Future 5: Glimpse into the next 5 years of hospitality

Future

A glimpse of the next five years of hospitality

Companies across industries create five-year and ten-year plans as future goals to accomplish. This helps them to remain focused and adhere to these plans even in the times of chaos. Before the pandemic of COVID-19 was upon us, all sectors, including the hospitality industry, might have had their plans in place to look out for their next five years in the industry. Now that the pandemic has taken place, hotels may have to rethink the way they operate businesses.

Going forward, the future 5-year plans may not be as simple as it may have been in the past. Apart from taking into account the changes pertaining to operational and management systems, hotels have to prioritize the health and well-being of their guests and staff, if they aim to stay at the top of the mind of their potential guests.

Let’s take a look at how the next 5 years of hospitality may unfold.

Sustainability
One of the key changes that people around the world witnessed during the pandemic were it’s positive effects on our environment and nature as a whole. Some of these changes include the decrease in the level of pollution leading to being able to breathe fresh air.

Maintaining these changes will remain a prime concern, even in the future, since we are beginning a new normal phase. This is a phase when a previously unfamiliar situation of living as we did during the pandemic will become a way of life going forward. Millennials, as the guests of today and a part of the future working teams at these properties, will demand that they are run on the principle of sustainability. A report by Deloitte states that millennials find it hard to trust businesses that do not have a positive impact on society. This means that hotels will have to eliminate the usage of single-use plastics, monitor the usage of water, find an alternative for disposal of garbage, and so on.

In accordance to the LEED rating system, you can maintain sustainability in terms of Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ) by making use of the below tips:
Make use of daylight, saving electricity wherever possible.
Convert guest rooms into smart rooms by installing temperature and ventilation control.
Provide guests with operable windows and lighting controls.

Global Expansion Plans
With countries imposing lockdowns and a halt on international travel, the current focus of hotels is to cater to their domestic market. However, once the lockdown is lifted people will begin to travel around the globe. Hotels must begin planning for events and increasing their reach and market to international crowds as well. Since the industry would be having a fresh beginning of sorts, it is time to include a global expansion strategy in the next five-year plan.

Hygienic Spaces
The post-COVID scenario includes all sectors to look after hygiene and sanitization, not as an afterthought but to be the most crucial criteria when opening up for businesses. Regular health-checkups, stringent measures taken for the well being of the staff and guests of the hotels, and changes in the internal operations of the hotel need to be on the top of the list of priorities. It will take a while before the virus is eradicated from our lives, even after the cure or vaccine is discovered for the same. So, for the next two years, at least, and perhaps even after that, it is imperative that health check-up routines are being followed as we have entered a period of “New Normal.”

Steady Recovery
In the past quarter of the year, the hospitality and tourism industry has taken quite a hit with the lockdowns that transpired around the world. According to a report by the AHLA, the pandemic has caused 70% of employees to be laid off. In these desperate times, where the workers intend to come back to work but cannot, these industries are to get back on their feet stronger and better than before. The industries were proud to be employing a huge chunk of the population, which unfortunately isn’t the case anymore. Even though the time taken to get back to normal may not go up to 5 years, it surely will need a while to get over the effects of the pandemic on the loss of jobs within the sector.

AI and Automation
With social distancing becoming a norm around the world, it is only a matter of time before people overcome the fear of getting out of the house. In the future, it would be beneficial for hotels to adapt to AI and automation within the hotels to promote social distancing and less physical contact. The presence of self check-in and check-out counters, IoT, Chatbots, cloud-based property management systems, blockchains, etc will only grow manifold in the next five years. Certain software like WrkSpot can come in handy since they merge AI with IoT, so turn properties into smart hotels.

Conclusion
The hospitality, travel and tourism industries have sure taken a hit in the last quarter of the year that may have eroded their efforts of the last 5 years. However, it is not too late to get back with altered plans that are focused on a stronger comeback and later, a stronghold in the industry. Slow and steady steps while focusing on customization of choices for guests is what would help hotels stand out among the crowd.

Must-have technologies for hotels

technology

Usage of technology is now one of the most crucial elements for sectors around the world as they help to save time and increase efficiency. The hospitality industry has incorporated the use of technology in their day-to-day activities to streamline tasks resulting in customer satisfaction. Additionally, inculcating softwares helps to cut down on operational costs and the number of complaints that are received from customers.

Having a hotel management tech or a workflow management system such as WrkSpot in place has multiple benefits that are of utmost importance now more than ever. With the occurrence of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s essential to implement operations that can run without the need for physical contact with one another, right from check-ins within the hotel to taking service orders at restaurants.

Currently, there are various kinds of softwares available in the market which have replaced multiple operations that previously required physical intervention. Let’s take a look at some of these.

Panic Button
Technology is constantly evolving and emerging with newer and unimaginable ways in which it can enhance human lives. One such technology that is a must for hotels and the hospitality industry as a whole, is the presence of the panic button when it comes to employee safety. According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there is approximately 6% decrease in turnover in the hospitality industry. At many instances, it has proven to be a lifesaver when employees were harassed within the hotel premises.

IoT in hospitality
IoT refers to the network of connected objects that communicate in sync and automatically. Having IoT within hotels seemed futuristic earlier but it is a reality today. Making them a part of conducting operations within hotels can help to reduce costs and provide your guests with a better experience. IoT may be used to automate the rooms of the guests where guests use a remote to adjust lights or by connecting their mobile devices to the hotel network, can reorganize their stay using their device. This makes it possible to understand guest preferences for meals, stay requirements, and it also helps to save money because most functions are automated.

Chatbots
One of the latest additions to the technology in the hospitality industry is the chatbot service. A chatbot makes use of AI to enhance and customize the guest experience. Installing a chatbot within the hotels helps minimize physical contact as most frequently asked questions can be answered via a chatbot, it can know the guests’ preferences while staying at the hotels, and it can also help sell other services within the hotel such as sauna in the spa, and so on. This helps provide them with a customized experience based on their preferences. As this is taken care of through chatbots, the staff is then left with more time on their hands to manage activities that require to be done manually.

Account Management
Investing and installing a hotel accounting technology is a must for the hotels of today. In contrast to the earlier days of administering accounts manually, a management system takes care of generating invoices and account statements, producing payslips, revenue and expense management, and so much more. Automating of routine accounting duties helps to reduce human errors and provides greater accuracy when integrated with a top-notch property management system.

Employee Retention
Employee retention is a critical issue for the hospitality industry. It is important that efforts are made to retain the employees that are leaving their jobs on account of the burden they experience due to manual tasks that could have been automated. This, due to turnovers, have an effect on the guest experience. Hotels must thus invest in technologies that help ease the burden of employees by automating certain tasks, training them to stay on top of their tasks, and the employees are in accordance with the labor-management laws.

Blockchain
Blockchain and cryptocurrency have come a long way since they were first introduced to the world. Today, these are multipurpose and used widely across sectors since they provide transparency, security, and control of electronic transactions. Hotels and vacation rental marketplaces can make use of Blockchain-based technology since it helps to manage bookings and can help offer services at a lower cost than other industries.

Conclusion
Inculcating technologies within the daily workings of hotels is a must for the guests of today and future young travelers. Having an all-in-one property management system helps to eliminate the worries of having to look for multiple forms of technology. WrkSpot is one such property management system that is created with the aim to simplify hotel operations to turn hotels into smart properties. With a focus on compliance and employee engagement, WrkSpot is an ecosystem that helps empower teams to run the hotel better.

Ways in which tech can help run the ‘New Normal’ hotels

Tech

The emergence and prevalence of COVID-19 pandemic have left economies around the world shaken and in bits in more ways than one. Although it has been a situation that could not have been anticipated, it has undoubtedly acted as a wakeup call to sectors, economies and individuals around the world. After a brief lockdown, it is now time to open up and join the world and start a ‘New Normal’ life that is built on the learnings brought by the pandemic.

It is important to follow new protocols of social distancing and to implement better health policies than what was present earlier. As much as these may be tracked manually, implementing technology into this equation will only help serve your guests better. For a while, after the lockdown is lifted, guests may be a little apprehensive to crowds and thus, expect higher standards of hygiene. They would greatly appreciate if hotels follow social distancing and minimize the need for person-to-person contact.

Ideally, the hospitality industry thrives on serving customers in a face-to-face manner. This may now have to be replaced with self-service technology as below:

Contactless payment modes
WHO is encouraging sectors to move to contactless payments as a method to combat COVID-19. This is because the spread of the virus via unsanitized paper notes or card payments is relatively high. Both these modes undergo exchanging hands and therefore coming into contact with the virus through these modes is easy. Hotels, can, therefore, switch to contactless payment methods of digital wallets such as GooglePay, PayPal, etc. or the “tap and go” payment platforms. This curbs the need to come in touch with physical contact and thus lessens the spread of the virus.

Check-in/Check-Out facilities
Traditional methods of check-in/check-out include customers having to join a long line of customers at the front-desk resulting in them having to make conversations with each other and later the exchange of identification details at the desk. All of this puts both the staff of the hotel and the customer at risk of spreading and contracting of germs. Switching to mobile-based self-service technology breaks this link. A guest can make use of a mobile-based technology or a self-service kiosk placed at various stations to check themselves in or out. With a kiosk that is AI-enabled for facial recognition and ID scanning, the guest need not touch the screen at all.

Keyless Room Entry
Since guests can make contactless check-ins through the kiosks or their phones, this can also help them enter their rooms without the need for a room key. Fuel is one such provider of guest-facing hotel software solutions for the global hospitality industry that allows your guests to access their rooms using their mobile phone as a digital key. This application is also designed in such a way that it eliminates the need for guests to stop at the check-in counter and directly move into their rooms since it helps them check in remotely.

Digital menus
Guests that move in the hotel may have to visit the restaurant for meals. As a place that has the potential to bring in crowds, hotels need to look out for alternatives to the same. The best solution for this would be to implement applications such as MyMenusOnline. This is a form of a new touchless digital restaurant system. All a guest has to do is scan their tableside QR code to view the restaurant’s menus online on their mobile device. In case of upgrades concerning food in the restaurant or addition such as ‘daily specials’ will be updated automatically in this menu keeping the customers abreast with the updates in real-time This is a better alternative to making use of disposable menus that will only increase the operating costs of the hotels.

Housekeeping Software
The most significant change that hotels need to implement is a heightened need to keep their rooms and other areas impeccably clean and germ-free at all times. Therefore, having a hotel management system that can take care of these operations is the utmost need of the hour. Many countries are now upgrading their hygiene standards for their hotel rooms. Singapore has implemented an SG clean standard for its hotel rooms that make it compulsory for housekeeping to be more stringent when it comes to practices such as temperature screening of employees and policies for dealing with outside suppliers. Having a mobile PMS ensures quicker efficiency since it can be run through a tablet. On the other hand, a cloud-based PMS enhances housekeeping management checklists, to ensure that the hotel is in sync with the latest COVID-19 guidelines.

Conclusion
COVID-19 has wholly turned the hospitality industry and a “new normal” awaits once the pandemic subsides and people begin joining the world. Incorporating self-service tech that assists a guest to move through the hotel without human contact will help a hotel stand out. Hotels that invest in self-service technology will be in a better position to thrive in the ‘New Normal’ world that is more conscious of health, hygiene, and social distancing. All of this while increasing the convenience of their guests and personalizing their stay at the hotel.

Tips on combating the impact of COVID 19 on the hospitality sector

Covid19

When considering the worst-case scenarios or fluctuations that can occur in business, a pandemic such as the magnitude of COVID-19 was one that no one could have foreseen. Considering nobody was prepared for it, sectors have taken a harsh brunt for the same. Nevertheless, like a domino effect, it slowly took over the world incapacitating most economies. After almost a quarter that went into partial or complete lockdown around the world, it is now that countries are slowly taking steps to lift the lockdown.

The most affected sector in this pandemic is perhaps the tourism and hospitality sector for it thrives on people, those that were forced to remain locked inside their homes. However, now that countries around the world are opening up to in-state and international travel, there is some hope for a revival to take place.

But, will the fear developed in people towards moving out of their homes and traveling or staying at a hotel be resolved? If yes, how? Let’s find out.

Remote Working

As employers of a hotel-based business, it is crucial to understand that remote working is one of the norms that need to be taken into serious consideration currently. This may not be a permanent change to make but surely for a while after the lockdown is lifted, it would be best to adopt and adapt to this form of working. However, this does not mean that your business must suffer since technology has become quite advanced now. With cloud-based hotel management software and workflow management systems, it is easy to control all operations at any time from anywhere. This can be of mighty help when engaging with the guests without personal contact, starting from check-in to meal and service orders.

Re-hiring

With the pandemic affecting the hospitality sector the worst, many workers in the industry have lost their jobs. A report by AHLA states that approximately 8 million people lost their jobs in the hospitality sector due to the pandemic. However, now that the sectors are opening up hotels would be in need of manpower more than before. This is a good time to rehire staff, and you can be sure to have scored on efficiency since most people are in need of jobs resulting in them working better than before.

Revise and implement health policies

With the lockdown being lifted in certain countries, governments all over have laid down regulations that the service industry and hospitality sector, in particular, must adhere to hereon. Since this virus is one that spreads on human contact, the hospitality sector is one that needs to implement stringent measures since they thrive on in-person interactions. Hotel businesses should thus implement, update or adopt set protocols such as frequent sanitization, masks and gloves at all times, to ensure the staff is not contributing to the spread of infection.

Reduction in prices

It is true that reducing the prices can further drill an already existing hole in the pockets of hotel businesses since the sector is already incurring more losses. But, so are the people visiting your hotels whose jobs are affected because of the pandemic. It is important to empathize and understand the situation of those visiting the hotel until the economy of the country stabilizes.

This is an opportune time to take care of your guests and make them feel safe and welcome. These efforts can lead to lifelong customer loyalty which has a ripple effect on your brand However, this may not be applicable to all areas where your hotels exist. Since this varies from market to market as in certain markets, the hotels seemed to perform well even at their earlier. Therefore, this is case insensitive and needs to be looked at individually.

Market to millennials

Millennials are the ones that will be the most eager to get back out in the world and explore things once this pandemic is over. Being the most enthusiastic ones, they would want to get out having been cooped up for far too long. So, this is the right time to plan for the future, keeping the millennials in mind. They appreciate a good transparent, trustworthy, and authentic brand. Since they are also the most tech-savvy and in tune with social media, you must build plans that include personalized messages, contact less check-in, deals and offers, round the clock availability etc.

Conclusion

It is true that COVID-19 has left a void in the hospitality and tourism industry that will be filled in due time. However, it is not the first time that the economy had to go through this. Previously, the hotel industry had to deal with different crises and viruses such as the SARS virus in 2003. But, it picked up pace one step at a time and made it back to what it was before the virus occurred. It is of utmost importance to understand that the pandemic is only temporary and will sooner or later fade away. Thus, businesses must plan for the future, as well as take steps to reduce long-term effects left behind by the virus to drive a faster recovery.