Whatever the laws are that set the pace of human evolution, they clearly have no authority over the evolution of technology.
While there are those predictable advances in hotel tech that can be seen coming from a mile away, the natural progressions of developments years in the making, there are just as many that erupt on the scene, taking the industry by surprise and by storm.
And yet, there are some ways in which hotel technology does adhere to the underlying laws of evolution: If it benefits the hotel, the guest, and the industry entire, it’ll stick around. If it doesn’t, it won’t.
The four hotel technology trends outlined in this article seem to have the kind of staying power that can turn brave new technologies into industry standards. And they don’t just apply to so-called tech hotels, but to all hotels looking to stay competitive in the current travel and hospitality environment.
Personalisation technology: targeting wants and anticipating needs
Rather than coaxing diverse consumers into desiring a generic hotel experience, hotels can now use technology to offer customised hotel stays tailored to the individual guest.
What’s most impressive about this trend is how it’s being incorporated into the guest experience to upsell services and foster loyalty. Customer-profiling, powered by technology that crawls social media sites, is a very real thing now. And it’s helping hotels know what restaurants to recommend, what special offers to promote, and what local activities to suggest — before the guest even checks in.
The takeaway for hotels: Creating unique guest profiles with information about preferences and personal details is fast and easy when done with hotel management software. And the more times a guest stays, the more personalised (and therefore enjoyable and appreciated) the experience becomes, and the more likely it is that they’ll book again in the future. It’s a positive feedback loop that benefits hotel business and guest alike.
Digital solutions to drive direct bookings from metasearch
Perhaps the highest priority throughout the industry is the ability to capture direct bookings with a strong online presence and a competitive booking engine.
Metasearch is proving itself to be a mainstay in the industry and arguably the most important advertising channel for increasing online visibility. And with the dizzying growth of metasearch’s popularity among travellers and the advent of digital solutions that allow the hotel to promote their website rates alongside the OTAs’, metasearch is being squarely positioned within the direct booking funnel.
Add a competitive booking engine with connectivity to a strong presence on metasearch, and what you’ve got is a seamless direct booking journey with high conversion rates.
The takeaway for hotels: The more valuable metasearch becomes for driving direct bookings, the more crucial it is for hoteliers to list their hotels and their website rates on sites like trivago. And doing this is easier than ever, as is building the unique hotel profile that will stand out in search results. Which is key, because to be booked via metasearch, a hotel must first be found on metasearch.
Moving property management off the ground and into the cloud
Property management systems, the behind-the-scenes operational kings of a hotel business, have left the building.
Advances in cloud technology have made it more affordable and more intuitive, effectively democratising it for the masses of independent hoteliers who had, up till now, had to rely on subpar on-premises options. Now those hoteliers, and those new to technology, are moving their property management to cloud-based systems. And it’s making running their hotels more efficient, their guests more satisfied, and their lives as hoteliers better in general.
The takeaway for hotels: A cloud-based system is easy to use and accessible from virtually anywhere. It’s the best option for hoteliers looking to automate and streamline day-to-day activities, improve services, go green, save time and money, and get away from the desk. So pretty much every hotelier.
Tech-enabled data utilisation for strategic marketing and rate-setting
In the hotel industry, intuition is out.
Data, a hot commodity available in high abundance, is in. And the more data utilised to make business decisions, the better. It’s what enables hotels to directly target their core audience of potential guests, to position their properties strategically, and to ensure their rates are market-competitive all year round. In short, it’s what sets up a hotel for a long and prosperous existence.
But data in a raw and inaccessible form is essentially worthless. It’s the technology solutions being developed that, by mining it from the depths of the Internet and forging it into insightful analytics, render data invaluable to the hoteliers utilising it.
The takeaway for hotels: A comprehensive rate shopper is no longer an optional tool for a hotel; it’s a must-have. trivago’s Rate Insights recently debuted to critical acclaim and is part of a full metasearch marketing solution that includes data on the demographics of a hotel’s target audience as well.
What technology trends in hospitality mean for hotels
Hoteliers not in a position to integrate every new piece of technology to hit the market shouldn’t sweat it.
As long as they offer a seamless guest experience by integrating the essential, simple-to-use and affordable technologies, they’ll be in good shape.
And as we’ll explore in a forthcoming article, hotel technology cannot replace the human element in hospitality, but must strike a balance with it. Stay tuned.