The hospitality industry is notoriously slow to embrace new technologies and automated systems. And, traditionally, this has been especially true of independent, boutique hotels and smaller hotel brands. Today, however, more small hotels are discovering the benefits of a technology-forward approach. According to recent data from Oracle Hospitality, 73% of guests want hotels to implement technology that enables a contactless experience. Along with Digital Keys and tools that facilitate more digital customer service, small hotels are discovering how technology can help improve the guest experience, streamline operational efficiency, and increase employee retention.
1. Hotel Technology Facilitates Personalized Guest Experiences
Independent hotels have always stood out from large corporate hotel brands with their unique style and service. When guests choose to stay at your hotel or resort, they want a unique, personalized experience. They don’t want to have the same experience they would have at any big box hotel where they feel more like a number than a person. However, this does not mean that small hotels must perform every guest-related task by hand or in person. In fact, according to PwC, 81% of travelers would prefer more digital customer service from hotel brands.
Boutique hotels that embrace technology can deliver the experience that their guests want – without overburdening staff and increasing overhead. Your hotel’s customer relationship management (CRM) system can automate processes for keeping track of guests’ preferences, how frequently they’ve stayed with you, and more. By capturing data from a guest’s stay, you can find out if they ate at your restaurant, which services they used, and even their preferred climate settings in their room. This gives you the opportunity to send highly targeted marketing messages to them for future stays. And, when they book with you again, you can cater to their specific interests, endearing your brand to them and increasing the chance that they’ll stay with you again.
2. Increase Your Hotel’s Operational Efficiency
With the right technology, small hotels have opportunities to reduce overhead and increase their margins, simply by improving operational efficiency. The right technology can help you automate manual tasks, like scheduling housekeeping tasks. It can also help small hotels ensure that all employees are up to date on training and current policies. Training sessions can be completed online. Policy changes can be updated and distributed via email or SMS.
3. Delight Guests with Streamlined, Contactless Check-Ins
How often do your guests have to stand in line at check-in? This is your first contact with new and returning guests, and it makes a lasting impression. You don’t want your guests’ first experience of your hotel to be a long wait at the front desk before they can go to their room. Instead, with Digital Key and mobile check-in capabilities, you can give your guests the option to skip the line and go straight to their rooms. This small touch is an easy win, as it requires relatively low investment with a significant return. Your guests want the convenience of contactless check-in, and they want more digital services. Just by downloading an app on their smartphones, they can check-in, access their rooms, and gain access to exclusive offerings.
4. Enhance Targeted Marketing Efforts
At some point or another, most small hotels have run marketing campaigns with special pricing or other value-adds to drive up brand awareness and occupancy rates. Unfortunately, at the end of a campaign like this, hotels are often left with little information about what worked, what didn’t, and how to proceed in the future.
Along with increasing personalization and improving targeting, small hotels that embrace technology gain access to better tracking and reporting capabilities. As a result, they can measure the performance of their marketing campaigns at a more granular level. Imagine having the ability to track how guests learned about your hotel, how they interacted with your promotional materials, which emails they opened, and which offers they clicked on. All of this data can help you improve ROI on your marketing efforts by accessing reporting on key performance indicators (KPIs). The deeper you can dig into those measurements, the better prepared you’ll be when it’s time to allocate funds for your marketing and sales budgets.
5. Improve Staff Morale and Increase Employee Retention
Throughout the hospitality industry, small and large hotels alike are facing staffing challenges. According to a recent survey by the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), 94% of hotels were understaffed in 2021, and 47% were severely understaffed. And, according to STR and Tourism Economics, we can expect this trend to continue at least until 2025. By reducing redundant tasks and automating hotel operations where possible, small hotels can unburden staff and offer employees more opportunities for growth in their roles. Free up your concierge staff members’ time to be of greater service to your guests and pursue more fulfilling tasks. Give operations staff a better work experience by eliminating redundant tasks. Make life easier for housekeeping staff with better coordination of shifts and cleaning schedules.
Small and independent hotel brands are leveraging technology in multiple ways to improve their businesses. Contactless check-ins free up staff time and deliver a more streamlined guest experience. Marketing automation helps improve occupancy rates while offering better means to track marketing efforts. Automated operational workflows unburden staff and help improve profit margins. With the right technology, you can improve your guest experience, reduce overhead, and increase staff retention.
Want more info on how your small hotel can benefit from Digital Key technology? Schedule a demo today.