Industry Update
Opinion Article16 October 2020

Fulfilling Guest Needs in a Post-COVID and Guest Room-Centric Era

Advertorial by Pierre Agrario, Vice President of Account Management and Business Development at Bartech International

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The hotel guest room is undergoing a transformation, and it's up to hoteliers to decide how this space can be activated in the future. As customer touch points continue to erode and sanitation takes precedence over every other aspect of a guests' stay, hotels need to find ways to remain experiential while proving for guests' needs during a socially distant climate. Hotels have the opportunity to steer the conversation back to the experiential nature of travel using a familiar service with updated technology— minibars.

In light of COVID, hoteliers have re-engineered the guest room space to make it easier to sanitize, at the cost of many guest room conveniences. On top of this, communication between hotels and guests has begun to shift to phone calls and text-based exchanges. Hotels are giving up the most impactful guest touch points they have, while travelers are losing out on guest room conveniences.

Hotels are now faced with a challenge: How can they remain true to the pressures created by predictive analytics and properly anticipate guest needs when guests are more difficult to interact with than ever before? One way to do so is by providing targeted amenities for purchase in the guest room through minibars. Guests are already accustomed to making minibar purchases, now they need to be presented with more impactful amenities in the guestroom.

This serves a dual purpose: First as a means to provide a safe, convenient way for guests to get the amenities they need, while also creating a viable source of alternative revenue for hotels.

New Guest, New Needs

It's important for hoteliers to understand who their guests are prior to arrival. Guest needs have changed a great deal since COVID emerged, from how they pack for travel to the amenities they are seeking once on the road. Today's travelers have as much interest in bottled water as they do in PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). However, PPE cannot be sold the same way traditional minibar products are sold.

First of all, hotel guests need to be assured that any PPE they are purchasing has not been opened or tampered with. Using an enclosed minibar product, such as Bartech's NeoTray, operators can display any PPE they have on offer without necessitating guests touch it. A sticker can also be added to the outside of the tray as an added guarantee that any PPE inside is sanitized.

Positioning amenities like these in the guest room is an effective way for hoteliers to show guests you are taking their safety seriously. Anyone purchasing PPE also likely has a short-term need for the equipment, and creating a dedicated point-of-sale for PPE in the guest room increases convenience and the likelihood of a purchase.

Profit and Retention

Hotel profit centers have suffered greatly in COVID's wake. With fewer hotel restaurants open and the loss of major revenue-generating areas such as spas, retail, and events, hotels have to be mindful of new ways to generate revenue in-house.

Guests are going to purchase the amenities they need while on the road, so it's in hotels' best interest to ensure those purchases are made on property. Fewer people are making trips to the lobby to find amenities or snacks at the hotel general store. Hoteliers have an opportunity today to redirect guest attention to the minibar and reinforce what has traditionally been a strong profit center in hotels.

Modern minibar products also provide more control over the retail environment than hotels are used to. Bartech's Minibar+ allows for full remote monitoring and temperature control, and can be used to display sealed, pre-packaged dry goods alongside traditional minibar items. This allows operators to completely track minibar stock and control internal temperatures to reduce costs, all with minimized guest impact.

The guest room is in flux, and hotels can take advantage of the situation by creating an environment that fosters guest interaction and communication from afar. Technology exists to remove friction from every aspect of the stay experience—and this includes the purchase experience. Guests don't need a new way to do something that already works, they need existing platforms to meet their desires today.

Related Products

eTray

The eTray provides hotels and resorts with the ability to conform to a more guest-centric approach where an array of non-traditional purchase items can be instantly made available in-room and without requiring guests to come into close contact with staff or other guests.

product details

Minibar+

Minibar+ is an innovative solution that enhances Bartech"s manual minibars with semi-automatic functionality. Simple to set up and implement, Minibar+ is a "plug and play" solution that is available as a downloadable application, easily adding semi-automatic functionality to Bartech"s manual units to give hotel operators the ability to control key functions of these devices without having to set foot in the guestroom.

product details

NeoTray

Bartech's NeoTray is an ideal solution for the new guestroom-centric travel experience, allowing properties to generate much-needed in-room revenue, while offering a convenient and valuable guest service.

product details
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    About Bartech

    For nearly 30 years, Bartech has been a pioneer and a leader in the field of minibar design and technology for the global hospitality industry. Since introducing the world's first open-display automatic minibar, Bartech has developed a stellar reputation as the provider of the industry's most powerful and sophisticated solutions to manage hotel minibar operations.

    With hundreds of thousands of minibars installed in more than 85 countries, Bartech has been selected by many of the most prestigious hotel chains and independent properties worldwide. With an in-house R&D department and worldwide customer support, Bartech is dedicated to continuously enhancing product design, software and system integration with the latest technologies, in order to meet the growing needs of the industry for increased profit and efficiency. For more information, please visit www.bartech.com.

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