Saying that the digital revolution has made an impact on every aspect of our daily lives is a bit of an understatement. People are connected in one form or another everywhere they go. The continual emergence of connectivity among consumers has proven to change the manner in which we interact with each other and with businesses. Digital has “transformed the hospitality industry” and has “reinvented” the entire consumer lifecycle, from booking, to the on-site experience, and checkout. So, in such a digital world, how does the hospitality industry adapt?
According to Accenture, here are five major ideas for the hospitality industry to “stop being digitally disrupted, and start becoming a digital disruptor.”
Property: Win the stay with digital
Since digital is such a big part of people’s daily lives, as mentioned before, nearly everyone expects to have, at the bare minimum, free access to a modern Wifi network and in-room technologies. Not all guests are digital natives, but a high majority do have a working proficiency with digital operations, so hotels must adapt to these technological demands. Digital options have the ability to make or break future bookings, and the integration and collaboration of hotel rooms and smartphones can enable a more positive guest experience (which will undoubtedly be shared on social media).
Ways of Working: Use digital as an efficiency multiplier
Digital tools can be used for more than giving guests a positive experience; they can be used to increase efficiency among employees. There are many ways that digital implementation can increase efficiency. For example, using tablets for remote guest check-in, dynamic scheduling as a means to eliminate initial shift planning for managers, and damage reporting to ensure maintenance tasks aren’t forgotten about. All of which can be done through an integrated Project Management System.
Operations: Raise the digital bar on the inside
Many companies in the hospitality industry are struggling to keep up with the pace of the ever-changing digital environment. To maintain a competitive advantage, companies need to extend their digital capabilities so that they can respond to evolving customer needs and wants. A few ways to do so include:
- Cross-channel customer experience optimization
- Integrated commercial systems platform
- Integrated online and offline customer relationship management
Corporate Travel: Use digital to redefine corporate travel
Many business travelers are using the “business trip” to their advantage by booking events such as spa visits after work hours, to indulging in fine dining at their hotel or resort, or even by extending their trip with a few extra “personal” days. Regardless of how they are spending time, “business travelers are looking for more ways to personalize their travel decisions.” From an individual standpoint, personalizing a hotel experience can be a costly matter, but personalizing a corporate experience is much more attainable with the use of digital tools such as mobile apps for corporate travelers, and customized trip planning portals.
Loyalty: Keep guests coming back with digital
Guest experiences and personalization have overcome points as the prime loyalty differentiator. It is too costly and complex for hotels to personalize the experience for each individual guest, but the industry can still meet guest expectations for “just-for-me” experiences. Hotels can use analytics to find out guest preferences and leave them with the perception that “they really know me.”
So, what’s next?
There are predictions that major players within the digital space such as Apple, Google, and Amazon will compete for supremacy within the digital hospitality industry in the near future. Digital is imperative moving forward, and hotels need to embrace the change – by incorporating new platforms and systems that can be used to help personalize the experience of the guest, while maintaining scalable costs.