Blog - Transforming Hotels
Few industries have dealt with the level of disruption the hotel industry has seen in 2020. With occupancy rates plummeting due to a lack of international travel, the hotel sector is experiencing a period of extended uncertainty.
What is certain is that hotel guests will eventually return, as enthusiastic travellers will be desperate to visit Australia’s shores. When they do, hotels will have an opportunity to impress their guests with an all-new accommodation experience.
Like every facet of modern life, hotel guests’ expectations of experiences is increasingly driven by the level of service and convenience that digital technology provides. In the era of Airbnb, guests are accustomed to accommodation providers who go above and beyond to ensure always on connectivity, seamless check-in procedures, and the best available entertainment.
Meeting the next generation of guest experiences will require hotels to undertake their own digital transformation. In an era of uncertainty, many organisations go into a holding pattern with their technology decisions - and hoteliers and hospitality businesses may feel a temptation to do the same.
We know from McKinsey research after the 2008 Global Financial Crisis that those businesses who moved quickly during a crisis are more likely to survive, particularly those organisations that accelerate digital transformation programs. So, where should hotels and hospitality businesses be focusing their digital transformation efforts, to prepare for the future?
Creating an integrated technology environment
The best advice for digital transformation is actually ubiquitous across industries. In hotels however, an integrated technology environment is especially important. While technology has long been deployed to facilitate the administration operation of hotels, digital transformation program should focus on how these technologies contribute to the end guest experience.
This means bringing together your infrastructure across storage and networking to support the applications, devices, and experiences operating throughout your hotel. Disconnections between the different elements of your technology environment will lead to disconnected guest experiences.
Bringing home to the hotel
We cannot ignore the fact that hotel guests are often accustomed to highly advanced consumer technology in their own homes - from smart TVs to superfast Wi-Fi and AI-enabled smart speakers. While replicating this level of functionality at scale is difficult, there are many avenues for impressing hotel guests when given the opportunity.
Hotel Internet Services conducted a survey to determine how in-room entertainment and technology expectations have changed, and found that 60% of guests would use voice control technology if present in the room and nearly 70% would use it for in-room you all amenities like thermostat and light controls. In addition to this kind of technology, 67% of guests also want the ability to cast personal content from their own devices to the room’s TV.
Focus on safety and security
One area where hotel guests expectations have changed radically in 2020 is safety. In the wake of a pandemic, hotel guests will be expecting hotels and hospitality businesses to put measures in place that keep them and their families healthy, safe, and secure. According to a survey by AHLA and Morning Consult, 85% of guests say they’d feel more comfortable staying at hotels that use technology to reduce direct contact.
In a dynamic and connected environment, digital security should also be a key concern for hotels and hospitality businesses. Network security and robust user access controls are important, as is having a highly secure device environment. When procuring new devices, priority should be placed on those devices which offer the most robust endpoint protection - as this is a key for mobility within hotel environments.
At MCS, we’ve been working with some of Australia’s leading hotel groups to help them transform their technology environment for the future. With flexible financing options available, we can help your hotel begin tackling your most timely digital transformation objectives today - so you can offer the best possible experience to your guests tomorrow.
In partnership with HP, we’re also pleased to offer their Elite range of devices, all of which include a three year warranty and the most robust in-built device security available on the market. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can partner with you in digitally transforming your guest experience.