Digital transformation in the hotel industry is not an option rather a necessity. To compete in this dynamic and challenging hospitality market, you should rethink your existing strategies and services.
According to research,
- 70% of millennials utilize a tech amenity while booking accommodation.
- At a minimum, 8 of the global hotel chains have already incorporated VR technologies.
- Hotels providing virtual tours increase their online revenue by 135%.
These numbers prove that digital transformation is not only a buzzword. The concept promises new opportunities for better customer experience and improved marketing solutions.
Let’s find out what digital transformation means for the hotel industry before going into the details of implementing one.
What does digital transformation mean for hotels?
Digital transformation of a hotel refers to implementing technology into existing operations. The process completely alters the ways your hotel runs and provides service to guests. That is a broad concept, and there are several approaches to achieving a digital transformation.
Let me give you a secret here.
Indeed, every hotel has unique digital transformation needs. Let’s assume you run a business hotel where your potential visitors prefer less contact with staff. Instead, they want to enter their room without losing time. Here, robotics at the front desk can facilitate their entrance and saves time.
On the other hand, you may have a hotel which targets families the most. Here, utilizing robotics during entrance is a bad idea since the potential guests might expect sincere interaction with the personnel. Therefore, you should know about your hotel type and understand the needs of your ideal hotel personas to decide on the steps you’ll take.
For more info, check out our blog article on hotel guest persona.
What are the advantages of digital transformation for hotels?
First things first. Digitization allows you to run your business more productively and cost-effectively. Using various technologies saves you time and money, minimizing your need for personnel. Remember the example of using robotics at the front desk. Once you invest in such a technology, you no longer need to pay monthly for receptionists.
Moreover, digital transformation can assist you in expanding your market presence, increasing the volume of direct bookings, and gaining loyal visitors. Nowadays, travelers are prone to technology and expect a hotel to provide technological services during their stay. If they are satisfied with your services, they’ll choose you over your competitors every time.
Most importantly, digitization provides guests with one-of-a-kind experiences throughout their stay. After all, visitors do not ask for a bed and food only. They want to spend quality time at your hotel too. Therefore you need to improve your operations and follow the digitalization trends closely.
10 steps for digital transformation in the hotel industry
Effective hotel digital transformation requires strategic thinking, focused technological investment, and expertise. Follow the 10 steps of digital transformation in the hotel industry to improve your business and increase bookings.
The first step is to identify your goals.
You should set some specific goals before preparing your digital transformation strategy. That helps you to create a much clearer roadmap for your digital journey. So, what kind of objectives can a hotel accomplish by digital transformation?
Digital transformation can help hotels to:
- boost website traffic,
- minimize operational expenses,
- enhance product and service quality,
- optimize customer experience,
- increase digital revenue, and more.
There is no way that global digitalization will not affect the hotel industry. After all, your potential visitors will demand you to do that for their own convenience.
Make a solid digital marketing strategy.
A digital marketing strategy helps your hotel to shine out in the crowd. Many visitors look for hotels online when deciding where to stay for their vacation. Therefore, you need a strategic plan that attracts online users and persuades them to book from you.
To achieve that, you should work with a hotel marketing agency that can assist you in establishing an active online presence. For example, your marketing and social media teams can organize promotional giveaways or create engaging content on social media.
One significant determinant for visitors in hotel decisions is online hotel reviews. According to a survey, positive online reviews can increase customer loyalty by 73%. Moreover, even bad reviews raise conversion rates by 67%. That proves you should handle your online reputation well to boost bookings.
Pro tip: You may employ a Reputation and Review Management Software to monitor and respond effectively and in time to reviews. This way, you can build a positive online reputation and build trust in potential customers.
For more info, you can check out our related blog article.
Mobile-friendly websites are a must.
As mentioned above, people search for accommodation options online before making reservations. Most probably, they use their mobile phones while doing so. Therefore, you need to build mobile-friendly websites.
According to various research,
- 92% of travel brands believe that a mobile strategy is critical for business success.
- 61% of users do not revisit a mobile site with low internet accessibility. Instead, 40% of them will visit a competitor’s website.
Pro tip: Enrich your website with quality hotel photography since visitors prefer to see how the hotel rooms and amenities look. Remember that the photographs should also be accessible through any device like mobile phones.
Incorporate engaging elements into your website.
You can improve the online customer experience by implementing interactive elements to your website. That increases the time people spend on your website, thus SEO rankings. That will eventually boost brand recognition, thus building a trustable brand image.
These engaging elements also allow visitors to find any info without difficulty. For example, you might create a search filter that says “I want to learn about…”. Then, you can include various search topics explained on your website. That will certainly save time for your online website visitors.
Prepare small quizzes for potential customers that require them to answer those for best offers. Customized content increases the chance of closing a booking since you’ll know what they demand specifically.
Pro tip: Lastly, you should incorporate an online booking engine into your website. That can accelerate the booking procedures and simplify the process.
Utilize AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology.
Nowadays, AI-driven chatbots are one of the most beneficial digital trends in the hotel business. They provide artificially intelligent answers to client guest inquiries and questions. That ensures you can handle simple issues without the need for a human operator.
Moreover, chatbots respond to clients in shorter times and with accuracy, allowing hotel personnel to deal with more challenging situations. That enables you to manage your human resources most efficiently.
Another way hotel businesses benefit from artificial intelligence is by regularly analyzing big data. This way, they present returning clients with more customized services and offers to depend on their interests.
Take a look at this: Edward, the chatbot at the Radisson Blu Edwardian in London and Manchester stuns the customers. Go and check what this tech is capable of doing.
Use CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software.
CRM is the method of using a software solution to improve current and prospective customer relationships. This way, you may generate high-end leads and convert clicks to bookings.
Indeed, CRM software combines the three essential departments of the hotel business in one place: marketing, sales, and service. First of all, this technology provides advanced marketing automation tools allowing you to organize targeted marketing campaigns.
CRM software allows hotel personnel to track and manage every step of a visitor’s journey. This method enables gathering detailed customer data. By analyzing these, the software offers promotional deals and promotes loyalty programs.
Pro tip: This advanced technology allows after-stay questionnaires with a client feedback system. That helps you improve your services and encourages visitors to write online reviews. Remember we’ve talked about the importance of reviews.
Incorporate IoT and build smart rooms.
The IoT refers to incorporating smart technologies into your everyday life. In our case, that means integrating these technologies into your hotel operations. That might be a smart TV in your hotel room or an app allowing visitors to control lighting, music, or heating & cooling in your room.
So, what are these capable of doing? Smart hotel rooms enable guests to manage all amenities via mobile applications or home assistants (for example Alexa or Google Home). You may also control window shades or room service orders, and more.
The hotel industry values unique experiences as fundamental determinants of good quality. Therefore, IoT appears as a way to differentiate your hotel from your rivals.
Take a look at this. London-based hotel, Eccleston Square, provides IoT services where visitors can control almost everything in the room with the inbuilt panel next to their bed. Check out their website for inspiration.
Reduce contact through mobile payments and self-check-in and outs.
According to research, 85% of visitors feel more comfortable when hotels utilize technology to minimize direct contact with staff. The least you can do to provide a contactless service is mobile payments through your hotel website.
Another convenience might be mobile check-in and outs. This way, visitors can enter their room without long waiting in line. For example, visitors prefer a keyless entrance to the room using apps, RFID, or recognition technology.
Let’s look at an example. Four Sisters Inns designed a messaging platform that visitors utilize to contact hotel personnel. This app enables them to order food or room service without human contact.
Organize virtual hotel tours.
Virtual hotel tours enhance the booking process by allowing visitors to see the hotel decor and experience amenities beforehand. These tours mostly require utilizing VR, AR, and 3D tour technologies.
For example, with or without a VR headset, visitors might wander around the hotel using VR and 3D tour tech. This experience makes the customer feel safer about what to expect in the hotel.
The room sizes, the quality of amenities, and the hotel decor become much more predictable with virtual tours than mere photographs. After all, people want to see what they pay for, especially if these hotels are for luxury lovers.
Join the Metaverse world.
Metaverse is the new trend in the digital world. This technology allows customers to sell and purchase virtual items and lands, just like in the physical world. That makes this virtual world function as another marketplace. And remember that the demand is too high nowadays.
Hoteliers might advertise their hotel in this virtual world with unique marketing strategies. You may work with specific influencers that can promote your hotel on their social channels. Additionally, you can offer virtual promotional gifts or organize virtual events in Metaverse.
You can build your Meta hotel. You have a limited number of rooms and personnel in the real world, yet in the Metaverse, there is no limit to where it goes. Also, you will eliminate many expenses such as cleaning.
For more info about Metaverse, read our related article.
Digital transformation presents many advantages for hoteliers. While this process enables you to save time and money, it also increases efficiency in your hotel. Moreover, digitization can get you more customers in real life and the Metaverse universe.
You should first determine your goals with digital transformation. Once you make up your mind, then, try to find the best technologies that can assist you in achieving your objectives. Remember that each goal might require thinking of different scenarios and setting various priorities in your digital strategy.
A digital transformation for a hotel business consists of 10 fundamental steps. In short, you should:
- create an effective digital marketing strategy,
- design a mobile-friendly website,
- include engaging elements to your website,
- employ AI technology using chatbots and intelligent software,
- improve customer experience by utilizing CRM software,
- incorporate smart technologies,
- enable mobile payments and self-check-in and outs,
- organize virtual hotel tours,
- invest in Metaverse to boost bookings and improve your digital advertising.
You can contact us to learn more.
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