As Hotel Brands Go Digital, Asset Management Must Not be Overlooked

By Paul Lachance President, Smartware Group Inc. | May 14, 2017

Hotel executives are starting to catch on to digital technology as they strive for better customer experiences across the board. With powerhouses like Hilton and Marriott (1) leading the charge, competitive hotel brands are raising the standard for guest experiences in the digital age.

A recent study by Hospitality Technology (2) found 57 percent of hotels plan to spend more on technology across the board in 2017 than they did in 2016. And while improving customer engagement and enhancing payment and data security stood out as the top priorities for many hospitality industry decision-makers, it appears far fewer are considering a critical investment: Enterprise Asset Management (EAM).

Cloud-based EAM technology empowers hotel staff to better understand the real-time maintenance needs of their business. With rising operating and property management costs, the hospitality industry must stay abreast of the latest in EAM technology.

Avoid Potential Catastrophes That Can Inconvenience Guests

There's a lot that goes into creating a positive, hospitable stay for guests, but even one complication can ruin the experience. Heating and cooling failures, electrical outages, alarm system errors and more are a pain to deal with in the first place, but can have major consequences when they occur while paying guests are present.

These unplanned catastrophes are not only expensive to address on their own, but can require reimbursement for unhappy guests and lost revenue from cancellations. Additionally, a bad experience (like a blaring alarm in the middle of the night or a power failure) can permanently scar a hotel's reputation, scaring patrons away from making future reservations and earning negative reviews online. Clearly, a simple problem that goes unaddressed can quickly become a hospitality nightmare for guests and employees alike.

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.