How to get your hotel ready for the period after COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a new kind of systemic risk that hospitality professionals must learn to live with. Now is probably as good a time as any to think about and get ready for what comes next. Read this article to know more about hospitality after COVID-19.
Two smart things to do during this Covid-19 period:
First, in a short-term sense make the best out of the support provided by the government and banks. Second, and in the long term, use this time at home to rethink your business model.
When hotels reopen, they will need a new approach to business. Oftentimes, hoteliers use technology because there is no other choice, that’s why, in hotel operations humans are at the center of everything. However, there are other ways, meaning that human resources can be efficiently used for strategic functions and add value, while more operational tasks can be automatized.
As of today, some hotels still do not have a two-way connectivity between their PMS and channel manager. As a result, many receptionists spend hours inserting data manually into their PMS. Others play Tetris with room allocation or spend time handling payments. Automating these tasks may sound costly but not having them is even more expensive but it’s a hidden cost. The fact that you don’t see the price tag doesn’t mean that the cost is not real.
When there is a crisis, the first reaction of many businesses is usually to adopt a short term cash-optimization approach. This might cause a harmful effect in the long run. Reducing expenses is very sound but cutting everything is a bit dangerous.
In every crisis there is an opportunity. Instead of cutting expenses at all costs and crippling your future business, you might want to focus and smartly invest in very specific areas and make your company not only survive the crisis but to increase its resilience for next time.
If you are looking for inspiration, to see how to handle hospitality after COVID-19, it is always interesting to see what major hotel groups are doing. There are 2 stong trends, the first one is operational efficiency and the second, customer data valorization.
1- Strengthen your business with operational efficiency and be ready for the period after COVID-19
Human resources represent 50%+ of your budget. You can cut your expenses and fire everyone creating an unsustainable workload on the remaining team members. You will then need to hire, train and fire again at the next crisis and the circle will go on.
Alternatively, you can take one step back and ask the right questions. Christelle Pitrel from Amos Consulting gave me a great example:
If you have your own housekeeping team how could your housekeeping supervisors work be more impactful?
Wouldn’t it be more profitable to invest in training and technology for housekeepers to become better, more autonomous and ultimately happier at their job.
While supervisors could have a role more oriented towards guests added value? What is interesting is not so much the example as such but the questioning process.
Training and tech are essential to support and control efficiently your new processes. The technology is here with great alternatives such as Hotelkit or RoomChecking . You just need to start to see it as an investment instead of an expense. Technology alone is not going to resolve your problems. To really deliver results it needs to come together with training, proper processes and a lot of motivation.
You could also think about front desk repetitive tasks that you’d like to automate such as handling customers’ frequent requests via a chatbot. The idea is not to dehumanize hospitality but rather to filter basic requests and let your staff focus only on interactions where they add value. How much time does your reception team spend answering the same questions every day?
These are 2 ideas out of the 1000 possibilities that you have to leverage digital technologies to maximize your hotel operational efficiency.
2- Get back in track faster after COVID-19 with an efficient use of customer data
Crisis happens with an increasing frequency. Your ability to leverage customer knowledge to create a unique experience, foster loyalty, create targeted offers and, in essence, bring customers back to your hotel faster, has become an essential survival skill.
Leveraging customer knowledge has long been at the core of the CRM strategy of groups such as Starwood but what can you do at your own level? What actionable customer data do you have in your treasure chest? How well do you leverage it? Learn more on how you can improve your data collection with your CRM.
How will be hospitality after COVID-19 ?, In the recovery phase, the focus will very much be on sales and especially direct business generation as it usually costs less than OTA. Hotels often fail at capturing customer data on their website.
At the moment, most hotels only get information from people that booked a room and fail to capture the details of all the potential customers that didn’t finish the reservation process. That’s crazy because people that go to your website are very likely to travel to your destination. Some are going to book by themselves and that’s great.
Others will need some sales-follow up. Think of the hooks you could use to capture hot leads. Chatbots and smart pop-ups are great tools to capture actionable customer information. The next question is what proactive sales process do you implement to transform customer data into direct bookings.
Learn more with example of proactive direct sales process.
Feel welcome to contact email@example.com if you have any question or would like to improve your resilience and recovery strategy.