With 2023 set to be another year bumper year for staycations in the UK, and guests more tech-savvy than ever before, there’s a huge opportunity for hotels of all shapes and sizes to seize the positive transformational benefits technology has to offer. Here are our six top tips to help hoteliers hit the ground running this year to capitalise on the opportunities this staycation boom brings.
1. Personalise the guest experience
A simple but powerful improvement hoteliers can make to a guest journey is ensuring it begins with booking directly via their own website. This is because a journey that begins with a third-party booking site means the hotelier has no access to guest data and no avenue to communication, severely impeding their ability to create a great guest experience from the off. By encouraging guests to book direct, hoteliers can control the brand experience, capture useful information and use it to send personalised reminders, promotions and deals.
Investing in a tech solution that facilitates contactless check-in will take this one step further. Such a system gives hoteliers the ability to provide bespoke and high-quality guest experiences. Guest’s room keys ready upon arrival and personalised notes waiting in their room, for example, all contributing to an enhanced and seamless experience.
2. Capturing the guest in ‘buying mode’
With a direct line of communication now established, hoteliers can capture the guest when in ‘buying mode’ at this early stage in their journey. Upselling prompts to book a table for dinner during their stay, or for a box of chocolates in the room on arrival are all great ways to drive F&B sales and consequently revPAR. All of these messages can be sent automatically through Zonal’s PMS which is integrated with EPOS and our booking system, therefore maximizing revenues but not generating large amounts of extra work for your team.
3. Become an integration sensation
Integration has become a buzzword in the world of tech – and with good reason – when done right it can open up a wealth of opportunities and be of tremendous value to any hotelier. Ensuring your key tech solutions are talking to each other creates an improved, seamless experience for your guests, and opens up a wealth of operational efficiencies for your business. One example is with an integration between your EPOS and PMS – integrating these two solutions generates one bill for the guest without staff having to input information several times and without the need for a potentially messy paper trail. Simplifying this step with integration not only improves the guest experience but allows staff to work smarter and more efficiently.
4. Harness the power of data
Many hoteliers collect guest data, however knowing how best to use it can seem an impossible and time-consuming task. With integrated tech solutions talking to one another this data can easily create a meaningful picture. For example, integrating guest feedback data with other parts of the business can unlock a wealth of insight, with operators able to understand not just when a guest wasn’t satisfied with their breakfast but identify when it was ordered, what dish it was, and how long it took them to be served. These kinds of insights have the ability to enable hoteliers to continually improve their guest experience and operational efficiency, not just improving the immediate guest experience but delivering long-term benefits and building solid foundations for future growth.
5. The bar has been raised
The pub and restaurant sectors have drastically changed their use of technology in-venue over the past few years, and consumers have equally embraced this change. Previous GO Technology research revealed that two-fifths of consumers believe technology improves their hospitality experiences. Comparatively, 70% of consumers pre-pandemic said they had never used technology to order room service and 64% said they had never used tech to reserve a table during their stay.
This is a huge missed opportunity for the hotel industry. To capitalise on increased demand for UK accommodation this year, hoteliers will need to provide guests with a technology-enhanced experience they have become increasingly accustomed to in other hospitality settings. Contactless order and pay for example is now an expectation for many guests in pubs and restaurants, and with our latest research showing that 42% of guests expect to see more app-based room service ordering technology in future, implementing these solutions now can give you an edge over your competition.
6. Opportunity to cultivate loyalty
With spending and holidaying domestically a key consumer trend this year, the opportunity to create loyal guests and generate repeat visits is greater than ever before. Driving loyalty amongst guests will be a crucial aspect of maximizing revenues this summer and beyond, and tech is perfectly placed to facilitate this.
Nearly two-thirds of hospitality businesses are yet to offer a loyalty scheme despite consumers’ eagerness for such offers, with 49% of consumers in Britain saying loyalty schemes are important to them when choosing a venue to visit. In its most basic form, collecting a guest email address allows you to contact loyal customers with future promotions and reminders. However, using a digital loyalty scheme to attract domestic travelers over the course of this year could provide hoteliers with a key unique selling point (USP) in a highly competitive market.