Hotels urged to embrace technology to survive amid coronavirus

by | 12 Jun 2020 | General News

Technology can help hotels adapt to a very different business landscape post-pandemic. (Photo: Daikin)

The latest edition of the Lodging Technology Study offers an insight into what hotels should prioritise in order to satisfy guests’ changing needs.

Reviewing the past can inspire better decisions in future. This is why Hospitality Technology and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas started the Lodging Technology Study, the first benchmark report of its kind, in 2011.

Over the past decade, an average of more than 20,000 US hotel professionals have been surveyed each year for this project. Now a new instalment has been published, which sheds light on areas that are set to become increasingly important for hotels in a future where coronavirus looms large.

Hotels should strive to meet guest expectations

For several years in a row during the first half of the decade, respondents identified ‘guests expecting greater technology than can be delivered’ as one of their top concerns. Perhaps this was caused in part by hotels’ low IT budgets, or because historically the hospitality industry was slow to adapt to change. Yet the problem may return with a vengeance in the wake of Covid19. As guests expect hotels to implement cutting-edge technology and services to keep them safe and comfortable, hotels might struggle to do this since there is limited cash available for such large investments.

However, for hotels to recover from the crisis, they need to woo guests with the promise of hygienic facilities and (in many cases) tech-driven services that reduce direct guest-to-staff interaction. Finding the balance and accommodating the demand for a new way of doing things will be an important challenge that hotels need to master.

Hotels should use analytics to satisfy guest needs

It goes without saying that hotels which can leverage guest data have an easier time catering to their needs and proactively addressing issues before they turn into major problems. This can include areas such as booking behaviour, and offering curated deals based on segmentation or past purchases, as well as planning F&B and housekeeping operations around the number of hotel bookings.

Adoption of such predictive analytics has risen sharply in the past few years and will only continue to grow as hotels must become more efficient with smaller teams and implement more elaborate hygiene procedures.

Hotels should adopt technology that future-proofs their business

Voice-enabled AI and AI-supported services have been growing in popularity in recent years, and repeatedly made it to the top of the study’s watchlist. However, while it used to be considered as something that was ‘nice to have’, especially at trendy, millennial-focused hotels, this technology is quickly gaining importance for post-Covid19 hospitality.

Some guests simply enjoy controlling lights or speakers by voice command, but it also adds an element of safety by reducing the use of high-touch surfaces like switches and remote controls. As hotels reopen and begin welcoming guests again, it will be important to adopt more such technologies to not only take the next step into the future but to do so safely.