COVID-19 – Survival of the fittest in hospitality sector

Four months into 2020 and the world is battling against the ongoing pandemic – Coronavirus (COVID-19). While the world awaits to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the pandemic has brought the hospitality and travel sector to a standstill. With travel plans being dropped, hotels are perhaps the worst affected business since occupancies are trending towards zero and a lot of inventory is lined up to go unused as the peak season hits.

The hospitality businesses have to pull off all the stops to withstand and survive this disaster. Having said this, let’s look into some measures for the hotels to survive from COVID-19.

  1.       Debunk Myths and leverage the power of Real-Time Information

The current COVID-19 pandemic raised a lot of queries, myths and facts. We are bombarded with information all day, every day, as a result, often relying on intuitions to decide whether something is accurate. Big retail giant, Amazon stepped in when sales of items that guaranteed in treating or even curing COVID-19 started to appear on its site. Surprisingly, decision-makers are also facing challenges in accessing information while dealing with the crisis. It is very crucial to leverage the power of real-time accurate information for the best action to be taken.

Scientists have developed live, interactive maps for researchers, public health authorities as well as general public for tracking the reach of the pandemic in just a click away. The best sources to go to for reliable information are government health websites and WHO (World Health Organization) who is working extensively to analyse data, provide advice, help countries prepare for additional investigations, response and control actions. Bad information about the pandemic is everywhere, but being vigilant will help you to take preventive measures and spread facts not fear.

  1.       Implement Cost Control

With the economic slowdown being predicted stemming from the coronavirus concern, controlling your overhead costs is the wisest decision you can make to keep your hotel business secure and less impacted. With the decrease in reservations after the end of the lockdown, hoteliers should be mindful in planning out any short term cost reduction actions to ensure that these activities do not hurt business opportunities and brand value in the long run.

For instance, you can save your expenses by scheduling on-call shifts for hotel staff instead of having them work full-time. Accurate demand forecasting can be done to enhance hotel’s labour scheduling. Once the forecasting data is made accessible, managers can regulate the areas which are most affected by the number of guests staying in the hotel. The number of guests a hotel carries directly impacts the housekeeping needs. In such cases, you can outsource as much housekeeping staff is required.

  1.       Automation to the rescue

With the hotel industry right now facing an unprecedented challenge, hotels tend to hit the panic button whenever there’s a topic to invest in a technology. Well, technology can’t save you RIGHT NOW but investing in these advancements can help in cutting down your hotel’s costs and is the key to run an efficient and consistent business.

You can get your hands on an all in one hospitality technology which includes hotel software integrated with Self Check-In applications, Staff and Guest Devices which is AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered. This technology takes care of front desk activities, housekeeping activities, guest room automation and everything else which in turn reduces the need of dedicated labour behind several operations thus delivering utmost customer satisfaction and even saves time.

  1.       Work on Hygiene & Sanitization

Viruses don’t need visas. They can enter through anywhere. So during this pandemic and even after that, hotel’s first and foremost priority should be – Hygiene & Sanitization.

  •         Educate your staff about the preventive measures they should take on the hotel premises. Brief them about the guidelines provided by health authorities.
  •         Provide them with surgical masks, alcohol based sanitizer and gloves to wear. Make strict rules to always wear masks and use sanitizer frequently.
  •         If possible, try to install alcohol based sanitizers at your front desk, reception area, hotel lobby, meeting rooms, restaurants and cafes.
  •         High touch areas in public spaces include tables in the lobby area and buttons on elevators, water fountains and ice and vending machines. Pens at the front desk and room keys and key cards should also be cleaned with disinfectant.
  •         Linens may become contaminated with the virus. Bed scarfs and bed spreads should be washed more frequently with added disinfectant when washing laundry.
  •         Ensure to have at least two doctors on call when needed. Educate your staff about the basic symptoms of the virus.
  •         Keep yourself and staff informed with updated and credible information on the COVID-19 virus.

When taking all the above measures, keep your guests posted about the same. Highlight these measures being taken at your hotel in real-time on your website and social media platforms. So, your guests can know that their stay at your hotel in future is going to be safe and pleasant. 

  1.       Prepare for Post COVID-19 Recovery Strategy

Once the virus is contained and travel restrictions are lifted, domestic traffic is expected to pick up first, followed closely by international travel. As travel is on pause, hoteliers can utilize this situation as a chance to re-evaluate their business. They should stay connected with past and future guests through social media, email and editorial content which will entertain and add value to maintain a strong brand relationship. 

Amid the crisis, hotels tend to make the mistake of reducing their prices to induce more occupancy. Cutting rates won’t suddenly increase demand if consumers are stuck on a no-travel ban. Hotels lowering their prices in the face of a market slowdown can face significant challenges when the demand picks up. Instead, you can focus on bringing back those guests who have cancelled their reservations because of this outbreak by offering attractive packages or discounts. Rightly being said, there is no harm in doing something instead of doing nothing.

CONCLUSION

Pandemics are a serious wake up call for all industries and no one can dim the impact of the COVID-19 but a strategized roadmap can neutralize the impact on your business. You can use these strategies and a strong leadership to get through this tough phase. Always remember to “Keep Calm and Carry On”.

In a nutshell, PREPARE, Don’t Panic!

How In-Room Tablets will transform Front Desk?

With the launch of iPad, many experts looked at it as a device focused on consumer applications, not businesses. However, mobile technology has advanced into the core strategies of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Companies in almost all industries are now adopting and embracing mobile as they provide imaginative hotel management solutions. Businesses are finding productive and creative ways to use tablets, including streamline operations, as a way to provide executive with real-time access to vital business intelligence data, to connecting with their customer and relying critical guest service needs. In compared to legacy, inflexible hardware systems that are becoming irrelevant in today’s world, businesses are finding that the screen size and portability provides the right balance for common work-related tasks.

As seen in the recent survey, more than 1 billion people worldwide use tablets, representing nearly 15% of the global population and more than double the number three years ago. By 2018, the number of tablet users in the world will reach 1.43 billion.

Thus, hoteliers are beginning to use mobile technology to not just increase efficiency and profitability but also customer satisfaction and use it for multiple marketing purposes. Equipping front desk and management staff with tablet devices while interacting with customer can extensively improve customer service. Tablet devices allow hoteliers to create more personalized and modern touch to their check-in experience by providing staff with the flexibility to come out from behind the front desk. Therefore, aiding with socializing and interacting with the customers, further making arrival feel less like a transaction and more like a welcoming experience.

Tablets can also help to streamline data gathering processes like signing up for mailing lists, making reservations, ordering for hotel services and checking guests in and out locations. Staff can quickly and easily access and view necessary customer information at a glance, whether a guest is a new or returning client. By automating these processes, mobile and tablets eliminate customer frustration, helps to provide a more personalized experience while in the meantime allowing staff to divide their time between working at the front desk, moving around the lobby and meeting guests.

Additionally, tablets can also empower hoteliers to simplify their operations. With the help of a mobile HMS (Hotel Management Software), hoteliers can access reports and important information anytime anywhere and also manage rates as well as monitor hotel activity easily and quickly from any device. Incorporating tablets into departments such as housekeeping and maintenance can highly benefit from the device’s mobility. Housekeeping staff effortlessly take notes on room services in real-time and provide instant remote room updates; both reducing the need to manually alert maintenance or call the front desk regarding to room status and technical issues.

Equipping the hotel staff with tablets not just helps to streamline operations, increase productivity but also is less disruptive to guests, allowing staff to respond more quickly and the hotel to track requests & work orders electronically. Overall creating an experience which is fun and futuristic.

5 Top Rated Hospitality Tips to Achieve Customer Satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is something hotels are always trying to achieve. Nowadays, customers start their hotel searches online and spend time comparing prices and reading reviews. And if the customer turns to be a smartphone or a tablet user, researching on various choices increases which means hospitality impression begin long before the customer walks through the door. So how do hotels satisfy their customers and achieve retention?

  1. Great websites improves customer experience

Customer satisfaction is highly affected by digital online presence. With customers getting their first information about hotels online, most of successful hotels have striking websites that are also easy to get found.

Websites with clear directions (including maps), nearby places of interest, numerous photos, contact details and great reviews are attractive and get instant booking without any hassle and boosts customer satisfaction.

 

  1. Guest satisfaction increases when you understand your customers

Customer satisfaction is not just a warm welcome with a smile, it’s lot more than that. Knowing and understanding a customer is at the heart of it. A customer booking its stay at a beachside resort has different expectations than a customer staying in a convention hotel. When you figure out how to meet the needs of the customers and to deliver consistently and effectively on those needs, you are being able to create overwhelming customer loyalty and attain higher number of bookings.

 

  1. Address customer complaints quickly to improve customer satisfaction

The hospitality industry can be rigid with requests and complaints coming in online, by phone, email or in person at the front desk. One of the key responsibilities of any guest service manager or customer service provider is customer satisfaction measurement.

By addressing to the requests or issues quickly, a hotel will have fewer complaints in return. When customers need anything from hotel staff (from clean towels to extra pillows, and room service to assistance with carrying their bags), they expect quick and efficient service. Waiting for an hour or more for these small services can lead to a bad impression of slow and inefficient service. In few words, a quick turnaround to requests can have a big impact on the reviews left by customers at the end of the stay.

 

  1. Train your staff for improved customer service

For a hotel to run smoothly and flawless, a hotel must have a well trained staff with an emphasis on working together for the benefit of the customer and this turns out to increased customer satisfaction. The end goal of any hospitality industry should be centered on customer satisfaction.

It’s not possible that a well run hotel will never get bad review. A certain percentage of customers will complain no matter what. Use this opportunity to learn from what let down customers and structure your system accordingly to achieve customer satisfaction. Take an extra step to adopt hotel management software with solid hotel management strategies to help put all things in place. However, a staff having good knowledge in catering a positive customer satisfaction with a strong sense of knowing customer needs will create an environment that attracts people in and leaves them with a lasting good impression.

 

  1. Track, analyze and report on customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction is often linked to the level of customer communication. By creating a bond with the customers through communication, hotel management can see strong and weak points in customer service. Feedback can be gathered online in review section of websites combined with review cards in room and front desk logs. These tools, when used in a proper way, can be extremely helpful in staff meetings and staff training sessions.

 

There are number of customer satisfaction tracing companies and tools available. Some of the other tools include analysis of how customers’ book and what led these customers to opt for a particular hotel versus a similar one down the street. Gathering this type of information with hotel reservation service tools and using it properly can be a huge benefit in gaining new customers and repeat customers.

The hotel industry is growing yet competitive. Customers need exactly what they expect whether it’s a simple clean room or a luxurious room with many amenities. Having a well trained and hotel staff with customer recognition and customer satisfaction skills, the hotel will earn repeat customers as well as brand loyalty.

6 Reasons – Why Hotel Management Software is in demand?

Hotel Management is a huge industry and it’s constantly growing. According to research, the hospitality industry is going to witness progressive growth by 2020 with the advent of Digital opportunities for hotel bookings and others. With that, one of the biggest questions asked – is hotel management software recommended is debunked with a positive answer, YES, it is an absolute necessity in today’s digital world.

Hotel Management Software has become an essential tool for increasing the operational efficiency of hotels. And in most of the cases, it is necessary to keep up with the level of business. Here are six reasons hotel management software is in demand.

  • Booking rooms become easier

Hotel software is a real blessing to any hotel. It makes the process of booking rooms easier and much more convenient. Without hotel management software, there is no way to sync hotel room bookings when they are made online with those made in person or over the call. Through HMS software, guests can check availability of rooms online and also book online. Also, providing guest to select the rooms with features suiting according to their needs.

  • Avoid conflicting reservations & overbooking

Online Reservation software is a standout amongst the most searched after any other forms of software that allows guests to check availability of the online booking of their rooms. The information gets transferred to the hotel system so that no conflicting reservation can be made as all the reservations are automatically recorded immediately. A standard hotel booking system integrated with Channel Manager System will also help ease out the conflict of overbooking. Having a Channel Manager will help hotels preserve their reputation and image by giving their guests a seamless and reliable reservation process, in addition to helping maintain order and efficiency while preventing booking errors.

  • Simplify other operational works

Investing in Hotel Management Software can be a one-stop solution to simplify all the hotel operations efficiently and effectively. The software having in-built features to ease down several operational works such as the Point of Sale, Hotel Accounting, Channel Manager and Sales CRM can be very much beneficial as it gives a comprehensive solution to the hotel. Hotel Management Softwares such as Opera’s Oracle Hospitality Solutions, QiK Circle Re-Engineering Hospitality & Ezee FrontDesk is considered favorable for any hospitality enterprise.

  • Gives centralized control

Different hotel software modules are controlled by the hotel manager or administrator. This centralized control makes it easier to deal with diversified aspects of hotel management. Hospitality Management Software gives complete control over the property. This way all the activities going on in the hotel such as Front Desk, Housekeeping, Restaurant operations, etc can b modified and monitored in real-time.

  • Creates a strong database

One of the advantages of integrating a hotel software system in your hospitality firm is that it can create a strong database to manage entire hotel services. Database about guests, invoices, transactions and reservations can be easily stored in the hotel software without getting freeze. The software can be utilized to generate invoices, to monitor customer accounts and also the details of all the financial records which are required to maintain the hotel accounts.

  • Provides value for investment

Switching to Hotel Management Software for your hospitality business can save time, money and most importantly increases customer satisfaction. With the help of hotel software, mistakes like overbookings and accounting errors can be done away with. Apart from that accurate bills and precise receipts can be generated and human errors are totally ruled out. Adopting hospitality management solution will offer outstanding value for the cost.

With all the above benefits, hotel business can become a lot easier than ever before. No wonder, there is an increasing demand for hotel management software in today’s world.