What Hotels Learned from COVID-19
COVID-19 has transformed the Hospitality Industry and technology played a major role in enabling hotels to recover and to adapt to the new reality that COVID-19 brought about. The pandemic accelerated the use of technology as hotels needed to comply with health and safety standards in order to provide guests and staff with a safe environment. Hotels used contactless and other hotel technology to reduce interaction between guests and staff and to minimize the use of high touch areas that had the potential to spread the virus. Hotels began investing in new and innovative technology that not only allowed them to adhere to safety requirements but that also improved upon the guest experience.
Guests Crave Hotel Technology
Guests have become accustomed to the convenience that contactless and other hotel technology provides and technology allows hotels to offer the high-tech hotel experience that guests crave. A November 2020 hospitality survey conducted by software development company Metova, found that consumers preferred hotels that offered a digital experience. Almost 90% of those surveyed preferred to stay at hotels that had mobile apps that allowed them to manage their stay. 86% would choose a fully contactless hotel that enables mobile check-in/check-out and that offered a mobile app for concierge and facilities reservations over hotels that did not offer these contactless options. 68% of those surveyed felt that mobile check-in/check-out would add the most value to their future stays, 61% thought mobile key was most important and 55% believed that a mobile app for concierge would be most valuable.
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Mobile and Contactless Technology
Hotel technology offers an enhanced hotel experience that guests have become accustomed to and technology has enabled hotels to offer guests a fully digital hotel experience from the moment they check-in up until their departure. Mobile technology enables guests to check in from anywhere around the world with mobile check-in and the addition of mobile key gives guests access to guest rooms without the need to interact with hotel staff. Guests can also use their mobile devices to access elevators, meeting rooms and other areas of the hotel. Hotels have also invested in self-service kiosks, some kiosks use facial recognition and biometric technology to enable self check-in and check-out. Mobile technology also extends to the guestrooms by giving guests access to digital menus, food ordering and contactless payments.
Guest messaging allows guests to interact with hotel staff prior to their arrival and throughout their stay. Hotels have had to change their polices due to the pandemic and many hotels used guest messaging to inform guests about the safety standards implemented by their hotels. Contactless hotel technology doesn’t stop there, guest-room controls allow guests to use their mobile devices to operate the hotel TV, to control the thermostat, to control lighting and even to control the curtains and blinds. The investment in these contactless solutions create a safer and more enhanced hotel experience for guests and gives them access to hotel experiences right at their fingertips.
Hotel Cleaning Technology
A recent survey commissioned by the AHLA and conducted by Morning Consult, found that cleanliness had a significant impact on hotel choice. 81% of travelers felt more comfortable staying at hotels that implemented cleaning protocols and standards as a means of combatting the spread of COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic, hotels had to come up with new and innovative ways to ensure cleanliness and to combat the spread of the virus. Hotels began investing in cleaning technology, such as electrostatic sprayers that deliver an electric charge to disinfect surfaces to ensure that areas are properly sanitized. Hotels also used UV technology which is effective against microbes and has the capability of cleaning large surface areas and anti-microbial lighting provides lighting while simultaneously disinfecting surface areas.
Hotels have taken their efficiency and safety standards to the next level by utilizing hotel robots. These robots have the ability to sanitize rooms and clean areas that could pose an elevated risk to employees. They can also be used in food service and have the capability to deliver any number of items that guests may require and are highly effective at limiting guests and employee interaction.
Hotel WIFI is Essential
A powerful WIFI network is essential in implementing mobile technology and other smart technology for hotels. Without a fast and reliable WIFI network, hotels would not be able to offer guests the convenience and safety that contactless technology provides. COVID-19 has resulted in a shift in the workplace, as many employees are now working remotely. Those remote workers that choose to work from hotels will be booking hotels that they are confident can meet their WIFI expectations. High speed hotel internet is essential, as guests want to connect to a hotel network that enables presentations, video conferencing and that gives them the ability to connect virtually to coworkers without interruption. Guests are also traveling with multiple devices and will require more bandwidth. WIFI has become an essential amenity for guests and could have an impact on revenue. Hoteliers need to consult with reputable internet service providers that will keep them abreast of the latest technological trends and needs, that will meet guests’ expectations of instant connectivity and network security.
Reliable WIFI Gives Hotels a Competitive Edge
Hotel WIFI is no longer considered a convenience, it has become an expectation and can have an impact on the overall guest satisfaction. The majority of guests are basing their booking decisions on a hotel brand’s WIFI reputation. Hotel Internet Services conducted a Hospitality WIFI study that gathered responses from 670 guests and 200 hoteliers. 93% of guests felt that complimentary WIFI was the most important amenity and 90% felt that it was very important to have access to WIFI during their hotel stay. The survey also discovered that 58% of guests felt that WIFI service would have an impact on their booking decisions. 90% of adults own smartphones and a strong WIFI network is essential in enabling hotels to invest in mobile solutions in order to provide the seamless hotel experience that guests want.