With a steady introduction of new, cutting-edge technology into the heart of the hospitality industry, the modernisation and rate of change seen in the sector over the last few years has been nothing short of staggering. Each year, the changes have concocted fresh challenges for hotel managers to overcome and 2019 will be no different. This article will identify the Top 5 challenges to the hospitality industry in 2019 and how to overcome them.
Sustainability is an increasingly relevant issue as it can affect hotels in many ways. These include: (1) improving brand image, as customers are drawn more and more to environment-friendly companies and potential employees are looking to be part of companies that make a difference in the community; (2) benefiting from economic incentives led by governments for the development of green businesses; or (3) improving cost efficiency, by implementing better working procedures and environmentally friendly technologies that end up increasing the hotel’s profitability.
Simple changes, such as recycling, installing low-flush toilets or going paper-free by investing in technologies that eliminate the need for printing or handwritten documents are some things that all hotels should be doing right now.
2. Higher customer expectations
Hotel guests are increasingly demanding and also more likely to give negative feedback on online rating sites when something goes wrong during their stay.
Now more than ever, it’s crucial for hotel managers to focus on improving guests’ satisfaction by making sure that nothing goes wrong. The housekeeping and maintenance teams should be super efficient and make no mistakes. Housekeeping should have easily accessible checklists and failure reporting should be as fast as possible to solve them instantaneously.
This is a challenge, but it is made possible thanks to maintenance management software that allows multiple people from multiple departments to report failures which are instantly communicated to the responsible employees or technicians.
3. Streamlining processes with mobile technology
Be it for failure reporting or for instant check-in and checkout, replacing room keys, paying for leisure activities or meals, incorporating mobile technology into hotels’ processes for employees and customers, is something that hotel managers must consider in 2019.
This will ultimately improve customer experience and the hotel’s overall efficiency and reputation.
4. Marketing and Reputation Management
This is definitely a challenge that gets harder as the years go by, and 2019 is no exception. Utilising online marketing that has relevant, targeted content is extremely important to drive potential guests to your website and, ultimately, to your hotel.
Online review websites, such as Tripadvisor or Expedia, are also very important. They can both help hotels secure new guests if they have quality ratings and reviews or drive every potential guest away if the reviews are poor.
A hotel’s reputation depends a lot on these factors so it’s important that hotel managers do everything in their power to get good reviews from guests (this should be done by giving them a great experience, not by pressuring them to do so!) and to maintain a strong online presence and communication on social media.
5. Guest experience personalisation
Whichever industry or product category we think about, personalisation is the word on everybody’s lips. Customers are more and more interested in products that they can customise or in personalised experiences that seem to have been tailor-made just for them.
Customisation in a hotel can start before the potential guests even become guests. Different advertisements or content focusing on different aspects of your hotel should be targeted for different people depending on the tastes they’ve expressed online.
Once they arrive, personalisation could be achieved by recommending specific leisure activities depending on each guest’s personality and tastes. Another way would be remembering returning guests’ personal information and tastes (regarding meals, for example). Automated emails asking for feedback after a stay are a good way to record customers’ preferences, as well as to know where your hotel can improve.