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Technology Trends for Innkeepers in 2019 My visit to Hitech 2019 - Minneapolis MN.
Hitech is a yearly trade show that boasts as the world's largest hospitality & technology show, bringing the brightest minds and new tech to one place.
This year It was held in at the Minneapolis Convention Center from June 17th -20th. Some of Hospitality’s largest software providers and serviceproviders were there. In this article I want to highlight the top three trends that I see for this year and going forward. These were the main technology trends that companies are targeting the Innkeepers and hoteliers with.
There were 3 technologies that dominated theme at this 2019 technology show.
- Guest Experience & Customer Relationship Management Software
- Intelligent Website Design & Digital Marketing with Mobile Platforms
- OTAs, Brands & Google/Amazon/Airbnbintrusion into the hotel& lodging space.
Guest Experience and Customer Relationship Management–
This topic has gained considerable importance in the Hospitality industryin recent months. The main reason being customer expectations are changing, and customers are expecting the same type of experience that they get when they are booking a flight. With a typical flight booking, the airline seems to be in constant communication with the traveler, allowing them to Pre-check-in, giving them an option to choose their seats and updating them on any late departures or gate changes etc. These are commonly expected, this type of personalization is now being required of Hotels andBed & Breakfasts.
According to a Forbes article on travel trends of the Millennials which is becoming the largest sector of travelers, "The upcoming trend in travel is personalization. Everyone has different interests; some people are into camping, others are into staying at boutique hotels or getting pampered in spas, while others may prefer large beach resorts".
Properties should use their reservation software to target the guests and communicate the way they want to talk to you. For the most part,Hotels & Inns are only engaged with the guest from search to purchase, but afterwards there is no interaction. It is not enough to have only social media posts, as Social media does not fit everyone. You might want to send a pre-check-in, after Stay, birthdays, anniversary, we are thinking about you, we have a new package types of emails, all sent automatically.
Most Reservations and Hotel Software systems such as Easy Innkeeping can provide these auto email options. Overall END TO END CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE NEEDS TO BE A WAY FOR KEEPING UP WITH THE GUESTS.
Intelligent Website Design & Digital Marketing with Mobile Platforms -
Websites are taking on a more important role than ever before. Online customer acquisition cost is has increased in the last year. Labor cost being the biggest expense, the second biggest cost for a property is customer acquisition cost. This could be 15% for a reservation through an OTA such as Expedia or Booking.com. Brands such as Marriot have ad campaigns to push customers towards their own website for making reservations instead of going to the OTA sites. Also, they have come with their promotions to win back customer that book on OTAs.So, booking engines have to become more intelligent. For example, if you go to Google and type in a hotel name where you have stayed before. Google will tell you exactly, “You have been here 3 years back”. This type of intelligence is being required of the booking engines to recognize guests that have been there before as well as knowing which room they stayed in, and what they purchased while at the property. This will provide a more customized and friendly experience for the guests.
Online Booking Software vendors need to move toward this type of Artificial intelligence booking Technology in the near future. GraceSoft is working on updating our booking engine software to accommodate these changes. Everything has to be mobile friendly, as more and more people use their mobile phone to do everything from ordering food to paying for their coffee,to booking their hotel rooms.
OTAs, Brands,and Google/Amazon/Airbnb intrusion into the hotel & lodging space.
The market space with OTAs like booking.com / Expedia and their affiliates, that used to dominate the online booking industry are starting to have some serious contenders in the market. These trends of competition are going to increase and not diminish. For instance, Airbnb.According to Vox magazine, consumers spent more on Airbnb than on Hilton in 2018. But, at the same time, we see the trend that everyone is starting to focus on Home stays and rentals. As reported by Fortune, Booking.com beats Airbnb on home stays. Now enter the TECH GIANTS. Google, with itsGoogle Destination and Google Trips is entering into the same market which will cut into the OTA segment. Amazon had a big presence with the Alexa for Hospitality at the 2019 Hitech. People that use Alexa could say, “Alexa I need you to book me a room in Minneapolis”, and give their preference. Alexa will do based on its own information.
Overall, for small to mid-sized properties, hotel reservation systems need to customize the guest experience and use leading edge software to provide a wide range of customer analytics. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to see a demo of our software.