This past year was tough for almost everyone, but with ever-changing health restrictions, safety guidelines, and other factors, hotel owners truly had to scramble to keep their businesses afloat.
Now, just over a month into the new year, and it seems that there may be a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. The recent rollout of two effective vaccines is giving people hope. While it appears that the world may return to some sense of normalcy by as early as this summer, that does not mean everything will go back to how it was before the pandemic.
In the post-COVID world, travel will likely look much different than in previous years. The rapid adoption of hospitality technology is going to truly shape the industry, and the pairing between hotels and technology will only increase in the coming years.
As 2021 marches on, here are 5 hotel technology trends to keep in mind as you reopen and reload your business.
Financial tracking will improve
While nobody could predict the absolute horror-show that 2020 would go on to be, there can be more measures taken to ensure that something like this does not happen again.
Budgeting, forecasting, and maintaining finances has long been difficult for business owners within the hospitality sector. The volatility of the industry makes using past data to predict future trends less reliable than in other industries. Fortunately, the advancements within the online bookkeeping industry have made it so that even hotel owners can better manage their finances.
Cloud-based accounting platforms can improve the accuracy of financial reporting while also streamlining the process. If your accounting team is still stapling receipts to invoices and then inputting all the data through excel, it is time to upgrade your accounting system.
Online accounting systems will allow your team to:
- Access all financial information about the company from any authorized device
- Input financial data in real-time
- Use past data and AI to better predict future cash-flow
- Automate specific data entry
Moving forward, your hotel should be using a cloud-bookkeeping system. These platforms ultimately increase financial tracking accuracy, save your team time, and can provide you with valuable insights that you did not have before.
FinTech will allow owners to explore new opportunities
While most hotel owners will be just looking to keep their heads above water this year, some owners will actually be looking to expand their business to adapt with the times. Expanding during a recession can be scary, but with so many new opportunities within the industry, owners must at least try, or they could quickly find that their business is dated.
To keep up with the times, owners need access to capital, fast. New trends, such as adding open outdoor spaces, offering contactless stays are just a few ways that hotels are diversifying their business.
Owners who are interested in expanding their hotel this year should look into an online business loan as a way to fund their new initiatives. Online loan providers offer the same capital solutions that a traditional bank would, but the entire process can be done online. This year showed how valuable having instant access to capital is.
If a full-scale business loan is too much of a commitment for your business, there are other capital solutions available to explore. Crowdfunding, grants, and personal loans are all alternative ways to access capital that come with less strings attached, but do know that these methods will not guarantee you an amount of money.
As your business bounces back, make sure that you are using the tools available to capitalize on the new trends within the industry.
Booking and property management need to become more efficient
While most hotels already have an online booking system in place, they might not be using it to their full potential.
Using programs that can integrate with one another will only increase the efficiency of your booking process. These “two-way” interfaces ensure automated data transmission from and to your software, saving time spent on manual edits and providing security against overbookings.
The main reason to invest in improving your bookkeeping system this year is because bookings will be different this year. The pandemic has created new types of guests that have a different set of needs than in previous years.
Two new types of scenarios to prepare for are:
- Extended Stays – The rapid adoption of remote work has created a group of “nomad” workers who enjoy travelling to new places while they work. These guests will be staying for extended periods of time. Making sure that they are able to book rooms for months at a time will be important, but can get confusing for the hotel if the right systems are not in place.
- Last Minute Cancellations – While last minute cancellations are nothing new to most hotels, the amount you receive this year may be more than ever. With ever changing health guidelines and quarantine rules, guests may find themselves in impossible situations that require them to cancel their reservations extremely last minute.
Contactless options will be increasing
An extension to modernizing your booking platforms, making a commitment to offering a contactless stay will help take your hotel to the next level.
When the pandemic starts to officially wind down, guests will still have fears of being exposed to unnecessary germs, and while these fears will not last forever, contactless stays will still be more efficient than a traditional hotel stay.
To offer contactless stays, your hotel will likely need to invest in some new technology. Installing motion sensors on all entry doors, sinks, toilets, and lights is a great first step to being more touch-free.
Using a kiosk to improve the check-in experience is another way that hotels can mitigate the amount of human contact that their guests need to go through during their stay. Kiosks will not replace the check-in representatives, but rather serve as an alternative to the traditional check in process. Guests who feel comfortable checking in this way will be happy that they had the option to.
Contactless will help your hotel cut-down on labor expenses all while easing any concerns your guests may have. On top of this, you will also be offering a cutting-edge experience that guests will be coming back for in the future.
Guest rooms will need to be revamped
As already mentioned, there are new types of guests that will be staying at your hotel. Guests that are looking for a home experience away from home will need a room that offers that experience.
For these guests, you should try to offer better WiFi, more desk space, and smart technology within their rooms. Modernizing the room will show guests that you care about their wants and needs and are there for them, in these new times.
On top of offering new technologies in the guest rooms, creating quiet workspaces throughout certain areas of your hotel will draw in the new extended stay crowd as well. Basically, you want to ensure guests that they will have everything that they need to stay for a long period of time.
We understand that all these recommendations can be overwhelming. The world was turned upside down last year, and moving forward it is up to us to get it back to where it once was. If you feel like you need some guidance, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns you may have.