Hotels that used the pandemic to enhance their product and services and made plans for the future will be winners during the recovery.
Hotels have had more than a year to prepare for recovery after the pandemic. As a result, many hotels have taken the opportunity to renovate rooms and other facilities, invest in guest technology, and improve operations efficiency. However, it is not too late to catch up on guest technology and operational efficiency.
Changing guest expectations
According to the J.D. Power 2021 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, guest expectations have changed during the pandemic. There seems to be a higher satisfaction with value for money since many hotels have reduced rates to stimulate demand. When rates return to pre-pandemic levels, hotels must deliver on the new guest expectations. Otherwise, hotels risk decreasing guest satisfaction.
Return of the breakfast
Guests expect the return of buffet-style breakfasts and complimentary breakfast in some hotel segments. Breakfast is an important feature when guests select where to stay, so the option to cut costs by eliminating breakfast is not a viable solution.
Guests expect new technology
Many hotels have invested in contactless guest technology, making it easier for guests to interact with the hotel. The study shows a nine percentage points increase in demand for smart TVs in hotel rooms. Guests want to access their streaming services while they are in the hotel. Many hotels need to update their TVs as well as content access. People are now used to a high-quality TV experience at home and therefore expect more from the hotel.
Guests willing to spend more
The demand for a balcony or a room with a view is up by six percentage points and a revenue opportunity for hotels. During the pandemic, people could not spend money as easily as before. Therefore, people have a lot of money saved for future vacations. When it is time to book, people will be willing to upgrade to ensure a better overall experience. Hotels should grasp this opportunity and present the popular room features on their websites and other distribution channels.
Many people left the hotel industry when they lost their jobs during the pandemic. They found new jobs in other industries and have no intention to return to the hospitality industry. As a result, hotels now face the problem of finding new potential team members. The competition for skilled people will be challenging, so another option is making the operations more productive with fewer people.
Guest technology to reduce cost
Hotels that provide mobile check-in and check-out will need fewer front desk people. The hotel will push the work to the guest, and with good technology, the guest will experience a mobile solution as better service. There will still be friendly receptionists readily available when needed. However, since the guest does part of the work, the hotel will not need the same number of people. The same thinking applies to other services, such as food & beverage, spa, and housekeeping. With the right technology, hotels provide services faster and more accurately than manually.
Commercial activities to attract guests
The competition for guests during the recovery will be fierce. However, hotels that re-organized marketing, sales, and revenue to a commercial team will free up time to produce more guest acquisition activities with the same people. As a result, these hotels stand a better chance of winning the guest