COVID-19 is a new type of systemic risk with which hoteliers must learn to live, what better time than today to reflect and prepare for what is coming. Read this article to learn more about the hotel industry after COVID-19.
The two most appropriate steps to take in these circumstances, first in the short term, make the most of the aid provided by the government and the banks. The second step and this is in the medium term, use this time at home to rethink your business model.
When hotels reopen, they will need a new approach to their business strategy. Often, hoteliers use technology as a last resort, and that is why the center of hotel operations is humans. Human support is important when it comes to tasks that add great value. However, most of the time, your employees waste part of their time on repetitive tasks that do not add much value, while these could be perfectly automated.
With the crisis, many hoteliers have adopted a short-term liquidity optimization approach, it is obvious that to survive these circumstances it is essential to reduce costs but cutting too much and freezing all investments can be much more expensive.
We reached out to Stephen Jay (@steviejayuk), an entrepreneur and reality TV star to understand how the hotel industry could mitigate the risk and economic loss due to the pandemic.
Jay argues, “in every crisis we can find an opportunity, instead of cutting expenses at all costs and paralyzing your business, I would recommend refocusing your priorities and defining a clear strategic plan that includes actions in the short and medium-term so that your company not only survives to the crisis but also to be stronger to face the next one.”
Strengthen your business with operational efficiency:
Human resources represent more than 50% of your budget. There is the potential to cut costs and lay off a portion of your employees, creating an unsustainable workload for the rest of the team. Therefore, they would have to rehire, train and fire again in the next crisis, and the circle would continue like this.
“If you have your housekeeping team, how could the work of your housekeeping supervisors have more impact?
“Wouldn’t it be more profitable to invest in their training and technologies so that housekeepers can be more autonomous, efficient and happy in their work? At the same time, supervisors could have a more service-oriented and customer experience role? The important thing is not this particular example but the questioning,” adds Stephen Jay.
Training and technology are essential to efficiently support and control your new processes.
You could also reflect on those repetitive tasks in the reception area and how they could be automated, as well as using a chatbot to give instant responses to the most frequent requests from customers. The idea is not to dehumanize the hospitality industry but to filter the most basic requests and let your staff focus on the interactions that add the most value.
How much time does your reception team spend answering the same questions every day is worth pondering? Many times, we do not realize the cost of lost time because it does not appear on the account balance.
These are just 2 of the 1000 possibilities that exist to take advantage of new technologies to maximize the operational efficiency of your hotel.
Reactivate your business using your customers’ data
Crises are becoming more frequent, which is why the ability to retrieve data about your customers to create unique experiences, foster loyalty, create specific offers and, get customers to return to your hotel quickly, has become a skill.
Leveraging customer insights has long been at the core of the CRM strategy, but what could you do? It all depends on what actionable customer data do you have in your CRM? Are you taking advantage of them?
What will the hotel industry be like after COVID-19? In the recovery phase that will come at the end of the confinement, it will focus on how you can capture and use data to generate direct sales since a client who reserves on your website costs less than a client who reserves through OTAs. Often, hotels fail to retrieve lead data on their website (which tends to look a lot like a colander).
Now, most hotels only get information from people who have completed the reservation process for a room but are unable to capture the details of all potential customers who did not complete the reservation process. That is crazy! Because when a user visits your website, likely, they will soon be traveling to your destination.
Some are going to book themselves, and that’s great, while others will need a follow-up from the sales department. Think about how to catch undecided customers. The technology is available, use chatbots and pop-ups appropriately to capture information that your sales team can then use. Do not misunderstand; Technology alone is not enough; it must be accompanied by a change of chip that is supported by training, processes and motivation.