The future of the hotel industry depends heavily on evolution in line with dramatic technological changes and an understanding of the way consumers want to interact with the brands they patronize. The hospitality industry needs to continue to offer great customer service and retain client loyalty, but whereas in the past this was done primarily through human interaction, hotel trends are towards decreased personal interaction and increased use of technology in hospitality.
The Future of the Hotel Industry: The Modern Guest
The modern hotel guest is doing a lot of mobile research. This means everything from hotel reservations software to the primary website has to be optimized to reach out to the mobile user. Mobile queries are up 50% in the travel category. This doesn’t mean neglecting other devices, though, because 46% of those who do research on their mobile devices for travel actually still move to another device to do the booking.
Travelers are also increasingly looking to social media reviews, photographs, recommendations from friends, and consumer reviews when making decisions about where to travel. This means websites need to include these things, as well as have the software platform to allow them to be flexible about cancellations. This is always difficult for a property, but a good hotel management software solution can minimize the issues that cancellations present while allowing for the kind of flexibility that 43% of travelers say is important to them when booking.
The Future of the Hotel Industry: Customer Interactions
A Harris Interactive/RightNow poll founds that 86% of people in 2011 had stopped doing business with a company because of a bad experience with customer service. CEB research found the 96% of people who say they were forced to expend a lot of effort to deal with a company are very likely to be disloyal. Customer service is just as crucial as ever, only the modern guest wants much of that service to be automated, online, fast and simple to navigate. Guests are very likely to simply go elsewhere if presented with a website that is difficult to navigate, doesn’t have enough information about the property, or doesn’t allow for easy online booking.
The future of the hotel industry is adapting to demographic trends and technological advance while still providing excellent service and seamless integration of data. It isn’t easy, but the right hotel property management system is one of the keys to making it happen.