We hear the word modern every day, but what does it really mean? It means relating to the present rather than the past. It is new, contemporary.
Hospitality per se is nothing new. People for centuries have accommodated others, famous inns, hotels and vacation places have always had kind, smart and educated personnel who catered to guests. I think we should take pride in this. Hospitality is such an ancient profession, one with a great past – after all diplomats, monarchs, artists and celebrities of all kinds are constantly using our services, just as much as millennials, young backpackers and average families.
However, Hospitality can and should be modern!
There are so many aspects to that. From refurnishing, re-designing lobbies, receptions & renewing your menu (hey, catering to special diets is on the rise, isn’t it?). Or offering more at your hotel than the traditional laundry services and minibar.
Consumer behaviour has changed drastically with technology on the rise. The new generation is all about the HERE & NOW, they are fast, impatient and want everything immediately (ugh 😫). However, it’s not just that people expect information and services to be immediately available (and of course also available online). People who realized that the everyday computer rut took over their lives are also your customers. Slow lifers, who advocate slow travel still use their smartphones to book, but they represent a very different modernity. This means hotel’s need to digitalize.
Modern hospitality and hotels cater for the need of the modern guest. But how can a property adapt?
Personalization is key.
From Spotify to Instagram and even LinkedIn mostly – if not only – shows content that is relevant to the user. A lot of apps these days have personalized notification, bits of information and recommendations that are tailored just for us. And let’s be honest, we love it. We feel special because the algorithm knows what we want to see.
According to this study, 72% of businesses now follow a path to customization (as opposed to standardization) when delivering customer experiences.
The hospitality industry is no exception from this a modern property uses tools or staff to make guests feel special, and cater to all their needs effortlessly. There are even academics from the École Hotelier writing about this. Modern hospitality means no bullsh@t, no time to waste, and all guest-facing services delivered smoothly.
However, we know that this is actually not at all smooth or effortless on the hotelier side. After all, you probably don’t have time to analyze all guest bookings to differentiate between a family of four or four gal-pals travelling. What’s the solution then?
Just remember your own household 30 years ago and now. Assess all the changes in how you use the internet (both for work and entertainment). That all can be implemented in your hospitality systems too.
We all use mobile phones, tablets, and obviously, your booking system, hotel website and communication need to be working on all these devices as well.
Everything should be seamless and easy to navigate. Just like how you set up a Youtube or Spotify list, everything about your booking processes, emailing and check-in should be seamless and easy to use. Let’s not forget, Millennials and Gen-Z aren’t the only ones booking online, people at the age of 60-70 and on also have smartphones.
How many of us just order food. Instead of going to a restaurant. (Let’s try to think beyond the need for delivery created by the lockdown). How many of us prefer to buy stuff online instead of going to a shop? It’s convenient! It’s easier, it’s self-service. People like to do things ‘their way’ whenever they would like. Just like with the buffet breakfast, there are many other things you can make self-service in your hotel. Take the procedures of purchasing extras (upselling) or check-in.
If you present guests with the opportunity to purchase (online, in a form of self-service) your sales will only increase, because it’s not as pushy as personally at the reception, or not as tacky as a flyer in the room.
The guest has the liberty to make the purchase from the comfort of their room/home, and they will if it’s cleverly worded and of value.
Differentiate your hotel.
Who do you cater to? Who is your main guest persona? What do they want? This also falls under the personalization category. Our Co-Founder talks all about this in her opinion piece. Each hotel has it’s own demographic, try to find out what’s yours in terms of age, traveller type (business? romantic couples? touring elderly?). Then try to cater to that with your settings, food, digitalization and of course special offers. Andrew, head of Customer Experience jotted down his thoughts on that here.
But it’s not just personalization in terms of service. Boutique and Concept hotels are on the rise! Just as funky concept hostels and apartments. If you have the finances to create something unique then this is your time to do so! The modern traveller will love it.
My key takeaways:
– Guest expectations have changed, we all use technology in our daily lives – hotels are no exception!
– Personalization is key – everyone wants to feel special.
– Allow guests to handle things on their own – self-service. It will also save you time and labour.
– Differentiate your hotel – why are you the best choice for your demographic in your area?
What is your take on modern hotels? What could be improved in your property? Let us know here or on social media.