For hoteliers of this generation, technology comes easy and they know how important it is to use the latest and new technologies to stay in the game and keep business flowing. Technology has been a huge milestone in the development of ways to make daily living easier for man. Many industries have owned this paradigm shifting aspect of technological implementation and this has led to a lot of success stories in the respective sectors it has been implanted in. The hotel industry has been no different with many advancements having been put in place to assist with the daily running of hotels by use of hotel management software for the managerial staff. For small hotels, there are a number of the many ways in which technology could help boost their businesses to new and higher levels without using up a lot of capital. Generally, hoteliers are first to adopt any guest-facing technology but surprisingly, when it comes to their own back of the house operations, they still run with old systems which are capital heavy and redundant technologies. In a nutshell, incorporation of technology is the only way to forge forward and keep up with current markets.
Some of the ways in which new and modern cloud-based technology could assure the stakeholders in small hotels of brighter futures have been highlighted in this article.
1. Use of Mobile Bookings
Mobile bookings at this time and age are rapidly gaining immense popularity and as a result, a 25% increment in online bookings has been realized in the course of this year. The most interesting piece of information is the percentage of travelers for leisure purposes who are at 40% and that of business travelers is 36%. The percentage used is specific for the travelers that normally opt to use mobile phones in the booking of their accommodations in hotels on an overnight basis. With this data, it's nothing but prudent for small hotels to take advantage of the loophole of travelers. Given the remarkable rise of smartphone-dependent millennial travelers, a venture into the hotel reservation software via mobile booking services would do good for the growth of small hotels. Other than just booking, the mobile booking systems are essential in giving guests hotel information, pricing, packages, special promotions and special rates that may be only available on the hotel website.
2. Door Opening Technology
This is a type of technology that would enable small hotels to level the playing field with the bigger and fancier hotels in terms of security and customer satisfaction. The use of door opening technology comes in handy by providing a means for guests to be the only ones having an access to their hotel doors through the use of mobile phones. After booking a room, the guests then get a code sent to an app on their mobile phones and by so doing, they are handed control over the door to their room. This technology will better the confidence of guests in the hotel management especially in their oversight of the hotel security system. In addition to that, the guest experience will skyrocket and even enhance customer loyalty considering that they will not have to make long queues at the reception when booking and receiving their room details. Also, the old key card technology is now redundant and many times guests have to keep re-coding the keys as the information on them gets wiped out if kept close to mobile phones.
3. Wi-Fi Infrastructure OverhaulsNowadays, most people who come as guests in hotels have the tendency of tagging along with devices such as laptops and tablets. With these gadgets at hand, it has become almost a necessity for Wi-Fi services to be installed in the hotels that they seek accommodation in. This is one of the areas that small hotels could shunt their attention to and will lead to their customer in-flow uninterrupted. In order to stand out and possess the edge over most of the other hotels, the Wi-Fi speeds and connection reliability need to be off the charts. It thus calls for the small hotels to think big and set the ball rolling for the acquisition of wireless connections that cover the entire hotel and install the necessary Wi-Fi equipment to make sure there is a good signal of the network in every corner of their premises. Hotels must offer Wi-Fi and ensure they have enough bandwidth as the internet today, especially social media, is driven more by videos and images and guests usually end up on social media post office hours.
4. Cloud ServicesIn order for hotels to have the ability to keep up with the trends in hotel management and dissipation of services, there is a coherent need of taking up cloud-based services. It is unwise for small hotels to have the need of improving their managerial systems and incur the additional costs of buying infrastructure for IT, coupled with the ideal personnel for handling the IT equipment. Instead, the best way is to invest in lower-capital-consuming-ventures that serve the same purpose and in a far much better manner.
The cloud hotel property management systems have countless advantages that small hotels could take advantage of especially when it comes to the room that cloud-based systems give for expansion and upgrading without more costs for overhauling the current systems. Cloud is the latest technology and good systems now offer many options that help hoteliers engage more with their guests and get better insights into their business, cloud solutions help smaller hotels compete with larger properties by making use of advanced systems, distribution, statistics and forecasts that up to now were only available to bigger hotels as they were capital heavy and cloud has leveled the playing field as smaller properties too can subscribe to these advanced systems at a fraction of the cost.
Above are four of the best methods in which technological advancement could bring a new chapter in the books of small hotels in the market today. The types of technological implementation that have been talked about may have different characteristics that make them unique, but any of them, when used in a small hotel, are good enough to deliver outstanding results.
Kucukusta, D., Heung, V. C., & Hui, S. (2014). Deploying self-service technology in luxury hotel brands: Perceptions of business travelers. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 31 (1), 55-70.