New Technologies Will Redefine Hotel Sector in C19 Era

Big Data, Unpredictable Guest Needs and Digita-Savvy Staff at a Distance Are on the Way

United Kingdom, Glasgow, Scotland. May 13, 2020

Three leading hospitality industry technologists gave crisis recovery advice to hospitality industry leaders in the fourth I Meet Hotel industry webinar, 6 May, organised by Bidroom. The three said that the ‘old' 2020 is gone. Hotels need to embrace big data, not be overwhelmed by it, and understanding new requirements of guests in the aftermath of C19 will be key to survival.

They said that a "wrecking ball" had been taken to the hospitality industry. However, the biggest threat was not C19 turbulence -- but applying yesterday's logic to a C19 and post-C19 world.

Kris Glabinski, Chief Business Development Officer at Lybra, Ryan Haynes, Director & Lead Consultant at Haynes MarComs, and Ali Beklen, Founder & Managing Partner at HotelRunner, told moderator, Bidroom Director of Business Development, Caroline Dal'lin, and a webinar audience of 190 hospitality professionals, that the hospitality landscape was now defined by four new realities, namely:

The Tension Between Big Data and Unreliable Data

"We are overwhelmed by data. We need conclusions instead," said Glabinski. Revenue managers used to spend 75% of their time analysing data, 25% acting upon it. Now they have no long-term reliable data to work with. Even when people switch on TV, information is inconsistent between countries, for example on the use of masks and the implementation of social distancing. Artificial intelligence and algorithms can only take us so far because the rules-based world built on precedent is over. There is no new data to draw on.

New and Unpredictable Guest Needs

There is also a new conflict between emotion and logic. What guests say they will do and what they will do is untested. Beklen reported a survey saying 35% of respondents won't book an international holiday even next year. Other respondents said they might, but it would depend on a range of factors such as availability of free cancellations, money-back guarantees, special price deals, and personal health and safety assurances. Beklin said there was initial evidence guests would want bigger, more spacious rooms such as suites and executive rooms. However, they said they wouldn't pay more. But they would stay longer.

New and Costly Operational Realities

However, when guests check out, hoteliers may have to budget for the cost of room sterilisation. It may be days before the room can be used by the next guest. Even when government lockdowns are lifted and hotel operations are ready, customers may self-impose their own lockdown. They may simply refuse to go to busy restaurants or hotel lobbies. Hoteliers must not be shy to drop services where they are not getting enough, or any profit.

The Need to Empower Staff

Even before C19, Haynes said that the hospitality sector was undergoing rapid transformation due to an "always on" culture, cloud technologies, integrated systems, real-time communications, the rise of the subscription economy, 24/7 bookings, and even digital apps that were redefining concierge services. Millennials now want last-minute bookings via smartphone, mobile check-ins, digital room keys on their phone and more geo-location services in the hotel neighbourhood. "With reduced contact in hospitality, there will be an increased rise in digital," said Haynes. "We must give staff more autonomy. Allow them to focus on the creative and strategic elements of hospitality."

Dal'lin (right) said that whatever the new digital skills required of young entrants into the hotel sector, it is imperative that they place a commitment to hospitality at the centre of their mindset.

"Technology and digital priorities come and go, but a commitment to hospitality links it all together," she said.

To sign up or find out more about upcoming I Meet Hotel webinars click here. Or email kristian@imeethotel.com.

Additional information: https://www.imeethotel.com.

To help hoteliers during the crisis, Bidroom has waived all hotel membership fees for 2020.


Ryan Haynes, Ali Beklen and Kris Glabinski
/ SLIDES
Tags: IMeetHotel, Recovery, Crisis, Bidroom, Technology

About I Meet Hotel

About Bidroom

Media Contacts:

Ann Sriwongsa
PR Representative
ScottAsia Communications
T: 091-806-0484
E: ann@scottasia.net
W: http://www.scottasia.net
K Kristian Lupinski
PR & Event Manager
I Meet Hotel
T: 318-588-86190
E: kristian@imeethotel.com
W: http://www.imeethotel.com

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Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.