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How to Improve Your Hotel Business Using Technology?

December 12, 2023
Nathan Baws

In today's highly competitive hospitality landscape, leveraging technology strategically is no longer optional - it's imperative for operational efficiency, guest satisfaction, and driving profitability. From AI to automation, the innovations transforming hotels are manifold.

This article provides practical insights into technologies that can help hotels of all sizes streamline processes, deliver exceptional guest experiences, and gain a competitive edge. Let's explore critical opportunities!

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

- Automate repetitive manual processes to reduce costs

- Offer mobile apps, kiosks, and chatbots for self-service experiences

- Install smart room features like automated lighting, keyless entry, voice assistants

- Optimise pricing and revenue strategies using analytics

- Strengthen your website into a high-converting booking channel

- Reward and train staff on using implemented technology

- Prioritise solutions that integrate with your core PMS

- Focus on ease of use and seamlessness for guests

- Partner with expert vendors aligned to your hotel's needs

Streamlining Operations Through Automation Technology

Some of the most significant potential for technology is in streamlining repetitive, manual processes that drain staff time and productivity.

Automate Repetitive Tasks

Look for redundant administrative or operational tasks that can be fully or semi-automated. Examples include:

- Using chatbots to handle common guest requests and queries

- Enabling mobile check-in so guests don't wait in line

- Allowing online bookings versus manual entries into the PMS

- Using channel managers to update rates and availability across OTAs automatically

- Digitising forms like guest registration cards to remove paperwork

Target processes involving data entry, customer service, communications, and bookings for maximum impact.

Install Automated Inventory Management Technology

Monitoring and managing inventory has traditionally required extensive manual oversight. New systems allow for automated tracking and forecasting of inventory needs:

- RFID tags on hotel items like linens, robes, and equipment enable real-time tracking of stocks and usage without manual counting.

- Smart appliances in kitchens and bars track real-time usage of ingredients and supplies. The data feeds into inventory software.

- Predictive analytics software analyses consumption data to forecast and optimise future reorder quantities. This minimises waste.

Leverage Building Management Systems

A building management system (BMS) network controls your lighting, temperature, signage, and other infrastructure. New solutions allow for remote monitoring, automation, and optimisation of energy use based on occupancy. This reduces waste and overhead costs significantly.

Choose Automation-Focused PMS

Evaluate property management systems (PMS) that can automate primary functions like dynamic pricing, housekeeping assignments, inventory management, etc. Advanced algorithms save massive person-hours.

Enhancing Guest Experiences with Technology

While automation streamlines operations behind the scenes, other technologies directly enhance guest experiences.

Offer Frictionless Digital Checks

Allow guests to fully self-service their arrival and departure using:

- Mobile apps for remote, automated check-in/out

- Kiosks in the lobby for quick, contactless self-check-in/out

Empower guests to skip the front-desk lines and access their room immediately upon arrival for superior convenience.

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Provide In-Room Smart Features

Integrating intelligent features within guest rooms creates a more personalised, high-tech experience:

- Smart thermostats offering app or voice control of in-room temperature

- Keyless entry via mobile phones for ultimate convenience

- Smart lighting  through integrated automation and control systems

- Voice assistants for controlling room features, requesting hotel services, and getting information

Install Digital Signage

Digital displays can enhance guest communication and navigation:

- Wayfinding signage with interactive maps helps guests navigate your property

- Announcement/Messaging screens replace print notices and allow real-time updates

- Digital menu boards enable easy updates of restaurant/bar offerings

Offer Chatbots

AI-powered chatbots provide guests with instant, 24/7 support via your website, apps, and in-room tablets. Key benefits:

- Address common requests and queries instantly, anytime

- Available in multiple languages

- Integrate with other hotel systems to handle complex requests

- Reduce call volumes to human staff

Driving More Direct Bookings  

Your website is the ideal channel for building direct guest relationships. Optimise it to convert lookers into bookers.

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Enable Seamless Online Reservations

Identify pain points in your online booking process. Allow guests to easily select rooms, packages, add-ons, and complete reservations in just a few clicks.

Showcase Your Unique Selling Points

Too many hotel websites look generic. Feature your unique highlights like local experiences, amenities, and guest stories - not just rooms and rates. Differentiate your property.

Highlight Direct Booking Perks

Offer exclusive member rates, packages, perks, and upgrades when booking directly vs. OTAs. This incentivises direct relationships. Promote these differentiators prominently.

Optimise for SEO

Work with SEO experts to optimise page titles, meta descriptions, content, alt tags, site speed, and technical elements that increase your search visibility and conversions.

Choosing the Right Partners

The technology ecosystem can be overwhelming. Here are vital considerations for vetting vendors:

Look for System Integrations

Avoid standalone products that don't integrate with your core PMS, CRM, and other platforms. Data and capabilities should flow between systems.

Understand Implementation Factors

Evaluate vendor experience, customisation needs, integration requirements, and service capabilities. This impacts budgets and timelines.

Focus on Ease of Use

Complex systems frustrate guests and staff. Well-designed interfaces, intuitive navigation, and responsive support are musts. Demand frictionless experiences.

Review Security and Compliance

Don't compromise on data security. Ensure vendor solutions are PCI, GDPR, and privacy regulation compliant to protect sensitive guest data.

Training and Incentivizing Staff

Getting employees on board is crucial for technology success.

Offer Regular Training Sessions

Conduct mandatory training workshops so staff across departments fully utilise implemented technologies to drive value.

Incentivize Technology Certifications

Offer rewards and bonuses for employees who undergo certifications and develop expertise in critical systems like your PMS, distribution channels, analytics, etc.

Solicit Feedback

Get input from staff on potential upgrades or new tools needed to overcome pain points. They interact with systems daily.

Encourage Innovation

Urge staff at all levels to ideate new ways to use technology to improve guest and employee experiences. Crowdsource ideas.

Creating a Long-Term Technology Strategy

Rather than ad hoc solutions, develop a multi-year technology strategy aligned to your hotel's objectives.

Define Your Digital Transformation Vision

Craft a forward-looking vision for how technology will transform your hotel over the next 3-5 years. Set ambitious goals.

Assess Current Technology Maturity

Conduct an audit identifying current technology gaps, pain points, and required upgrades across departments. Know where you stand. 

Prioritise Critical Projects

With limited budgets, rank technology projects by financial and operational impact. Focus first on automation, analytics, and guest-facing solutions.

Build a Technology Roadmap

Create a phased, realistic plan for technology implementations across 3-5 years based on priorities. Assign budgets, teams, and timelines.

Keep Room for Flexibility

In dynamic times, remain open to modifying timelines to take advantage of emerging innovations or address new challenges.

Conclusion

The examples only scratch the surface of how hotels can tap into technology to innovate experiences, gain efficiencies, and drive revenue. Small steps add up. Assess your needs, develop a roadmap, and start implementing solutions that remove pain points. With the right technology strategy, your property can deliver digitally-powered hospitality for years to come.

To discuss how Emersion Wellness can help you identify and implement revenue-generating technologies tailored to your hotel's needs, please get in touch with us. Our team brings decades of hospitality experience to guide your technology transformations successfully. Let's achieve your revenue goals together.

FAQs

Q1. What are some key technologies hotels should implement to improve operations?

A1. Important operational technologies include automation, AI chatbots, mobile apps, kiosks, inventory management, building management systems, and advanced PMS platforms. These optimise workflows.

Q2. How can hotels use technology to deliver better guest experiences?

A2. Enabling frictionless digital check-in/out, installing smart room features, digital signage, and AI chatbots allows hotels to create personalised, high-tech, and convenient experiences for guests.

Q3. What should hotels do to drive more direct bookings?

A3. Optimising their website for seamless booking, showcasing unique highlights, and offering exclusive direct booking perks and packages incentivises guests to book directly versus via OTAs.

Q4. What are important considerations when selecting hotel technology vendors?

A4. Hotels should evaluate integration capabilities, implementation services, ease of use, security standards, and compliance factors when vetting hotel technology partners.

Q5. How can hotels get employees engaged with new technology?

A5. Regular training, certifications, soliciting feedback, and encouraging innovation ensure staff utilise implemented solutions that enhance guest experiences.

Q6. Why should hotels take a strategic approach to technology implementations?

A6. Defining a multi-year technology roadmap based on priorities improves results versus a fragmented, ad hoc approach. It aligns solutions with business goals.

Q7. How does inventory management technology help hotels?

A7. Automated tracking via RFID and usage monitoring reduces manual counts. Analytics also optimise reorders and minimise waste to improve profit margins.

Q8. What types of tasks can hotel chatbots automate?

A8. Chatbots excel at addressing common guest queries, requests, and recommendations 24/7 in multiple languages to reduce call volumes handled by human staff.

Q9. How do building management systems reduce costs?

A9. BMS allows remote optimisation of lighting, HVAC, and signage based on occupancy needs. This significantly improves energy efficiency and reduces utility bills.

Q10. What technology innovations are coming to hotel rooms?

A10. Voice assistants, keyless entry via mobile phones, entertainment casting capabilities, smart lighting, and temperature controls are some current and emerging in-room innovations.

Contact us for more details.

Also Read: 25 Essential Practices to Craft a Constructive Hotel Marketing Strategy That Increases Bookings

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