This Press Release Was Published on Economic Times 30-Dec-2021
Since the Covid pandemic outbreak two years ago, the hotel and travel industries have been through some difficult times. As the tourism sector began to recover from the pandemic’s grasp, the latest Omicron variant struck, making the future prospects as grim as possible. Thus, businesses in the industry are coming up with new and unique ways to attract travellers and tourists from all over the world in order to stem the losses.
In the new normal, businesses are making guest health and safety a top concern, implementing simple and no-questions-asked refund and cancellation policies to make it easier for guests to plan ahead.
Here are some future trends in the hospitality and travel industries that experts are heavily betting on:
Contactless hospitality services
In the aftermath of the epidemic, guests’ top priorities are sanitation, safety, and contactless services in most locations.
As a response, the players in this industry are embracing technology at a rapid speed in order to keep up with the industry’s changing expectations. Everything is now done online, with little to no interaction with personnel, from check-in to check-out, upsells and cross-sells, menu to in-stay service.
In addition, many hotels are now employing QR codes that customers can scan with their mobile devices without having to engage with hotel workers physically and access a digital concierge that offers guests a totally contactless experience.
The boom in staycation and workation
One of the significant changes brought about by the pandemic is the way we work. With the rise of the hybrid working model, people are experimenting with their work settings by traveling to new locations and working from there to alleviate boredom. Such trends are fueling the growing demand for workation, which allows them to work from anywhere and with all of the necessary tools.
In addition, families are looking for short-term destination travel and weekend getaways to domestic locations in order to avoid the threat of pandemic from crowded locations. Therefore, the changing dynamics of the travel and hospitality industries are providing an entirely new perspective for hotels on how to provide a delightful guest experience in the new normal.
Basic functions such as booking a hotel room are now just a few taps away thanks to technological advancements. Similarly, hotels are turning to CRM solution providers who can help them offer an automated hyper personalized guest communication more effectively via platforms such as WhatsApp, email, and so on. Omni communication has proven to increase the guest engagement by 97%.
Emphasis on Digital Channels
The increased emphasis on the usage of digital channels to establish a distinct online presence is extremely beneficial to the business, as the epidemic has driven customers to use digital booking mediums after carefully reading online reviews, which eventually influence their booking decision.
In addition to online reputation management, these digital channels can help hotels analyse and examine a new issue that has arisen recently. Hotels are proactively sharing new update about regulation/policy changes in terms of cleanliness, social -distancing and safety with their prospective guests or travellers to ensure guests feel safe and ensure there is a smooth information flow, by updating their website and other online listings.
Increased attention on F&B
The epidemic has also provided opportunities for hoteliers to generate revenue from a variety of sources. Some of them had begun to provide food delivery services. Other hotels became more creative and offered chef at home service. Additionally, hotels with segmented customer databases in their CRM were able to promote their services to local guests based on their individual interests.
With the increased demand for health, cleanliness, and safety issues, the Covid epidemic has raised some severe challenges for the hospitality and travel industries. Guests are also more concerned about their health and the environment. Hence, firms should consider taking a waste-reduction and environmental-conscious approach. As an outcome, these behaviors will go a long way toward reducing recurring costs and boosting the overall management and operations of the hotel industry.
Finally, the current dynamics in the industry are undergoing significant changes, which can only be met by technological adoption. The CRM functionalities of contactless guest facing technologies can be extremely useful in dealing with changing consumer expectations, and they can give long-term benefits.
Furthermore, in the post-COVID environment, hotels should focus on innovative solutions that will set them apart from industry incumbents by providing an exceptional guest experience. Additionally, aggressively boosting awareness of the use of existing digital and remote platforms among visitors and guests in order to encourage the adoption of these experiences.