Fundamentally it has been a completely different year from any other – many referring to a “new normal” – bringing a plethora of contrasts to the industry when comparing hospitality to pre-covid times. This urges the need to review what trends have come and go, and put any concerns into perspective.
Of course, Covid-19 has scrambled things up causing ripples in the hospitality pond, just as we have seen with previous crises. Regardless of the negative effects that came into being, there are always new opportunities that arise as a result. In this article we will be covering everything from shifts in consumer behaviour and expectations to hotel concept trends, bringing you up to speed on the latest hotel developments and hospitality trends.
From stuffy – uninspiring hotel concepts and operating procedures to ancient hotel systems, there was always a need of improvement rather than seeing consistent high quality of services and products being offered across the board.
Then Covid-19 came – and now that time is over…
People’s needs and wants have been fundamentally shifted, creating the need for the hotel industry to shape towards the traits of the “new normal”.
Which hotel trends should we be looking out for, and what are the best ways to navigate the myriad of developments in the market. Let’s break it down…
“Going above and beyond” is the typical phrase used in hotels in order to provide excellent service. But how does this translate into practical terms when it comes to health and safety measures? How can we meet expectations and deliver unmatched customer experience during these challenging times during Covid19.
Implement well developed protocols making your guest feel safe and not preoccupied with thinking of their health. Steps that you can take directly include:
Be there every step of the way, outlining every step of the customer journey from when the booking is made until they arrive home safely again. For example:
Understand that any doubts on your safety standards could mean the difference between a cancellation or successful hotel stay, at any point after the booking has been confirmed.
Creating an elevated experience of security throughout the hotel. Go for a small scale approach in your pursuit to make guests feel secure. Build a personal connection to become part of the customer journey, introducing possibilities to make a positive impact on the customer journey without being too intrusive.
Make information clearly visible.Efforts shown by the hotel should be brought to light. The last thing you want is guests having to look for information when everything is right at hand. Do not let your efforts go to waste – make it available wherever you think guests might need it! Our tips include:Prevent any doubts by providing as much information as possible before arrivalUtilize QR codes pointing to your protocolsAsk during the check-in if guest are interested in additional information per email (read more on guest email collection opportunities)
What fits your property type/service level. Make sure sufficient value is created in the eyes of the guest within your price range/hotel positioning. For instance, ask yourself – does a hotel qualify as “luxury” if one cannot ensure health and safety measures are equally matched to the same level of service and product expected from a property of higher caliber.
Attention to detail makes the above efforts even better. Your efforts will be fruitful when you go beyond only covering the basics, and go the extra mile for guests.
Clearly, people are prioritizing their health during this pandemic, and will likely continue to do so for quite some time. Recent articles such as from the New York Times claiming the most important word in the hospitality industry right now is “clean.”, and a survey by Oliver Wyman that found that improved health and cleaning is a primary factor impacting the decision to stay at a specific hotel.
The meaning and association with the word clean has been turned around. To make sure what was once taken for granted (a “clean” room), it is needed to step up your game in order to live up to the customer´s completely new different definition of cleanliness (a “virus-free” room).
TechnologyKiller lamps a.k.a. disinfectant lights using UV-light to sanitize surfaces (portable light modules, robots etc.)
Communication – how to get the (right) information acrossChat services, whether automatic (chatbots) or not (instant messaging with staff such as Whatsapp) allow for more swift and accurate ways to communicate information to guestHotel app, all protocols and initiatives should be listed. Referring to the app´s readily available information primes guests to make use of the app before reaching for an alternative such as calling to the reception.
Marketing message, make sure to include the initiatives in your marketing message.
Nothing is worse than putting in the efforts and money without the guest having the knowledge of what was actually done. Following the above examples and making sure the message is clearly visible throughout the guest journey will maximize potential results.