and help ensure that department expenditures fall within a profitable range. Hotels are also utilizing sophisticated management systems to help monitor computer networks. Unlike a simple booking system, a PMS can actually monitor a network and detect breaches.
Finally, such systems are also able to integrate with social sites. Doing so can help managers respond to indirect customer complaints made on a third-party web page. It also can help managers respond to compliments and photos in which the hotel is tagged. By decreasing the time it takes to address a complaint and by increasing the connection to increasingly loyal customers, hotel managers are able to improve guest relations by directly interacting with their client base. This type of interaction is, of course, seen by the friends and relatives of such customers, which can help build a brand and obtain new customers.