The past few years have been turbulent for the hospitality industry, presenting emerging opportunities alongside significant challenges. Even as interest in travel rises once more, hotels are confronting labor shortages, a newly reconstituted revenue mix, and the challenge of delivering authentic guest experiences in an age of increasing competition and shifting consumer expectations.
To address today’s challenges and elevate the guest experience, hotel staff, operators, and guests can benefit from implementing a mobile PMS.
Unburden Staff and Hire and Retain Talent
In the past year, the hospitality industry has faced persistent labor shortages and the spiraling cost of labor, even as travel demand has risen and hotel occupancy has approached (and often exceeded) its pre-pandemic norms. It’s a difficult balancing act. Hotel brands are faced with the challenge of hiring talented new employees, retaining the staff they currently employ, and empowering each employee to make the most out of limited teams. Implementing mobile PMS can help.
Hoteliers should invest in technology that features a user interface that is colorful, intuitive, and easy to use. Not only can this shorten training periods—and make the platform more enjoyable to use—but it can also widen a hotel’s potential talent pool. After all, hotels should hire staff who excel at engaging with guests, and that should not be constrained by clunky or outdated software.
Automation and mobile accessibility are also necessary to maintain seamless operations with a smaller staff. Automated task management and mobile communication can increase the efficiency of housekeeping staff while ensuring that the front-of-the-house remains up to date with room status changes. Mobile self-check-in can similarly free up resources at the front desk while automating common administrative tasks like reporting or bulk check-in can cut down on busywork.
Beyond increasing staff efficiency, automation and mobile accessibility can assist in employee retention by making hospitality work more rewarding. Nobody begins a career in hospitality with a dream of sitting behind a desk filing—they get into hospitality because they enjoy serving and engaging with guests. Mobile platforms allow hoteliers to break free from the front desk and meet guests wherever they are in the hotel, delivering both a more authentic experience for guests and a more engaging and fulfilling workday for staff.
Use Cloud Technology to Maximize Revenue
The year 2021 may be remembered as the year of “revenge travel,” and 2022 will be no different. People want to hit the road, and in this environment, maximizing revenue will come from creating a unified guest journey while using nuanced guest profiles to connect the right guests with the right products in the right moments. With emerging technologies, hoteliers might soon have the ability to monetize every asset in property and potentially every touchpoint on the guest journey.
By facilitating connections between the guest and the hotel’s tech ecosystem, a cloud-native PMS acts as a repository for guest data, including stay data, purchase history, and custom notes and preferences. PMS platforms operating off fast and reliable servers and using enhanced webhooks can gain more insights into their customer base by leveraging the AI found in cloud-based CRS and CRM systems. Ultimately, this information can be used to send automated and targeted offers for room upgrades, amenities, and loyalty benefits directly to guests’ mobile devices at key moments during their stay.
Catering to a customer base can involve much more than hyper-personalized messaging. The recent rise in remote work has revolutionized how people do business and what they are looking for in a hotel. Remote working can be convenient but also distracting and monotonous. Fortunately, PMS platforms are starting to offer reservations in hourly or day-use increments. This allows hotels to capitalize on the emerging teleworking market by offering a quiet and productive space for workers who want a change of space, or virtual companies who need space for occasional in-person meetings or co-working.
The brands that succeed in this new era will be those who can deliver a guest experience that is exceptional. One of the biggest barriers to the ideal experience is also one of the most notable features of a hotel: the front desk. When a hotel builds its lobby experience around a traditional check-in at the front desk, it’s guaranteeing long lines for check-in and a lobby that functions more like a waiting room than a welcoming introduction to a brand.
A mobile PMS can allow guests to create their own welcome experience—whether it’s a fully contactless check-in through their mobile device, a convenient check-in through a guest-facing kiosk, or a high-touch welcome experience with a friendly hotelier aided by a tablet. A mobile-enhanced welcome experience has the benefit of allowing hotels to reimagine their lobbies into guest-centric spaces for dining, socializing, and co-working, which can fully embody a brand’s design and service philosophy.
And removing staff from front desk duties does not necessarily mean losing them; staff freed from desk duty can be deployed to higher-value activities, a benefit not only for the hotel but also for the career satisfaction and the advancement of the associate.
Ultimately, hotels use technology because it can facilitate better guest experiences and a stronger bottom line. The foundation of a hotel’s operations, revenue streams, and guest journeys lies in its ability to deliver service that is exceptional and genuine. And while nothing can replace the effect of a kind smile and a warm greeting, an intuitive cloud-native PMS aided by advanced automation and personalized guest profiles can make these kinds of elevated interactions the norm rather than the ideal.
About the Author
Michael Heflin is the chief revenue officer at Stayntouch.