Are we in the hospitality industry ready for 2017?
As 2016 draws to a close, now is the perfect time to take stock of what we have experienced and learnt over the year as an industry. Every new year is an opportunity to put forward initiatives and strategies that hopefully steer our properties to greater heights and achievements. Here are insights that I wish to share with everyone as we move into the new year.
Big, big data
There is so much talk about ‘big data’ and ‘data analytics’ right now. With everything being connected in some manner via the Internet, everything we do can be tracked – from our spending habits in the hotel to our preferences when we browse the Web. It is now entirely possible to accurately profile and segment large groups of individuals into their different needs/demands and work to address them. The key to meeting the needs of the guests is to better understand their concerns and behaviours and ensure that the hotel is equipped to handle them.
For example, we noticed that business travellers are evolving, with some preferring the traditional conference room setup for business meetings whilst others opting for a more casual option. In order to address both groups of travellers, our NextJen Meetings are designed to be flexible enough to transform to fit both types of traveller. Leisure travellers are no different, some want to explore the city, whilst some would happily settle in with a book by our rooftop pool for the entire afternoon sipping on a cocktail from our poolside bar, BayWatch@Jen.
The ability to analyse data will grow in importance over the next 12 months and hotels must be able to act on the insights gained to provide a superior level of service that they might otherwise not be able to do without this knowledge.
In the world of technology, there is always a lot of fanfare when it comes to the latest and greatest. However, a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association shows that the technological ‘innovation’ that business travellers want the most of are more regular and numerous power and USB outlets (35%). This observation, I am certain, even leisure travellers can relate to, as we acquire more and more devices for everything we do in life – laptops, mobile phones, tablets, digital cameras, etc. – the list is endless. While these devices are supposed to make our lives easier, the reality is that the best computer or phone in the world will do nothing for us if we cannot power it up. It is key that hotels do not succumb to the urge to invest in bigger, better and more complex tech devices, when a simple power outlet is all that the guest wants.
That being said, the concepts of ‘simple’ and ‘basic’ are changing as well. Fast, free Wi-Fi is slowly becoming the norm, and though not all guests expect it, this demand is growing, and hotels that do not provide such a service often experience a diminished stay experience with their guests. I have often received very positive feedback from guests and visits to Hotel Jen about the fast, free Wi-Fi we provide to all who step through our doors.
The advent and evolution of shared economies and bleisure
A recent study has shown that 43% of all business trips are bleisure trips. With people becoming more affluent and having more access to information, they want to experience the authentic local cultures when they travel for work. This means, hotels that bring that cultural experiences directly into the hotel through their partnerships with a local business or artist can immediately strike a chord with these travellers.
A hotel in the 21st century cannot afford to operate in isolation, hoping to become successful on its own. From local governmental bodies, to businesses, to social media influencers, to charities and associations, everything is about collaboration and partnership. This is essentially the definition of the latest ‘buzz-phrase’ being thrown around in the industry – the ‘shared economy’. In this age of Airbnbs and Ubers, a lot of traditional businesses are being turned on their heads and those who cannot catch up, feel frustrated and left out. I see this as a great opportunity to learn and grow. Creating your own ‘shared economy’ is the way forward to continually breathe life into your property, your staff and your guests.
Source: ehotelier website