2015 turned out to be a pretty good year for the hospitality industry, with revenue per available room growing 6.5% according to travel research company STR. 2016 is also predicted to be a good year with growth of 5.7%. With the start of 2016, consultants are buzzing about trends that can help your hotel take advantage of the growth task management tool. Here are a few to pay attention to:
- Technology >
The demand for technology should be at the top of your list this year in regards to what prospective guests are looking for. According to Jonathan Barsky, gogroupbooking.com, “As the millennials come of age and their incomes grow, they become ever more important to the hospitality sector.” Smart TVs and services enabled by smartphones are two technologies that you should consider read review.
TraknProtect take: Although technology in itself is nice to have, it should be used as a tool to tie in to the overall experience and provide value to your guests. Smart TVs can provide a better in-room experience for guests, while services enabled by smartphones make it easier for guests to access what you have to offer. Both can help drive loyalty to your brand. My smartphone is always just an arm length away, I’m sure that’s true for many of you.
- Optimize for Mobile Booking >
This is somewhat related to #1, but also deserves its own attention. According to Beth Harvey’s blog, “Mobile applications are the epitome of convenience for today’s travelers. The freedom to plan, purchase, or book right from your smartphone is now a necessity for consumers in the Y Generation”.
TraknProtect take: Optimizing for mobile booking is important to reach younger consumers. But remember that not everyone will have your app downloaded. So it is equally important to ensure that your website is also mobile optimized for booking. I always pay attention to user experience on mobile apps and websites. For example, try to minimize the number of steps it takes to find and book a room.
- Food & Beverage Changes >
According to Beth Harvey’s recent blog on Outlook for 2016, dining preferences are also changing. “To name a few, travelers are preferring bars over restaurants, ‘grab n go’ options over room service, and food sampling over large menus.” Hotel general managers can adapt their dining options to accommodate changes in guest behavior.
TraknProtect take: By providing additional options such as grab n go, hotels will not only benefit from more guests choosing to eat in their property vs a restaurant, but also gain loyalty in the long run. If guests know they have additional, convenient options within your hotel, they will be more likely to return.
- Digital Marketing >
Think about what direction your hotel is headed. Where do you want to be in the next few years? How are you going to entice guests to visit your hotel? How will you spread awareness of your brand? According to Beth Harvey from Spring Engage, “Social networks have become a sure way to reach more visitors, expand brand awareness, and build valuable connections in the digital world.”
TraknProtect take: It’s important to connect with your customers in the manner they prefer. That means you will have to not only be on social media, but also think about how that fits into your overall digital strategy. Does your website make it easy for guests to find information they need and book a room? And are you employing an email strategy to stay connected with your guests or get feedback on their last stay? Although social is important, don’t ignore the other digital channels.
- Investment and Operations >
Use 2016 to think about your hotel’s future. Take an analytical approach about your guest. According to Robert Rauch, HNN columnist, “Use analytics to help refine your target audience on any given campaign to greatly increase your returns.” Also, remember to ask guests and employees their opinions of how you can make their experiences better.
TraknProtect take: Once you have the right tools in place, analytics help you get insights into what is working and what is not. Here again, this should be part of a bigger plan that ties into your marketing efforts as well as your operational improvements. Data in itself is nice to have, but you have to dig deeper to understand what it means to your activities and how it can help provide better guest experiences and increase loyalty.
Your guests’ needs are ever changing. Consultants suggest you should invest in differentiating your hotel from others. The trends of 2016 can help you get motivated to increase efficiency and improve your customer service relationship. Let TraknProtect help your hotel enhance customer experience by providing real-time locations of customer requested items on hotel property.