The 2020 global health crisis has majorly impacted India’s hospitality sector. The outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has not only put an abrupt stop on the travel and tourism business in India but also temporarily halted in-person operations at hotel management colleges in Gurgaon, Mumbai, and other cities. The government has also put a halt on admissions for some of the best hotel management institutes in India. So, predicting when things will be back on track is very difficult right now.
Fortunately, from early-June, several cities have started reopening their businesses in a phased manner. But, there haven’t been any signs of relief for hotels and tourism businesses, which is why some hotel operators are ready to adopt some technological solutions to surpass the challenges that they face.
Solving 2020 Hospitality Challenges with Technology
The hospitality sector is in dire need of technologies that can improve the performance of hotels. Performance indicators such as the occupancy rate, the average daily rate, and the revenue per available room, are reflecting poor data as of now. So, they need technologies that can make these indicators garner more profit.
To increase the average daily rate, which is the average cost a guest pays per night, hotels need to be very competitive. They need to level up their guest experience. They can start by delivering hyper-personalized services, driven by AI and cloud technologies. For example, guests can explore the hotel and its spaces with interactive Augmented Reality kiosks and Virtual Reality headgears. Hotels can offer its special guests with custom wearables for a better digital experience. Similarly, hotel management staff can maintain social distancing and remotely keep a track of guests via beacon geolocation technologies and cloud-based management.
The guest retention can increase even in such times where people are eager to depart a hotel room instead of arriving at one. A tablet device equipped with a guest self-service portal can improve the digital experience of guests. Hotels can also develop their own mobile applications and use AI chatbots to cater to the guest queries effectively.
Increasing the occupancy rate is the next big challenge, but it can be achieved by updating the online presence of hotels. If the hotel operator updates the website and social media promotions with lucrative packages and offers, then more number of guests will continue to stay for a longer time. The hotel operators can also attract the existing guests for longer stays by extending the pricing discount periods. This action may temporarily impact the reputation of your hotel business, but in the long run, it will surely increase profitability. Guests will not forget the kind of hospitality they received in your hotel during such turbulent times.
Hospitality Sector in the Wake of Coronavirus
New changes in the hospitality industry are likely to create disorder in the initial phases. But, the reopening of businesses also holds several opportunities for hotels. A digital transformation of the hospitality sector is essential for its economic resurgence.
- Sanitization technologies: Guests must feel very safe, comfortable, and hygienic with their stay at a hotel. So, hotel management needs to be upgraded with the advanced cleaning procedure. Staff must use new technologies and devices for disinfection, air purification, and sanitization of physical spaces.
- Remote operations: Hotel employees such as sales managers and revenue managers can work from home. A cloud-based property management system can help hoteliers with off-site hotel management. Without stepping in the hotel, a hotelier can use a cloud-based messaging system and establish effective communications with guests about refunds, cancellations, hotel policy changes, and reservation changes.
- Reduced turnovers: Hotels can run on limited staff and lower their turnovers by replacing manual work with task management software, internal communications platforms, and engineering software. This will also streamline the processes and make hotel operators more cost-conscious.
Hotels must also upgrade their tech stack regularly. Traditional revenue assessment processes need to be remodelled by using effective automated revenue management software.
Despite being a late bloomer in adopting technology, the travel and hospitality industry can still manage to transform its state with proper internet accessibility and lowered mobility expenditure. The coronavirus outbreak is a dark cloud over the hospitality industry, but only for now. It is anticipated that when the dust settles, a new rush of creative innovations in travel technologies will emerge across India’s hospitality sector.