COVID-19 has bought the entire world to a very unimaginable standstill, thereby impacting lives, work, and businesses. With governments putting a lockdown on their countries and non-essential travel, hotel occupancy rates are a fraction of what they usually are. A recent report by the American Hotel & Lodging Association found that 4 of 5 U.S. hotel rooms are empty now. To look at things at a broader level, if these lockdowns and the pandemic continue for few more months, there could be a projected loss of $2.1 trillion in revenue as per World Travel and Tourism Council.
The post-COVID-19 world will see a hotel guest that is more paranoid than ever, thereby showing a drastic change in consumer behavior. Guests would focus more on personal and contactless practices while visiting any resort /hotel. From having single size food servings to contactless deliveries to keyless doors, the hotel guest will look for a comfortable stay, however from a distance.
As per a report released by HVS Traveller and Hotel Guest Sentiment Survey, a significant 66% of respondents said they would favor internationally branded hotels for their stay. This shift to branded hotel chains will be due to reliability on hygiene practices as opposed to aggregators who can't control the hygiene in their listed properties.
Image Source: HVS Traveller and Hotel Guest Sentiment Survey
It is now time for hotels to implement on and work towards the world post COVID-19. The question that needs to be addressed is whether your hotel is prepared for the post COVID-19 world? The key to getting your hospitality business back on track keeping the changing consumer behavior will be digital transformation. Hotels should focus on upgrading their digital practices to enable contactless experiences owing to the change in the mindset of the consumer.
As digital transformation becomes the key to battling the post-Corona world, hotels are now building up digital strategies and finding plausible solutions to combat the time that's about to come. The most important that will enable hotels to function is to have "contact-less" thinking in mind. Going contact-less will the first solution, which in turn will be solved by technology and creative digital solutions.
As the change in consumer behavior mandates a change in the way hotels function, we explore practical technology solutions that the hospitality industry should implement, thereby helping it tackle the post COVID-19 world:
Keyless entry or keyless access to hotel rooms, lift lobby, etc. is one of the most practical technological solutions that one can implement at a hotel. Eliminating the usage of keycards, a keyless entry will be made possible via means of facial recognition, mobile apps, etc. By completely removing keycards from the system, you end up eliminating the possible spread of infection via surface because of multiple using and handling the same keycards on rotation.
The next big thing, in hotel technology, is going to be a contactless check-in thereby removing the requirements of hotel receptions. Long queues, multiple formalities, and crowds anyway are factors that tend to make guests angry. Contactless check-ins can be done in advance via mobile apps, wherein all required check-in related documents can be uploaded and a digital key is granted on the day of the check-in. This will eliminate any crowds at actual receptions thereby giving guests a seamless walk into the hotel and straight to their room.
Branded hotel app
A mobile app personalized for each hotel property will enable guests to access everything from their phones. From key access to online check-in to AR-VR tours to ordering room service, everything can be done on the app. This will not just eliminate the usage of menu cards in the room, thereby saving paper, but also reduce the surface to the surface transfer of infection. These apps can also be used for payments, thereby making the hotel cashless. All bills can be settled online, with invoices emailed there and then.
Hotel tour via AR-VR
Hotels tours are still a big part of a lot of hotel properties. This usually involves a guide along with the guests, which can typically be eliminated by the usage of AR-VR technology to give a virtual tour to the guest. This can be done post online check-in as well and can be conducted remotely to even show the guest the route to their room when they walk in. This same technology can be used to show other major details of the hotel, such as dining areas, bars, spas, etc.
The post COVID-19 world will also see a rise in thermal CCTV cameras especially in common areas, that can monitor the body temperature of the guests to alert any issues beforehand. This will typically be "prevention is better than cure".
How TechAhead can help in the hospitality business
TechAhead has over 10 years of experience serving fortune 500 clients to high growth enterprises. The company has proven expertise in the Internet of Things (IoT), and other emerging technologies such as AR-VR and their integration with mobile apps.
We have helped RentalHost, the world's premium vacation host community, and created a smart, simple and effective app for hosts and guests, for intimate, smooth, and enjoyable guest experience. We also have experience in creating contactless, IoT based applications using which property owners can give remote permission to unlock Bluetooth enabled locks.
The times may be harsh today, but the hospitality industry must implement and work on next steps, and make sure they are prepared when the world reopens. The right technology solutions, backed up by innovation, creativity, and executed by the right digital partner, will ensure success and will make your hotel ready for the post COVID-19 world.