The future state of travel, with all of its unknowns, entails an unpaved path forward for the hospitality industry. This uncertainty also presents the opportunity for us to look holistically at our hotel business. This year we had to re-evaluate our existing processes and resources, shift our strategies and viewpoints, and rethink our business objectives and needs. Almost overnight, we were thrust into the unfamiliar and uncharted. The dire situation of the world economy demanded that we act swiftly and explore new approaches.
Guest behaviors, needs, and preferences are also rapidly changing alongside our business needs and objectives, and they will continue to transform with the dictates of the global crisis. These external upheavals call for a business strategy overhaul. Digital technologies and strategies hold the answers and solutions to many of our current and post-COVID challenges.
Act smart. Minimize loss. Maximize revenue and efficiencies. Be flexible to adapt to unstable times. Digital transformation provides the framework and foundation that will allow our businesses to be agile, nimble, sustainable, and scalable.
Digital technology is here to stay; indeed, we will need it more than ever to survive and to thrive. Here are important digital strategies, tactics, and technology solutions for you to consider for your hotel(s):
1. Utilize automation technology
2. Ensure guests have options for mobile check-in and check-out
3. Allow for keyless entry
4. Implement a touchless communication platform with staff and guests
5. Provide location-based services
1. Provide contactless payments and digital wallet options
2. Set up touchless in-room smart solutions
3. Personalize hotel stay based on profile data, machine learning, and AI
4. Create virtual and augmented realities
5. Optimize for an advanced mobile guest experience
MARKETING & BRANDING
1. Elevate your brand with immersive 3D photography and videography technology
2. Continue with long-term campaigns to boost brand awareness and visibility and to stay top-of-mind
3. Create strategic partnerships to broaden reach and heighten brand halo
4. Roll-out a strategic content strategy in which every piece of content drives a specific goal/call-to-action
5. Deploy an omnichannel strategy to remain present and stay top-of-mind for your guests
ECOMMERCE & DISTRIBUTION
1. Emphasize flexibility by waiving cancellation fees and offering easy re-booking
2. Expand hotel booking offerings – e.g., work-and-live, staycation, out-of-town relative/friend stays
3. Use Google’s AI and Smart Bidding technology for Pay-per-Click Advertising – pulling back these efforts will have negative impacts long term; be more strategic and targeted for better returns
4. Reduce spend on prospecting marketing and display campaigns but continue with brand protection and remarketing
5. Execute website and ecommerce personalization with AI and machine learning
SALES – CORPORATE, GROUP, MEETINGS, AGENCIES
1. Create email marketing and content strategies for each individual client segment
2. Set up virtual tours or 3D floorplans
3. Enable enhanced technology solutions in meeting spaces
4. Automate the RFP process
5. Integrate a B2B strategy into your digital presence
DATA & BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE
1. Implement a 2-way PMS-CRM interface
2. Utilize an enterprise business intelligence platform
3. Review your guest data capture protocol and process
4. Leverage advanced data analytics with automated and visual reporting
5. Employ a cybersecurity solution
If you are currently running a lean team with minimal resources, or do not have a team of digital and tech stack professionals, bring in the experts. This approach will ensure that you have the necessary knowledge, experience, expertise, and service support to plan thoughtfully, strategize wisely, and execute rapidly. This interim external team will specifically dedicate the time and resources critical to your hotel and project completion.
The natural reaction is to think of immediate cost savings, by either adding new digital responsibilities onto existing teams, or not doing anything at all. While this may produce a small savings in the short term, it will have a substantial negative impact in the longer term. Our hotels around the world have been bleeding financially since the pandemic started. To fully recover, we need to reduce the ongoing losses by applying the necessary resources, tactics, and solutions. While we make smart investments for reducing loss, our efforts will also drive revenue recovery, opportunity maximization, and business optimization.
About the author
Bridget Tran, Founder and Interim CDO/CMO, The Transformation Groupe
The Transformation Groupe is an agency that specializes in Digital Transformation, including Integrated Marketing and ECommerce. We help ambitious hotels and organizations solve business challenges and capture opportunities that enable sustainable growth and healthy efficiency. We do this not only by designing business strategies but also putting them to work. We focus on Digital & Guest Strategies; Synergetic IT, Digital & Omnichannel Marketing Planning & Execution; New Guest Service Development; Efficiency Operational Strategy; Spend Optimization; Revenue Maximization & Recovery; Data Analysis & Reporting; Systems Implementation; Data Strategy & Integration; Guest & Business Intelligence; Shared Services; Martech & Tech Stack. We are built on a culture of turning ideas into profitable business realities.