One of a number of White Papers I’ve written for It consulting firm Atech Support. Designed to highlight sector hot topics and create a focus for the company’s marketing activity in a particular sector, the tone of voice is accessible, informed and conversational, making clear the company’s readiness to express its opinions as well as to help its clients innovate. White paper for IT consultancy Atech.
Effective and competitive use of digital technologies in hospitality businesses is no longer an issue of back-office systems or the quality of wi-fi connectivity. Digital hospitality technologies today define the entire lifecycle of the guest experience, with the potential to deliver guests a highly prized combination of personalised services and individual autonomy.
Keeping Your Hotel On Track In The Age of Digital Hospitality.
The impact of digital technology is all pervasive in today’s hospitality industry, challenging legacy practices and systems while creating exceptional opportunities for hotel operators willing to make the investments required.
At the heart of all of today’s opportunities and challenges lie the ever more tech-engaged guests occupying your rooms. Typically armed with more than two devices each, today’s guests come with service expectations fuelled by their always connected, app functionalised, on-demand experience as consumers and, in particular, as travellers.
Meet today’s Tech Savvy guest
Hospitality app builder Criton reports that 85% of international tourists now arrive in your lobby with a mobile device. 76% of travellers say their phone is their most important travel companion.
While the role of website and app bookings is by now central to everyone’s hospitality thinking, what now matters equally is your ability to meet guests’ expectations for a digitally-enriched stay.
62% of guests say they are likely to check in via an app when possible, and 65% of guests are online within 7 minutes of checking in.
88% of all guests now look for a mobile app which will enable them to personalise their experience while they are with you, and 77% want to use that app so they can access your core facilities like room service from their phone.
How travel sector growth looks right now
2019 has seen an expansion of around 4% in the global travel industry, notwithstanding the slowing economic growth in both Europe and China. Travel & Tourism grew 3.9% to $8.8tn in 2018. Here in Britain, one of the few places where T&T underperformed economic growth due to the protracted Brexit negotiations, the sector still accounted for $311bn, about 11% of overall GDP.
As a result Atech believes that, regardless of global economic movements, the sector is proving resilient. It’s our view that this resilience, combined with the UK’s stayed growth and intensely competitive market, is the key driver in the case for sustained investment in digital enhancement of the hotel guest experience.
The role of mobile search
Travellers use all of their devices when planning and booking journeys and hotels, but the rate at which booking by mobile was outgrowing booking via desktop had already increased from 3x to 10x by 2017.
Very many users now search, compare and make their bookings almost wholly on their phones, with Criteo reporting up to 80% of last minute bookings being made in this way.
While OTA’s process a very large share of online bookings (41% in the US by 2020), hotel operators with their own apps and loyalty programs gain the opportunity to provide mobile users with the marketing incentives and ease of use key to securing their business.
Industry investment in digital technology
Atech is of the view that if you operate in the hospitality sector today, like it or not, you are largely a technology business.
Competing for bookings, streamlining the wearying experience of travelling, anticipating your guests’ wishes, catering for and entertaining them, and helping them carry on with their lives comfortably and seamlessly while staying with you are most effectively achieved through smart use of digital technologies.
The investment required to deliver this shows rapid returns, however. 65% of recently surveyed hotel guests will pay more for, and are more likely to return to, a hotel with high quality technology. 44% were more likely to book a smart hotel; and 69% claimed to prefer making use of smart-room features.
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