Betterspace Digitization Of The Hotel Industry – Time Is Running Out – Part 1

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Recently there have been headlines about the lack of digitization in the hotel industry. Sometimes it is the hoteliers themselves who are to blame for not upgrading their hotels to the latest standards, sometimes it is the staff who are resisting the trend towards digitization in hotels, which is becoming the standard. Another time it is politics and business that turn out to be bottlenecks. Apportionment of blame does not help at this point, they help neither the hotelier nor the staff and certainly not the guest.

It is a fact, however, that the hotel industry is lagging behind concerning digitization, especially in comparison to other industries. The increasing competitive pressure in the hotel industry and the constantly changing needs of hotel guests are also creating new challenges. The shortage of skilled workers and the unattractive nature of the professions in the hotel industry can be added to this. To deal with all these topics at the same time requires a lot of tact and sensitivity and can not be handled alone.

Digitization Of The Hotel Industry – Status Quo?

Every day, a mass of new digital products and innovations is flooding the hotel market, promising to be the solutions to all problems. It is difficult to get an overview and an informed choice seems to be impossible. Partners who support you, the experience of other hoteliers and industry associations can help here. Please note that your future employees attach just as much importance to the digital infrastructure of your hotel as your hotel guests. After all, most of them belong to the Generation Y. As an hotelier, you will not only encounter the so-called “digital natives” as guests, but also as employees in the future.

But how do you find your way in the jungle of hotel digitization? As an hotelier, how do you find the partners you can rely on? We do not have a generally valid answer to these questions. But in view of the fact that you can not stop digitization, it is better to deal with it sooner rather than too late. Be aware that the digitization of hotels is not your enemy and will not harm your hotel. Seize the opportunity and allow changes!

Digital solutions along the 360° Guest Journey
Digital solutions along the 360° Guest Journey

Digital Solutions Along The Guest Journey

Today, we will travel along the Guest Journey in the hotel industry, to sort out the many digital solutions for hotels and orient ourselves towards the needs of hotel guests. The classic Guest Journey in hotels, in other words the journey of the guest during a hotel stay, is divided into Pre-Stay, Stay and Post-Stay phases. We will show you which digital solutions for hotels exist, so that you can get a better overview of the digital jungle.

One thing first, a stable and fast wireless network in hotels should be the standard for this. If you as an hotelier do not have a wireless network nowadays, you have practically lost, as many guests take it for granted. Poor hotel reviews and declining numbers of visitors in hotels are the consequence of a lack of or non-functioning internet in hotels. Almost half of the negative online ratings are due to a poor wireless network. You can find more about it in our article about the Ten reasons for negative ratings in hotels. A sufficient internet connection and a wireless LAN are preconditions for the digitization of hotels, so this topic is not further present in this blog article.

Pre-Stay-Phase holiday research on the Internet
Pre-Stay-Phase holiday research on the Internet

Pre-Stay Phase For Hotels – More Awareness For Your Hotel Customers

In the Pre-Stay phase, your future guest will obtain detailed information about your hotel, the services you offer and the surroundings before booking. The hotel guests get suggestions and recommendations for hotels by using well-known rating portals, social media, your hotel website and also online travel agencies. If you want to compete against your competitors, your hotel should be visible online. Convince your guests with new experiences and use digitization in hotels to create new guest experiences..

65 percent of travelers research future holiday destinations and hotels online. This makes the internet the main source of travel information. In most cases, tourists do not know where to go and are therefore looking for inspiration. On average, 24 days pass from the search to the booking of a trip. During this time, your potential guests inform themselves and come across about 21 contact points such as hotel websites, online travel agencies, social media profiles, ads or blogs. So, it is up to you and your courage to you digitize your hotel to reach your guests.

Hotel Website As A Start Of Hotel Digitization

You can start your hotel digitization with a hotel website. Your website acts as an information source, booking manager and rating tool. Those who don’t have their own website for their hotel today are digging their own grave, especially in the fight against online travel agencies. Online advertisements, for example via Google AdWords, help you ensure that your hotel is clearly visible to potential guests. Call-to-action buttons and recommendations from other guests as well as search engine optimization (SEO) take care of the rest.

A responsive and attractively designed hotel website is enormously important, because a static HTML page does not blow away anybody anymore. Especially at a time when everyone is checking holiday destinations and hotels quickly via smartphone and tablet, the visualization of your hotel website on mobile devices must be captivating. Surely you are also aware that an old-fashioned job advertisement and an outdated website discourage potential employees. Yes, we have to mention that here, because there are still hotels that do not have a website – the only question is how much longer they can survive.

Book a hotel online through the hotel website
Book a hotel online through the hotel website

More Hotel Guests Thanks To Online Booking Tools

Attract more guests to your hotel with the help from social media, your website and perhaps online advertisements. If you have convinced a future guest, he or she can, thanks to the direct booking feature on your website, book immediately. If a guest books through an online travel agency, inform him afterwards that he can book at a lower price via your website. The processing, cancellation and invoicing is also easier for everyone involved, because you can communicate directly with your guest and not via an online travel agency.

A website without an online booking tool makes your hotel less attractive for guests and is a step back for you and your hotel. Before the potential guest tries to book your hotel via online travel agencies, he has already reoriented himself and booked another hotel. In the event that you are only present and bookable via online travel agencies, such as Booking and HRS, please be aware that you lose revenues due to high commissions and your existence is at stake. This money is better invested in building your own website.

Hotel Blog And Social Media For The Benefit Of A Successful Pre-Stay Phase

In order to captivate your potential hotel guests and have a successful Pre-Stay phase for your hotel, blog on your hotel website. Address your guests in a targeted manner and provide information that is relevant for them. Increase the depth of your website to continuously improve the visibility of your hotel. Find out to what kind of texts your guests react and gain valuable information for your hotel’s marketing and sales. Offer your guests a look behind the scenes and create trust and a personal connection to your hotel.

Hotel app iQ App the smart guest directory for on the go
Hotel app iQ App the smart guest directory for on the go

More Information For Your Hotel Guests Thanks To Hotel Apps And Website Widgets

The more information you provide to your guests, the more satisfied with the hotel they will be. Because after the hotel booking, your guests will concentrate on looking for possible tourist excursions, special cultural highlights in your region as well as events and recreational activities. It is important not only to refer to external sources, but also tell your guest what he should definitely see and where he can best spend his time. Personal recommendations always work better.

Always position your own offers eye-catchingly (like the spa area or the hotel bar) and in an appropriate relation to external services. Apps and widgets as digital solutions, are suitable for this. MyBetterTrip is, for example, a widget for your hotel website which can be integrated easily and without effort. The online excursion planner on your hotel website offers your guests everything at a glance, without your guest having to spend hours searching the internet, hoping for results. In addition, he stays on your website and the risk of booking somewhere else is banished.

Widget on the website MyBetterTrip the interactive trip planner for hotels
Widget on the website MyBetterTrip the interactive trip planner for hotels

Conclusion

Digitization changes processes and workflows in hotels and supports you as the hotelier, your employees and your guests. In addition, hotel digitization will attract the attention of your potential guests. Digital hotel solutions support the independence of hotels in the battle against online travel agencies and spread information in a more targeted way. For future generations of employees the question will not be whether digitization is important, but, at best, how we can use it.

To stand still in these fast-moving time can quickly mean the end for hotels, as the competition already offers new guests many new experiences. Which digital solutions can be implemented during the Stay-Phase of the Guest Jouney can be found in Part 2 of the series „Digitization of the hotel industry – Time is running out“. Keep at it!