I wanted to get talking with hoteliers after the past year’s challenges. Hospitality as an industry came together remarkably during the pandemic and a lot of us found creative ways to survive, help each other, and educate ourselves. How did hoteliers do it? What are the tactics they used to keep their businesses afloat? What helped them?
This is Paul’s story from Losehill House, UK.
Paul Roden, owner and manager of Losehill House Hotel since 2007. The property has been hosting guests for the past 90 years and has a great history dating back to Saxon times.
The hotel grows most of the food they use at their restaurant and produces local, organic beeswax soap.
Flora: Hi Paul, tell us about your background first!
Paul: We purchased Losehill House 14 years ago, before that I was a chartered accountant. I am very dedicated to the Leisure and Hospitality industry. What I love most about using various hotel tech is that cloud-based technology allows you to manage your business 24/7 which is wonderful for workaholics like me.
Flora: We can imagine that this past year has been a challenge, what kind of changes were implemented at your property? How did your operations and work change?
Paul: The change started for us in 2019, when we embarked upon a complete upgrade of our Hotel systems. We moved to a cloud-based PMS with HotelTime as the first step. We then were able to select integrations with best in class third-party providers that allowed us to create an extensive and fully integrated solution to the hotel systems needs. That is how we stumbled upon GuestJoy.
Technology should not be difficult
Technology can be very easy to implement, your team might not be on board with it in the first place, but quieter times are perfect to make these changes that will eventually pay off. Especially if you are switching to products that are more concise, that cover multiple functionalities and are cloud-based. After all modern guests require modern solutions!
We know that this past year was financially straining, so keep in mind:
💰 How much the products that you use cost?
⬇️ Can you try new solutions at your hotel that are cheaper?
🎁 How can you create deals for your guests?
⬆️ Can you upscale for those who can finally spend?
Flora: So you have started using some new technologies. How did that work out?
Paul: The pandemic really accelerated the implementation of a whole new suite of software. Moving to cloud-based was just the first step. The role of Guestjoy in being able to communicate accurately and in a rapidly changing environment in terms of Covid 19 was invaluable. The pre-stay email and announcements, in addition to the post-stay feedback email, the engagement data really helped us assess the response of guests to our Covid safe strategy as well as other enjoyment factors.
I believe it is crucial from now on to have a guest communication tool that keeps everyone assured and feeling safe. It’s not just about any virus, but your deals, offers, and hotel policy too. The fact that GuestJoy does this so smoothly made my life so much easier.
Flora: What we have been seeing technology-wise is that online check-in and guest communication tools are extremely important. Reduced staff, guests wanting more distance than before, it can all be difficult to manage. Is there any technology that you think is a necessity for any property these days?
Paul: Technology has been critical in allowing the business to continue to operate whilst we are closed – online bookings – changes in reservations, refunds and moving to future dates have all been possible with the cloud-based remote operating.
Flora: Finally, what do you think, what are the trends for this summer?
Paul: We are hopeful! I think there will be a large influx of bookings for this summer – staycations – or for later in 2021, as the UK is planning to re-open in May. The strong rates and occupancy are very encouraging. Guests are also looking to upgrade in terms of quality and experience – higher quality room, spa treatments etc because they weren’t able to travel in 2020 and in the first half of 2021. The motto for this summer is definitely “treat yourself”.
Keep in mind the trends 2021 brought
There are a few things new travellers and new generations definitely don’t need anymore. The minibar and car rentals are a thing of the past; Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z are more about instagrammable cocktails with a nice view and ordering ridesharing services. But what else has changed?
Sustainability & Slow travel: People want memorable experiences, but most of us are aware of the impact we cause. Unique experiences that give back to local communities in meaningful ways are in demand, as are niche properties, adventurous holidays and relaxation retreats. This could be local goods, bike trips, or nature hikes with local restaurant outings, possibly in places where they serve organic food – that’s another key trend to watch.
Finally, stating the obvious, smooth, fast and easy guest experiences, processes that are automated and require minimal effort from the guest. Such as online check-in, ordering extras or communicating with the hotel via a chat bot or email. Would you like to learn how to implement any of these? Click on the button below.