Although the COVID-19 lockdowns are finally subsiding, hotels find themselves caught in the horns of a dilemma: On the one hand, hotels face increasing pressure to greatly enhance their hygiene and social distancing policies. On the other hand, hotels themselves are reopening with reduced resources, and considerably smaller staff sizes. And they must do all of this while still maintaining exceptional standards of personalized service.
According to a recent survey of almost 500 hoteliers conducted by StaynTouch, ReviewPro and Fuel, hotels have been forced to implement broad budgetary cuts in responses to the prolonged lockdowns, including staff layoffs/furloughs. The size of these layoffs have been significant, with about half of the hotels surveyed planning on reopening with 25-50% fewer staff members, and 11% reopening with less than a quarter of their original teams. Thus the dilemma: How can hotels deliver enhanced service with fewer staff and resources?
The PMS of the Post-COVID Era Must be Able to Capitalize on Multiple Tech Innovations
In order to navigate the new normal, hotels will have to invest in a technological ecosystem that can streamline operations, reduce costs, increase revenues, promote social distancing, and enhance the guest experience. And a mobile, cloud-based PMS lies at the heart of that ecosystem.
Open-APIs allow data to be shared across multiple platforms and touchpoints, creating a unified view of guest data, rather than multiple compartmentalized data silos. In the pre-COVID era, data silos created problems because they wasted resources and inhibited the creation of a fully integrated and personalized guest journey. These problems are only magnified in the post-COVID era, where technological solutions require the seamless integration of multiple platforms.
Utilize Mobile and Contactless Check-In to Promote Social Distancing and Personalize the Guest Experience
Take mobile self-check-in: In order to give your guests a fully contactless check-in experience, you have to integrate a mobile check-in platform, a contactless payment platform, a keyless entry platform, and a platform for mobile guest messaging. None of this can be done without a mobile PMS that integrates seamlessly with other peripheral systems.
Before COVID-19, mobile self check-in was a luxury for high-tech or forward thinking hotels. Today, it's an absolute necessity. In fact, numerous industry associations, including the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and the U.S. Travel Association, have recommended contactless technology as a critical component of social distancing and enhanced hygiene protocols.
A mobile PMS can also personalize the guest journey by giving your guests a choice in how they want to check in: Whether through their mobile device, a guest-facing smart kiosk strategically positioned to promote social distancing, or a friendly agent, aided by a tablet that lets them handle guest requests from anywhere on the property.
Utilize Automation to Get the Most out of Your housekeeping Team
Leveraging automation also has the potential to revolutionize how you manage your housekeeping teams. Unlike the old "clipboard and walkie-talkie" method, a mobile PMS can provide occupancy, room status and guest information updates instantly, meaning your housekeeping team can clean more rooms more efficiently, while also maintaining proper social distance from guests. A mobile PMS can also integrate with enhanced housekeeping checklists, so that you can be certain that your property's high-traffic areas are being cleaned according to the exacting standards set by governments and industry associations.
Driving Ancillary Revenue at times of Low Occupancy
The industry is dealing with indefinitely depressed occupancy, so it's critical to maximize the revenue generated by each guest during their stay, while also empowering travelers to personalize their own guest journey. By combining a unified guest profile, mobile check-in and automation, a mobile PMS can send targeted, automated offers for room upgrades, amenities, and monetized early check-in/ late check-out, directly to your guests' mobile device. Guests can purchase the exact upgrades and amenities they want, without having to endure a scripted "upsell" conversation at the front desk.
Invest in Mobile to Optimize Your Total Cost of Ownership
Hotels in the post-COVID era are in a uniquely precarious position, having to deliver heightened service with reduced resources. Given this environment, many hoteliers are reluctant to invest in new technology. But this view is actually mistaken. The key is to look at the system's total cost of ownership: Cloud-based, mobile PMS platforms have significantly lower maintenance costs, because they have no need to maintain costly onsite-servers. Unlike legacy systems, cloud PMS's are based on a software as a service (SaaS) model, which includes automated system updates and upgrades with new feature releases every few weeks at no additional cost. With cloud technology, hoteliers are empowered to deliver exceptional service on a lean staff, and generate revenue while personalizing the guest experience. Put simply, a mobile, cloud PMS represents the next generation of PMS technology in a post-pandemic era.
Stayntouch delivers a fully mobile guest-centric hotel property management system (PMS) with a comprehensive library of over 1100+ best-of-breed integrations. Our cloud-native PMS platform empowers hotels to drive revenue, reduce costs, enhance service, and captivate their guests. Backed by a team of professionals with deep roots in the hospitality industry, Stayntouch is a trusted partner to industry-leading management companies such as Sage Hospitality, HEI Hotels & Resorts, and EOS Hospitality, innovated independent brands such as Village Hotels, Pod Hotels, and First Hotels, and iconic independent properties such as the TWA Hotel, Showboat Hotel Atlantic City, and Zoku Amsterdam. For more information, visit www.stayntouch.com.