Hotel Industry: Tech Solutions & Innovative Strategies
The hotel industry is a sub-sector of the hospitality industry. Its focus revolves around giving guests a place to sleep and a positive experience. But what generates success in the hotel industry?
In short, innovation and strategies are the keys to sustaining growth. If you're still learning how to manage a hotel, these factors are vital.
In recent years, hospitality software companies have been providing ways to create profitable growth opportunities. Before jumping into over a dozen tech solutions and helpful strategies, let's paint a clear picture of what makes up the hotel industry.
What Is the Hotel Industry?
In simple terms, the hotel industry comprises businesses that give people a place to stay. However, the hotel industry consists of many business models that differ. Each can be unique for the way leaders price, market, innovate, and manage the brand.
Businesses in the hotel industry can also accommodate guests in a number of ways. Think of the "hotel industry" as an umbrella term, where multiple entities can exist. See below for each entity type explained in more detail.
The most popular business model within the hotel industry is the one that shares its name. Hotels are businesses that offer overnight visits, meals, and other amenities. They're popular amongst tourists, but locals may have reasons to stay as well.
Bed and Breakfast (B&B)
Bed and breakfast brands are smaller and more intimate businesses. They offer guests private rooms, and like the name suggests, breakfast in the morning. These business models usually exist within renovated homes, while some property owners still live in them.
One of the unique features of motels is that guests can access rooms from the outside, rather than traveling through hallways. Aside from this, they're quite similar to hotels. Consumers will find motels near major highways most of the time.
Similar to hotels but smaller, inns accommodate guests overnight and offer food service. Unlike a bed and breakfast, inns may also include dinner options.
These business models offer the same features as a hotel, with numerous on-site amenities. Lodging, eateries, bars, entertainment, shops, and other activities exist at resorts. Since they can be a one-stop shop for travelers, they're the most luxurious entity in the hotel industry.
Hotel Industry Tech Solutions
Many hotel technology solutions help improve the customer experience and guest retention. It offers a sense of convenience, which is ideal in hotel settings. It also promotes accuracy and efficiency. For the staff, tech helps streamline tasks.
Another perk about hotel tech is it can enhance the overall sense of luxury. Many hotel leaders argue that tech can diminish this quality. However, guests will always appreciate quick service and attentive staff members.
So which products should you choose? Here are six hotel tech solutions to improve your business:
1. Hotel POS System
As reservations enter the POS system, hotels must be able to process transactions. Use POS software that tracks sales metrics, offers multiple payment processing options, and delivers a frequent point of sale report. Without this, the hotel may not stay afloat.
Hotels can also benefit from unique POS features. Some of the most popular ones include contactless payments, digital receipts, and the ability to host a customer rewards program. If you operate a franchise, it's crucial to use a cloud-based system.
2. Reservation System
Without a reservation system, brands within the hotel industry wouldn't accept nearly as many bookings as they do. This is because consumers no longer call hotels to reserve a room. Instead, eCommerce websites and mobile apps are the way to go.
3. Mobile Check-In and Check-Out
With a mobile-friendly reservation system, hotels can offer check-in and check-out processes via smartphones. This system ensures a few ideal factors. One, hotels can set the check-in time to avoid early guests. It also allows for contactless mobile room keys, eliminating the risk of losing physical keys.
4. Restaurant Inventory Management Software
Inventory apps are essential to hotel restaurant management duties. By planning orders in advance, hotel leaders can save money, as this tool prevents the risk of overspending.
Did you know that food waste is one of the largest expenses a restaurant can incur? Plus, it's detrimental to the environment. By using restaurant inventory software, hotel restaurants can reduce this risk.
5. QR Codes
A custom QR code can be more impactful within the hotel industry than you might think. These unique barcodes give customers 24/7 access to menus and digital platforms.
In a hotel setting, staff can place QR codes inside guest rooms, amenities, by the pool, and other areas. Then, guests can use it to order and pay for food, drinks, and more.
Due to QR code ordering options, this tool is most common in restaurants. However, resorts can also use it to manage concierge services, where they can offer beachside rentals or pool equipment.
Management software can help better manage teams. For example scheduling tools can delegate a realistic number of shifts to each employee. Then, the whole crew can avoid feelings of work overload.
It's also valuable for the way that software can sync and share data. Want to keep the whole staff on the same page? No problem. Or, would you like to view data across a hotel chain? Management software can help you do this, too.
Hotel Industry Strategies
Innovative experiences stem from innovative strategies. There are many tactics that a hotel should use to acquire repeat customers and improve profits. After a while, hotels can become market leaders.
Meet everyone's needs and expectations by providing the best experience possible. Here are six ways you can begin doing so today:
1. Offer In Room DIning
Room service is a major revenue source for hotels. So, why not implement a more upscale version of the service? This is where in-room dining becomes a game-changer for a hotel's business.
Allow guests to order food and drinks with the simplicity of an app or tablet. Then, deliver a complete dining experience right to their door. It'll make for a convenient and memorable experience.
2. Operate a Franchise
Hotel franchises are some of the most profitable business models in the industry. Each unit is managed by a franchisee, and the entire brand can exist regionally, nationally, or worldwide.
The hotel franchise cost can be expensive. However, operating a multi-unit enterprise hotel brand is a way to sustain long-term cash flow. It can offer coverage when certain locations don't perform well, and certainly if some units close altogether.
3. Conduct Analyses Based On Reviews
Customer reviews can provide endless insight into your business. They can help you hire the right team, improve the property, and enhance current strategies.
Closely monitor online review sites, social media review tabs, and feedback forms. Read about all the great experiences guests have and reward your team. Don't forget to thank these guests, too.
Then, carefully consider the negative reviews and adapt from them. After replying with a resolution, take matters into your own hands and change the hotel for the better.
Want a pro-tip? Check out the reviews for competing hotels, too. Then, use this to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competition.
4. Use Virtual Reality to Book More Reservations
VR can come in handy during the reservation booking process. For example, hotels can display 3D tours of guest rooms, amenities, and the property. In doing so, potential guests will have a clearer idea of what to expect.
If you operate a resort, display the surrounding area via VR functions. Not only will this help future guests feel excited about their stay, but it will get them familiar with the area before they even arrive.
5. Emphasize the Importance of Sustainability
Many people opt for eco-friendly restaurants and hotels. This is because protecting the environment is a common value amongst consumers. Try using energy-efficient appliances, reduce food waste, and promote recycling to begin. Over time, these efforts will enhance the hotel's reputation.
6. Run Targeted Advertising Campaigns
Hotels can benefit from continuous paid advertising campaigns. These can take place on Google as well as social media.
If you're implementing this strategy, you want to make sure that visually, your content is up to par with proper messaging and aesthetics. This is because hotel ads can target a large geographic area. Some might even suggest creating ad targets that span the entire country or world. After all, your guests are traveling from somewhere! '
Just ensure that your marketing professional(s) know how to calculate the social media ROI. This will measure performance, and whether you should adjust the strategy.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Hotel Industry
It takes a unique skill set, passion for hospitality, and years of experience to excel in the hotel industry. If you want to learn about the hotel sector a bit more, we've got you covered! See below:
What Are the Typical Amenities Offered By Hotels?
Every hotel room should include clean linens, towels, toiletries, and Wi-Fi access. Outside each guest room, hotels should offer public restrooms, restaurants, a gym, a pool, conference rooms, banquet halls, and more.
What Is the Best Way to Find a Good Hotel Deal?
Consumers can find great hotel deals by comparing prices and using discount browser extensions. Another great way to receive perks is to sign-up for a hotel's loyalty program or newsletter. Though not all consumers will qualify, another great way to receive deals is to use a travel credit card.
How Do Hotels Handle Cancellations and Refunds?
Each hotel has its own cancellation policy, so we encourage you to check with the one you'll be staying in. It's also important that you read the cancellation and refund policy upon booking your stay. More often than not, hotels need ample notice to accept a cancellation for a refund.
How Do I Know If a Hotel Is Pet-Friendly?
Many hotels are pet-friendly, but we recommend double-checking with hotels before you book your visit. This is because many hotels have a select number of rooms that will accommodate pets. Most of the time, there are also restrictions on the animal's size and number of animals allowed. Plus, bringing a pet can bump up the total price.
What Is the Difference Between a Hotel and a Motel?
You can find hotels in lively areas, as they usually offer more amenities. Meanwhile, motels are typically right off of main roads and offer more basic amenities. However, both business models are quite similar for when you need a place to stay.
The hotel industry consists of numerous tech solutions, strategic initiatives, and room to optimize growth. It's also a landscape that's constantly changing. With this in mind, it's crucial to stay atop hotel industry trends and areas for improvement. Once you pay close attention to these factors you'll open the door to years of operating a successful hotel.