Wind turbines producing clean energy

While we can still work to prevent some of the environmental threats, others should be reversed. Being a large part of the tourism industry, hotels can contribute to making a significant difference by applying certain changes in their policies.

Apart from offering the obviously necessary environmental benefits, sustainability in hospitality also proves to be more profitable in the long run by lowering costs and attracting consumers. While owning or managing a hotel or resort you have access to a number of practices which will make the place more eco-friendly.

Eliminating plastics

It is no news that plastics are not environmentally feasible. Single-use plastic items, produced for a whole range of purposes are used for one day or shorter. When disposed of, they take 1000 years to decompose, acting as a menace for all animals, especially marine life during that time.

However, it’s becoming clear now that it can be replaced in almost all circumstances. Biodegradable materials, paper bags, and cloth bags are an easy solution for storing laundry, food, and other purposes. You can use wax wraps instead of plastic to store food products. Instead of providing guests with plastic toothbrushes, provide them with eco-friendly bamboo ones with a sweet note that informs them of its organic origin and encourages them to take the toothbrush home after their stay.

Unnecessary Packaging

Thanks to the increased awareness, many consumers wary of public places that promote the use of plastics. They tend to avoid these places, ruining hoteliers whose success depends on attracting customers. There are a number of startups that offer refills without the hassle of plastic packaging for food products, cleaning supplies and toiletries. Many famous chains including Marriott have successfully started placing pump bottles in washrooms instead of tiny bottles of shampoos and lotions.

Utensils

One of the most common plastic items on hotel tables are straws. Millions of straws are used and discarded every day. Instead, you can swap them for metal straws, which are safer and can be recycled. Straws made from bamboo or other plant-based materials serve the same way as normal straws but unlike plastic, they decompose easily. Many hotels, bars and restaurants around the world have already opted to go with reusable steel straws instead of plastic ones. There have even been some really interesting developments that can leave your guests wowed, for example, pasta straws that have been developed recently by an Italian manufacturer.

Waste Not Want Not

75% of the environmental issues in the hospitality sector are related to the excessive consumption of resources. Thanks to the latest technologies, you can prevent this with ease:

Waste Utilization

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. The things we throw out can often be reused and recycled to serve beyond their original purpose. For instance, many vegetable cuttings can be used to create compost, which can provide important nutrition for your garden. Stained tablecloths and bed sheets can be recycled into new aprons for chefs or into new laundry bags, as proven by one hotel in Toronto. Set up a recycling system for the trash and prompt your guests to properly use it by putting up informational posters.

Go Paper Free

In an era of astounding technological advances, relying on paper for your day-to-day customer dealings seems not just old-fashioned, but wasteful as well. Almost everyone today owns and uses a smartphone. Every business needs to adapt with its audience, therefore many hotels have developed their own smartphone applications and blogs that the customers can enjoy.

Through such facilities, customers can also pay bills, check in and check out, give reviews and suggestions all at their fingertips. Smart travel assistants like Manet offer tools that help hotels meet at best their guests’ needs making their stay unique as well as sustainable by eliminating the need to print menus, catalogues, leaflets and any other paper based marketing material that hoteliers need to sell their ancillary services.

Tropical Climate? Collect Rainwater

By collecting rainwater through a simple filter, you can save yourself up to 70% of the main water system’s usage. The Renewable Energy Hub is one company that offers such facilities.

Transport

Cars emit tons of carbon into the air every day. You can encourage your customers to use rentals and public transport by offering discounts and giving out a ‘walking map’ which shows all transport points. Environmentally-friendly options such as electric cars and bicycles can be encouraged in a similar manner by setting up bike rentals and EV charging outside the hotel.

Become Energy Efficient

Lighting

Automatic lighting systems are super convenient as they save your consumers the effort while simultaneously saving you bills. No one will have to remember about turning the lights off in their rooms when they go out, and the lights on the corridors won’t have to be on all night. Other options such as LED lights which have the lowest carbon footprint and last longer are a good option as well.

Another pocket-friendly alternative is to use natural daylight wherever and whenever possible. It is known to be an instant mood-lifter – a touch your guests will surely appreciate. You should try and also install skylights wherever possible.

Renewable Energy

Investing in renewable energy options such as windmills or the more common solar panels may seem expensive. But the one-time charges more than compensate for themselves when your electricity bills go down. These clean energy sources are free for you to utilize, and unlike fuel-powered alternates they produce no harmful emissions. Some governments subsidize investments such as these in order to promote sustainability.

Train Your Staff to be Environmentally Friendly

Last but not the least, it’s very important to train your staff on the importance of taking care of the environment. Give them yearly training courses teaching them to take care of non-renewable resources; switching off lights and appliances when they’re not in use, be mindful when using water and to report and fix any leaking pipes. A well-trained staff is more important than any equipment you can buy.

Investing in these eco-friendly technologies and techniques will help you save your costs as well as the environment. As inhabitants of this planet, we should take responsibility for it and do our part in making it better – not worse.

About the author:

Giles Kirkland is a clean technology enthusiast and sustainable living advocate who blogs about his passions. You can find more of his articles at Oponeo, on Facebook and Twitter.

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Neboola Logo

Manet Mobile Solutions is a fast growing and evolving, hospitality oriented and data centered company.

The main infranstructure priorities that have emerged since its foundation are 3:

Flexibility - Manet Mobile Solutions

Flexibility

Being a top-notch player in the hospitality technology industry depends on the ability of adapting fast to the dynamics of a constantly changing and highly competitive environment.

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Scalability

Modern competitive dynamics push companies to either grow fast or risk going out of business. Therefore fast growth is an imperative along with the ability to manage higher data and operations volumes.

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Security

Today’s most important business assets are consumer data. Protecting this data from threats and processing it in the respect of privacy regulations is vital.

For all the above reasons and after extensive market research aiming to identify a cloud solutions partner that could provide our company with the highest flexibility, scalability and security standards available on the market, we chose to rely on Neboola’s AWS based cloud solutions. Our CIO Andrea Proietti presents our partnership with Neboola in this article.

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Ancillary services - Manet Mobile Solutions - in room service

The competition has never been more intense for selling hotel stays and short-term leisure rentals to business and vacation travelers. Two factors that have acted together to drive down prices are online discount travel sites and the rise of Airbnb rentals.

However, instead of having a race to the bottom when it comes to pricing, accommodation providers need to find a way to add value to the hotel experience. Travelers will be willing to pay more if they perceive a vacation rental or hotel to have extra services that add to the value and enjoyment of their stay.

In the past, baby boomers have been the driving force behind profits for vacation and business travel accommodations. Today, millennials are beginning to join the ranks of work and leisure travelers, leading hotels to cater to their needs and desires as well.

For example, when new chains like Marriott’s Aloft and Radisson’s Blu advertised that they welcomed dogs, the more mainstream Holiday Inn Express wasn’t far behind in opening their doors to customers’ furry friends. 

Here are some other ways that hotels and short-term vacation rentals can continue to attract guests without sacrificing profits.

Business Travelers

Loyalty Programs

Frequent traveler programs have been around for a long time, and business travelers are the main recipients of the benefits. To really have an impact on guest loyalty, though, a hotel has to include more than just snacks and bottled water at check-in.

Some hotels provide a lounge for the exclusive use of top-tier members. Giving room upgrades whenever possible is another way to pamper these guests without affecting profits. And surveys have shown that corporate travelers are often willing to pay out of their own pockets for ancillary services that they consider valuable.

Luxury Touches

One way to attract and keep business travelers is to offer upscale accommodations that increase their comfort when they’re away from home. Luxury bed linens, a Keurig-style coffeemaker in the room, and a fully functional business center are a good start. Providing an airport shuttle, dry cleaning pickup and room service with expanded hours are other special touches that business travelers will appreciate and be willing to pay for.

Vacationers

Spa Treatments

Spa services may be one of the biggest draws for leisure travelers. Salon services such as manicures and pedicures, massages and facials elevate the value of the stay. Providing hair and skin treatments and in-room massage can be the difference that makes a lodging more desirable to a prospective guest. If a hotel doesn’t have the budget or facilities to offer spa treatments, partnering with a nearby luxury spa is an alternate way to attract guests and add revenue.

Hotel Shopping

Sundries shops used to be confined to luxury hotels, but in the past few years, on-site shopping has become a new option for vacationers at mid-priced hotels. The convenience of buying a six-pack of beer, treats and snacks, and even frozen dinners, is a value-added feature for guests. Offering these items for sale, along with headache medicine, phone chargers, batteries and toiletries, can be a profitable ancillary service for the hotel.

Vacation Rental Extras

From 2015 to 2017, extended-stay hotel stays grew at three times the national rate for other types of rentals in the hotel industry. Kitchens and living areas increased in size, with ancillary services like laundry facilities and bike rentals added to lure travelers to extended-stay hotels. 

Rental condos and homes can also provide these services for a modest fee to make a short-term rental an attractive choice for guests. This type of upgraded lodging is billed as apartment-style living with all the extras of a hotel.

Pet Accommodations

Recognizing the attachment people have to their dogs, some luxury hotels are providing pet services to entice travelers. Besides water and food bowls, treats and beds, a few upscale hotels even offer pet massages. Not only do guests get to bring their furry companions with them, but their pets can experience some pampering and it gives the hotel another revenue stream.

Ancillary services - Manet Mobile Solutions - pet friendly facilities

Counteracting the Airbnb Trend

For hotels and vacation rentals, a winning profit strategy is to differentiate these accommodations from the Airbnb model while highlighting increased opportunities for guests. Hotels can provide some of the same advantages as Airbnb along with others that are more difficult for private individuals to offer. 

The consistency and professionalism of a business that serves hundreds of thousands of travelers a year should be highlighted to persuade travelers to choose hotel accommodations over Airbnb rentals.

Networking with local businesses can also elevate the desirability of staying at a hotel. Local food, beverage and entertainment providers can turn the hotel lobby into a hub of interest and activity. This is something that vacationers will never experience in a private rental environment. 

Treating guests to live music or the chance to pay for activities like a ‘paint and sip’ wine party adds fun to the stay. It also gives the hotel an edge that translates into better profits.

The Tech Revolution

One ancillary service a hotel can use to take their image to the next level is adding a lobby touchscreen that connects to guest services, local restaurants and nightlife. Some hotels even have interactive screens that take selfies to be uploaded to guests’ social media accounts. 

Millennials are used to sending directions to their phones and connecting with local businesses at a touch. Touchscreens add to the hotel’s revenue through partnerships with local businesses at the same time they increase the hotel’s desirability to guests.

When guests check in, a hotel that offers the choice to swipe Apple Pay, Google Wallet or Venmo will have an edge over less tech-savvy establishments. Once they’re checked in, the ability of guests to connect with housekeeping or room service through a hotel app is another addition to the tech-forward image of a hotel.

The latest example of added hotel tech value is Alexa for Hospitality. This is a digital concierge that can answer guests’ queries about the hotel, play music, report on the weather, or make hands-free phone calls. The in-room Alexa console can also contact housekeeping and room service upon request. 

Ancillary services - Manet Mobile Solutions - digital concierge services

At smart hotels, guests can even ask their digital assistant to adjust the thermostat or raise and lower the blinds. Marriott is testing this perk in several of its hotel chains, including the millennial-geared Aloft hotels.

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Hotel KPIs - Manet Mobile Solutions

When it goes right, everything is good — when it goes wrong, it really goes wrong. As anyone working in hotel management knows, getting this difficult balancing act right is difficult. With this in mind, you need to keep an eye on the right Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to track your success. By paying attention to the following metrics, you can effectively measure the performance of your hotel.

1. Average Daily Rate

Your average daily rate reflects how much you’re earning per room, each day, on average. To calculate your average daily rate, calculate your total room revenue over a 30-day period and then divide it by the number of hotel rooms you have. Repeat this each month to track the trends in your averages.

Hotel KPIs - Manet Mobile Solutions

CC: Rhema Kallianpur at Unsplash

2. Average Occupancy Rate

Calculating your average occupancy rate allows you to identify which months and seasons prove most popular. You can then use this figure to market your hotel accordingly or to address the periods where you’re under-performing. You can get this figure by dividing the number of rooms occupied by the total number of available rooms, and multiplying this by 100 to achieve a percentage value.

3. Average Length of Stay

Average length of stay is an incredibly useful hotel KPI. If you can increase your average length of stay, you’re likely to spend less money on labour. This is because every time a hotel guest leaves you need to go through the motions of cleaning their room, replacing linen, restocking certain features, and checking them in and out. You can get this figure by dividing the number of occupied rooms by the number of bookings over a set period. Work to increase your average length of stay to maximise profitability.

4. Online Ratings

Whether you like them or not, online reviews are here to stay. Around 90% of customers will read a review online before using a business, so this is a KPI all hotel owners need to pay attention to. Check popular review websites such as TripAdvisor to assess the number of positive versus negative reviews you’re receiving. Paying attention to what has been written will allow you to push your business towards a more positive trend.

5. Advertising Return on Investment

When you spend money on advertising, tracking your return on investment is essential. Many hotels are now expected to deliver more, but with tighter budgets. As such, you can’t afford to blindly throw money at adverts without knowing what effect yours are having. Wherever possible, survey your customers at the point of booking to find out where they learned about you. That way, you can determine which of your local print ads, PPC, or social media ads are having the biggest impact.

6. Gross Operating Profit Per Available Room

Gross operating profit per available room helps you determine how much money each room makes throughout your business as a whole. You can include figures such as spa sales, food, and alcohol in this calculation. To calculate it, divide your gross operating profit by the number of rooms you make available to members of the public. Using this metric you can see whether your hotel performs well as a whole, or whether it’s just the room sales that bring in money.

Hotel KPIs - Manet Mobile Solutions
CC Hans at Pixabay

7. Profit per Available Room

Unlike gross operating profit per available room, this figure looks at how profitable room sales are on their own. Take the profit you’ve made from room sales over a set period and divide it by the number of rooms available. Using this figure, you can identify whether the rooms in your hotel are currently turning a profit. If they don’t represent as much of your overall profit as you would like, you can use this information as a driving force to make changes.

8. The availability of Internet connectivity to guests

Most guests who book a hotel room will now expect free Internet as standard. It allows them to remain connected to the world at home, especially when they’re in a different location where they may need to pay additional charges to use their mobile network provider. Additionally, Internet availability allows those who are travelling for business to maintain their usual activities throughout their stay. As a part of measuring this KPI, you should also assess how accessible and reliable the Internet is in each of your rooms.

9. Market Penetration Index

Your market penetration index highlights how much of your local market you’re currently gaining over your competitors. To get this figure, take your hotel’s occupation number, divide it by market occupancy, and multiply this by 100. This should return a percentage figure that tells you what portion of the market you currently hold. You may want to repeat this calculation during busy times of the year when you expect occupancy rates to be high, as well as during quieter periods when occupancy rates are usually lower. Once you have your percentage figure, try to work on practices to raise it. You should then return to your baseline market penetration index percentage to see if your improvements have resulted in a higher number.

10. Your website conversion rate

Your hotel’s website may be attracting visitors, but do you know how many of those online visitors are turning into customers? After looking at the number of visitors who head to your website, calculate the percentage of those that make a booking. You can get this percentage by dividing your online bookings by the number of site visitors and multiplying this by 100. It’s normal for this figure to be low. Around 2 to 3% of visitors will turn into bookings, but if your figure is below that it’s worth considering whether your website is as enticing as you need it to be.

Overall, measuring your hotel’s most important KPIs provides you with invaluable information. Using this information, you can identify the areas where you may be weak. For example, if you have a low market penetration index, you need to start asking yourself what your competitors offer that makes them so attractive. Additionally, you can use these numbers to measure your performance over time. With a consistent approach to making improvements, your hotel will become a stronger business.

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Bed and Breakfast - Manet Mobile Solutions

Let’s face it: No one goes into the Bed-and-Breakfast business thinking they’re going to strike gold. 

For many small business owners, it’s the joy of meeting people, of serving weary (and excited!) travelers and the love of sharing the place they call home with others. 

At least, that’s what propels that initial foray into the world of B&Bs.  

Five-star reviews, running meet-and-greets, booking out rooms – these all come right after the initial buzz of starting something new has worn off. 

Yet, by all accounts, B&Bs have a rosy outlook. 

From 2013 to 2018, the number of B&Bs has grown. 

In terms of revenue, long-term trends indicate an overall rise, projected all the way to 2024. 

Besides the mini-dip in 2023, the strong demand for B&Bs shows that owners have a chance to really capitalize in the next five to seven years on a market that’s on the rise and likely to thrive. In fact, while the industry is considered “mature,” there’s a very strong expectation of growth in revenue when compared to revenues from other industries within the sector. 

So there’s an opportunity here. But how can B&B owners get a slice of the proverbial pie?

So far, all the chips are playing out in their favor.

“Average occupancy, or number of rooms filled on a daily basis, according to PAII, has skyrocketed along with the number of available properties, increasing from 45 to 50 percent in a recent four-year period. And room prices have also increased, going from $103 to $121 in the same four-year stretch.” – Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII)

Part of the robustness for the industry can be attributed to the precedent set by Airbnb: it’s managed to popularize more informal and personal travel accommodations. A greater number of people have come to prefer this more intimate and “local” way of booking and traveling. 

And closely connected with this digital disruption caused by Airbnb is the larger, more macrocosmic shift in the hospitality market at large: digital and tech innovations that streamline, simplify, and promise to delight the customer experience, from booking to departure, at a fraction of the cost. 

And it’s something that B&B owners would do well to harness. 

1) Review Management

The first aspect to digital enhancements for the B&B market is important for everyone within the hospitality sector: managing those reviews. 

You’ll see that managing reviews in the digital space is actually not about completing the customer’s experience but, rather, anticipating it, and then having the forethought and planning in place to engineer that experience and the resulting glowing review. 

In other words, intend to put into place all those pieces that will get you the review you’re looking for. 

Harnessing the power of review marketing

Review marketing: What is it?

When your potential customer is looking to book you over hundreds of other, comparable, accommodations, reviews are a huge propeller. They’re the “why,” the catalyst, and the justification for the customer’s choice. 

But it’s not just the number of five-star reviews you get nor how many of these review sites you populate. Of course, that’s important. What’s really critical is how you respond. 

You’ll notice, for example, that the proprietors of Netherleigh Bed and Breakfast respond to reviews in a highly selective manner. For the most part, all their reviews are positive. And even the ones marked “critical,” such as the 4-star review below, are generally positive.

However, instead of responding to both, the proprietor decided to only respond to 5-star reviews. That’s unfortunate because, with a simple acknowledgment, they might have ensured an even more delighted customer who, now, may end up booking elsewhere.

Traveler reviews - Manet Mobile Solutions

The thing is, customers are willing to overlook a “bad” review because they understand that everyone’s experiences are subjective. What irks one person, another person may not even bat an eyelid at. 

They’re more interested in how you, or a member of your team, respond to and resolve the situation reported by the irate traveler. 

Your response can be an opportunity to give a potential customer/reader the chance to know, more fully, the picture behind the scenes. So it’s not just about following up – if you don’t respond at all, you miss out on speaking to your potential customer in a more subtle way.

For example, since 52% of customers want to see reviews that “mention tips that improve the guest experience,” this is the owner’s chance to do just that!

What travelers look for in reviews - Manet Mobile Solutions

Source: Little Hotelier

Managing your reviews in a timely and friendly manner, engaging with, thanking, and even addressing customer concerns on these platforms is incredibly important. Review management, at the end of it, is all about managing and addressing the details.

The details are, after all, where you can prevent customer attrition.  

What’s your niche? 

See, your “niche” is directly related to your customers’ experience of your B&B. And it’s not just your “digital” niche, either. Your B&B can benefit from using particular themes and marketing itself in this way. 

Choosing a niche or theme for your B&B attracts the right kind of travelers and will determine which booking sites you should rely on and manage reviews on. 

How to focus on your traveler niche - Manet Mobile Solutions

Source: Little Hotelier

For example, according to research by The Business Research Company, “wellness vacations” are an increasing theme that is spurring B&B profitability.

“People are interested in incorporating activities such as cycling and yoga into their travel plans.”

Focusing on a niche is a B&B proprietor’s way to tap into digital behavior, thinking like a hotel, but operating (especially in terms of cost) as a small business. 

According to the same research, 74% of B&Bs are profitable precisely because they have no employee overheads or they use sub-contractors on a more casual basis. 

And if you can use these digital enhancements, you’re likely to see an influx of guests while still being able to operate like a lean, mean, booking machine. 

Using email marketing

Email marketing is incredibly powerful. It’s not so much about open rates as it is about timing. Email marketing can be used to great effect in building nurture sequences and for building trust, providing personalized perks, rewards, and discounts.

A powerful loyalty program or an email marketing suite that provides a way to “tag” customers is crucial to your retention and re-booking rates. You want to make sure that all the trouble you’ve gone through and the effort you’ve put forth creating an unforgettable stay actually pays off. 

And the best “ROI” is a re-book. Loyalty programs, even in small-format operations like B&Bs, can pay-off, big time. If 18% of travelers already sign up for them and 35% “sometimes” sign up, that’s over half your guests!

In fact, part of the profitability factor of B&Bs is precisely because they’ve had to compete in an already “competitive” environment. 

While Airbnb has paved the way for a change in travelers’ behaviors (booking and otherwise), it has also made the market far more saturated, since individuals can now list their personal properties as accommodations. 

In order to keep up their momentum and professional edge, B&Bs owners have had to resort to certain “flexible trends in the industry,” including: 

  • Flexible check-out times
  • Smart room keys
  • Increasing use of analytics
  • Personalization of services

Yes. Even B&Bs. 

2) Streamlined Booking Experience

A streamlined booking experience is all about your digital activities online. Review management is just one part of it. 

But there are three other prongs from which to tackle your attrition and booking rates: the online customer experience of booking through OTAs, aligning your social media, and using your website as a viable hub for your digital footprint. 

Online booking

See, customer behavior is already about booking using OTAs because of the convenience and user-friendliness of the entire experience.

So why not meet them where they’re already at? 

At the same time, booking directly through providers is perceived as less user-friendly and less convenient though increasingly secure. Yet individuals opt for convenience over security. 

This points out clear areas for improvement. If you’re a B&B owner, you have a chance to take over your customers’ preferences for booking with OTAs by either matching or surpassing the convenience and user-friendly aspects.

Travelers' booking preferences - Manet Mobile Solutions

Source: Little Hotelier

And that’s where your website comes in. 

Use your website as more than just a content corral

Many individuals who own B&Bs will simply use their website to display a plethora of beautiful pictures of their property. 

If they’re a little more tech savvy, they may also hook up a calendar or some kind of primitive booking system – which turns out to be a nightmare to try and organize on the back-end. 

Instead of this ad-hoc, informal, rigged together system, B&B owners need to have a firm, streamlined strategy for capturing bookings and crucial customer information – making it easy on the customer side and on their own side. 

They’ll need to invest in technology like property management systems, channel managers, website builders, and a booking management software that hooks in to and plays nicely with email marketing. 

Remember the semi-negative, 4-star review we saw above? The customer’s major complaint was that it was too cold and, worse still, they were unable to reach the manager. This could have been easily prevented with technology. 

For example, a property management app could have been easily used by the guest in order to create a request, which someone on the team or the proprietor could then look at and address – especially if it’s after hours. 

It’s not just about improving the perception of your guests. A streamlined booking experience includes creating the systems on the back-end that will capture and support these “standard” customer expectations. 

Many of these systems give proprietors cloud-based benefits that include automating and accelerating administrative tasks and paperwork, alongside allowing them to distribute rooms online, expand market reach, and maintain a good relationship with the Google gods of search.

Social media much?

Especially because you own a sweet little B&B, it’s important to use social media to the max. 

Customers already like to book online and, as we’ve seen, rely on customer reviews to make their final booking decisions. 

And part of that research is social proof through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. 

3) Ancillary Services

The final skewer in this three-pronged approach to positively affecting your online booking rates is to offer ancillary services that are standard but “upgraded” using technology. 

You can certainly take your cues from boutique hotels and think of it less as an upgrade and more of a catching-up with traveler expectations. 

Digital meeting spaces

Wi-fi. It’s what everyone demands when they first walk through those doors. 

Often, inns and B&Bs can host business meetings or be “quaint” lunch spots for travelers, either in a professional or leisure setting. 

And since an increasing number of guests are also “remote” and location-independent, offering “digital” meeting spaces is a great way to enhance your guests’ experience. 

Turn Meet’n’Greets into on-boarding sessions

Meet-and-greets are standard in the B&B profession. So why not take a chance to “on-board” your guests, acclimating them to not only the property and the particulars of your service but the various digital enhancements they can rely on as well? 

Have you just installed a new, automated home cooling and heating system powered by an app? Have you partnered with a local meal delivery service to speed up “room service” as part of your B&B?

Take the time to walk your guests through these enhancements. 

Conclusion

Many of these actions designed to enhance booking rates are actually all about a shift in behavior.

See, customers’ and guests’ actions and intentions are already digitally-driven. While it may feel like a huge ask, what these “changes” really come down to is bigger-picture thinking. 

And, in order to start thinking bigger, B&Bs don’t have to look far – nor spend too much. Even overhauling just their booking system or website can completely simplify and, at the same time, amplify pretty much everything from bookings, to revenue, to customer satisfaction, and beyond. 

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Rent a car smart mobile assistant - Manet Mobile Solutions

What Technology Disruptions in the Rent-A-Car Industry Mean for Your Hospitality Business?

Something digital this way comes. 

It sees you when you’re sleeping. It knows when you’re awake. 

So be ahead of the curve, for goodness sake!

By 2022, the worldwide car rental industry will be worth over $124.56 billion dollars, growing at a rate of 13.55% from 2017. 

One of the fastest-growing markets for car rentals around the world so far is turning out to be Europe. It’s an industry that is intricately (and increasingly) tied to the growth of the travel and tourism industry. 

So when it comes to the car rental sector, technology is promising to leave no stone unturned as it blows its way through the hospitality industry. 

See, there’s a similar digital revolution going on in travel, tourism, and hospitality. 

Hotels are already being equipped with mobile check-in solutions. Rooms are undergoing a digital makeover with the use of automated control systems for heating, cooling, app-driven room service, and digital assistants.

The rent-a-car market is facing just such a tech turn in the tides in two waves:

  • First off, rental companies themselves are changing the value prop facing a customer by changing the way bookings are done in tandem with travel.
  • Secondly, units of cars are being technologically transformed with the digital features necessary to deliver on these brand promises within the driving and on-road experience. 

Let’s take a look at these specific technological disruptions and what their advance means for the hospitality industry at large. 

The Tech Specs

Perhaps the greatest single change that all other “tech” changes flow from is the transformation of the car rental industry ethics. We’re moving from cars as an owned unit to “cars as a service.”

As a collective culture, it’s easy to see that disruptive apps like Uber, Lyft, and AirBnb have changed the very idea of ownership. Now, it’s all about mobility and flexibility: Cars-as-a-service (CaaS).

This change in consumption is running alongside enhancements in the car rental market itself. Fleets are changing and so are the digital features of this new and diverse collection of automobiles. 

In a survey of the global electrical car rental market, economy cars are dominating the market at 90.17% of the market share, according to 2018 results.

Global Electric Car Rental Market trends - Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Business Wire

Furthermore, luxury vendors are happily maintaining a fleet of electric vehicles such as the Tesla Model S and X. 

There’s a clear demand. 

Car rental as a service itself is becoming a more viable option even when travelers remain at home because there’s an emphasis on short-term rentals, pay-as-you-go models and subscription-based payments. 

Online rent-a-car search and booking engines 

First and foremost, search behavior is changing the way that rent-a-car brands are being found — but, also, it’s allowing the data to drive their own “findability.”

Rent-a-car search is now usually seamlessly integrated into travel and tourism bookings, or hospitality reservations. 

In other words, when users search for car rentals online, booking engines will offer highly targeted and specific offers on hotel suites, tours in the location of booking, and other travel-related discounts and promotions to not only incentivize a further purchase but to create an entire experience of travel. 

Known as “in-destination experiences,” this is what’s really at the heart of this rent-a-car transformation. 

“Companies across all industries are trying to create a better experience for their customers,” says Jayesh Patel, a senior vice president marketing at a major car rental brand company. “We are no different.”

Digital car sharing platforms 

Another major driver of tech-inspired transformation within the rent-a-car industry is the unmistakable effect of the “ride-hailing economy.”

It’s not only that the nature of the buyer is changing — from baby boomers to millennials voting with their pocketbooks to keep large, expensive, and often financially imprudent purchases off the bucket list. 

It’s also that peer-to-peer car sharing and ride-hailing has opened up the gateway to cars on demand. 

Apps offering reservations from a ready-to-go fleet offer individuals who travel around the world as a lifestyle the opportunity to experience that mobility and flexibility on a dime, and on their own time. 

“Consumers today have access to more information whenever and wherever they need it; they have a more urban lifestyle and have new attitudes and preferences about accessing automobiles and mobility in general…There is a solid consensus that cars provide an unmatched level of convenience and freedom, allowing people to be in total control of the time, destination and environment – and that is where opportunity exists. We’re not just renting cars … we are providing mobility, and mobility keeps the world moving.” — Pat FarrellChief Marketing & Communications Officer for Enterprise Holdings

In-car mobile hot spots and digital assistants

Alexa, entertain my kids while I keep my eyes on the road.

Okay, that’s not a real command but in-car mobile hot spots enhance the experience of a road trip by offering functionality that is very familiar to the user.

In a way, it fulfills the customers’ expectations and also surpasses it because Wi-Fi is usually a “land”-based feature. How do cars keep connected if they’re not on the “wired” part of Wi-Fi? 

They do so in the same way as cellphones and mobile devices, which run on a network. 

While passengers — notably children — can take advantage of mobile hot spots in a rental car to keep them occupied, drivers of this new digital ridesharing market can safely and accurately deliver customers to their preferred locations, using routes that are updated in real time. 

And it’s not just that. When individuals travel, 15% of them do so for business purposes. This means that in-car mobile hot spots offer businesspeople the chance to conduct their tasks on the go.

Anti-theft satellite systems

Car rentals also want to ensure that part of their customers’ experience is one of trust and safety. 

That’s why one of the major “services” offered in this new CaaS economy is an anti-theft satellite system. 

Here, the key is integration. Devices like SPOT Trace or Cellutrack take advantage of a device that’s in the hands of billions of users already — mobile phones — to provide added levels of safety, tracking, and security. 

It puts the control back into the hands of the driver or user. 

Designing a Driver’s “User Experience”

See, the user experience isn’t necessarily about inventing new technology. 

You’ll notice that many of these so-called “transformations” are simply changes in how things are already being done, relying on a level of assumed consumer adoption (namely, of mobile devices) to run new and innovative software on. 

So rent-a-car companies don’t have to reinvent the wheel. 

Which makes sense, given that related industries like travel and hospitality don’t have to either. In order to upgrade their users’ experience and set a new standard, they simply need to find and implement digital “mirrors” for common expectations like check-ins and room service. 

The actual software itself is running via mobile or digital assistant consoles like the Echo Dot.

But what is it that users want? Why are they even looking to book a hotel room or, in this case, rent a car?

To enhance the user experience, car rental companies must first understand their customers’ reasons for renting. According to a survey of 850,000 travelers in 2017, these were the results of why individual travelers relied on rental cars.

Why people rent cars -  Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Business Wire

This is a win-win situation. If car rentals are being used as a service or insurance replacement, new features that enhance user experience make it more likely that they will look for similar features when they rent cars for leisure travel. 

So far, we’ve seen that updates to behavior equal updates to technology. And updates to technologies call for an update in fleets themselves. 

Says Susan Lombardo, senior vice-president of vehicle acquisition at Enterprise Holdings:

“Many drivers experience new automotive technologies for the first time in rental vehicles.” 

She cites the fact that it’s, after all, the US car rental industry that first helped popularize anti-lock braking, stop-start technology, hybrid electric vehicles and more to consumers. 

Car manufacturers are, themselves, offering a greater number of digitally-driven enhancements, including:

  • Offering easier navigation: Navigation systems now link up to your mobile devices app history, drives, and preferences
  • Enriched driver experience: Vehicle manufacturers like Mitsubishi are giving drivers the ability to connect to a centralized call center for emergency services through connected AI and voice recognition capabilities
  • Easier geo-located assistance request 
  • Continuous connectivity

Conclusion 

So what’s next for the future of rent-a-car “services” and experience-driven digital transformations of cars?

We’re seeing a greater and more rapid adoption rate of self-driving cars, especially in emerging countries, for one. 

These numbers reported from 2015 alone forecast that, at a similar rate of growth, and thanks to a growing number of individuals with disposable incomes in these countries, the self-drive car rental market will reach 1.65 billion USD by 2020. 

The major shift from car ownership to CaaS will develop alongside changes in conferencing technology (think about location-independent entrepreneurs running conferences during their commutes). 

Insurance companies, too, are sure to be swept up in this change, offering innovative, short-term policies on rentals, making car sharing even more attractive or offering discounts on connected vehicles. 

So just count on your fingers the number of services and technologies relating to commuting, road-tripping, and car rental, in general. Then watch as these utterly transform in tandem in the next five to 10 years. 


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Hotel guest experience: expectations vs reality - Manet Mobile Solutions

Today’s guests have a host of expectations when it comes to their experience at hotels.

But when was the last time you actually asked your guests what they wanted?

Knowing your guests is foundational to pulling together the right kind of experience.

Not every hotel or hotel experience needs to have all the bells and whistles, the latest tech, or the fancy fixings. Instead, what counts more is if your guests have the right guest experience – both, for your brand and your hotel’s niche.

Guest satisfaction scores across the hotel experience - Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Deloitte

Engagement, listening, empowerment, knowledge, and surprising moments – these are the factors that lead to consistent guest satisfaction across the hotel experience.

So, the question is…what are you promising your guests?

What do guests experience from hotels today?

While hotels are trying to figure out what, precisely, their brand of guests are looking for, guests have no qualms in demanding more.

Part of this demand comes from a rapid-fire evolution of available tech in the hospitality sphere.

The other aspect is due to social media’s reach and influencer marketing – in particular, guests today take their recommendations, plan their itineraries, and choose hotels, locations, and rental providers based on social-media sponsored content.

Understand that, when it comes to travel and hospitality, hoteliers are the ones who seek to create this sense of escape, a haven where travelers can retreat, relax, and explore their surroundings.

It’s a promise inherent in the very notion of travel.

Because of this, a guest’s main expectation is one of authenticity – it’s absolutely necessary for a hotel to not only deliver on their promises but to listen to travelers, across the duration of their stay.

Hotel guest experience base requirements - Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Hotelogix

The above infographic perfectly captures the base requirements for any hotel to match when it comes to guest experience.

Each aspect of the guest’s stay should be a moment in which to capture, delight, engage, and gain further knowledge about preferences.

Just like what guests say they want from a hotel experience.

What is the reality of hotel experience for travelers instead?

Travelers expect, first and foremost, “customer service” to be of the highest standard. What’s tricky, however, is that this standard keeps rising.

The reality of the hotel experience for many travelers is sub-par at best. This is a missed opportunity given that 97% of customers report that customer service is key to their loyalty and 83% of customers view travel as a right, not a luxury.

It’s not only that they want to be heard, engaged, acknowledged, and actually surprised or “delighted”, as the stats reveal: Customers want the promises of hotels to be met – and then surpassed.

Instead, their frequent experience is often something like this:

Hotel pictures: web vs reality
Source: Medium

Hoteliers need to consider what the first point of contact is during each interaction or “moment”. For example, during the moment of booking, customers’ expectations are very different than during the moment when they’ve arrived and have actually spent a night on the premises. 

Improving the guest experience journey - Manet Mobile Solutions
Source: Deloitte

Each of these “moments” or points of interaction call for their own set of expectations and “customer service”.

By using technology and re-thinking the customer service aspect of each of these micro-moments, hoteliers can actually move the needle towards meeting customer expectations.

Take note of these five keys to improving guest experience. When combined with the above six points of interaction, any improvements you make – via technology, operational changes, loyalty programs, room features, etc. – will give you a major ROI.

It’s now time to consider the details on how to enhance the reality of your guests’ stay so that it actually matches, if not surpasses, expectations.

Using technology to make “upgrades” feel standard


In the hospitality business, you have a unique advantage: You have the ability to plan for and anticipate customers’ expectations.

And, thanks to the digital landscape, engaging with your customers can happen through multiple channels, multiple opportunities, and in a much more personal way. On the one hand, customers expect, for example, their queries to be responded to within 24 hours of inquiry.

But, on the other hand, hoteliers now have the technology to actually fulfill this promise – and go beyond, in several respects.

Let’s take a look.

Room Service


Expectations

Your customer expects on-demand, in-room “dining service” to suit their ordering behavior – this means it occurs online, occurs through a user-friendly interface, and should be available at any time of the day or night.

Reality

Often, what customers get is a service that is limited, in many ways. From hours of operation, to food quality, ordering experience, and even food variety, customers feel as though they’re at the mercy of what the hotel has to offer.

How to bridge the gap

Room service is incredibly important to the guest experience. No, your guests don’t want to avoid it – they want to have it be seamlessly integrated into their stay. They also want to make sure that there are dietary options that suit their needs. This includes gluten-free or vegan options.

See, 43% of guests say room service quality and speed is extremely important when selecting a hotel. 27% say that if a hotel doesn’t offer it, they simply won’t book.

To bring reality in alignment with expectations, use in-room tablets that feature a native app, allowing customers to order from the hotel’s menu as well as nearby, external options as well.

Create opportunities to search for options by preferences. For example, your native app could use tags to help guests search for specific cuisines or vegan options.

Amenities


Expectations

When guests book a stay at a hotel for a particular reason – an infinity pool, thermal springs, a beautiful rooftop terrace, for example – they’re looking for that expectation to be met.

This is the reason, after all, for their booking. And, for your brand, this is a distinct competitive edge. So you need to deliver on it. Luckily, you have the technology to back it up.

Reality

The reality is that, when they book, the experience being promised rarely lives up to a guest’s expectations.

Here, you’re missing out on the opportunity to seal your customer’s loyalty and actually live up to your promise.

How to bridge the gap

You want to fulfill three goals:

Keep guest expectations intact
Drum up their anticipation
Deliver authentically on your promise of amenities.
To do this, use a combination of social media and 360-degree camera technology to give your potential guest the opportunity to actually view or tour that special offering.

If it is an infinity pool, for example, you can feature others’ videos of your pool on your social media pages, such as your Instagram page or Facebook Business Page.

You can also harness review management sites and place a widget in a welcome email sequence that allows customers to trust that the experience or amenity they’ve booked for is actually what they’ll receive.

Room Features


Expectations

Without a doubt, guests expect a digitally-enhanced and augmented room experience.

From smart TVs that hook up easily to their latest apps and tablets, to smart-control temperatures, and automated functions like blinds or cooling/heating, their expectations are commensurate with their own in-home experience.

Since guests can call on digital assistants to help them finagle these environment controls in their own home, they expect hotels to catch up and re-create a similar experience of user control and personalized preference.

Reality

Unless you’re a boutique or independent hotel that can call the shots in a rapid-fire manner, chain or franchise hotels find it difficult to make changes – even ones they know their guests are expecting.

Because of the sheer size and scale of large-chain operations, independent franchise hotel owners/managers fail to make these hotel-wide changes in time.

Or, they simply don’t have the budget.

How to bridge the gap

Again, it’s difficult to implement these tech-based changes that augment the in-room experience if you’re either operating on a tight budget or you need to have changes approved by someone over you.

Instead, consider gaining permission to revamp just one or two rooms.

You can opt to offer these as a “beta” or a “VIP” experiences that customers will receive on a “discount” (or at standard cost) – in exchange for data. They’ll give you feedback, be available for interviews or surveys about their experience, and they’ll speak more about their preferences.

This way, you’ll gain invaluable and deeper insight into your guests’ needs, building a solid case for when you want to make these changes a standard and hotel-wide stipulation.

Check-In Experience


Expectations

The check-in experience should be smooth, seamless and, for the most part, completely automated.

Guests neither want to nor expect to stand in line all day, waiting for something as simple as a check-in.

While they’re always willing to be greeted, guided, and helped to their rooms, the actual communication, the hand-off of keys, and instructions should all be automated and personalized, via an app or through consoles and functionality within hotel lobbies.

Reality

Even though it’s incredibly easy to use highly flexible, powerful, and specific software, tailored to your hotel’s check-in process, many managers and owners are doing things the tedious way.

Often, there’s a fear that automation means the elimination of the human touch. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Instead of wasting your customers’ time, having them wait in line to check-in, what could you do with five to seven extra minutes conversing with them, welcoming them, and assessing their needs?

And what might that do for your reputation?

How to bridge the gap

While some hotels are actually going as far as using robot “butlers” to guide guests to their rooms or welcome them, you don’t have to go that far (yet!)

A simple way to bridge the gap is to use software automation that takes care of the user-input required aspect of the check-in process. Allow users to make an account, hook them up with past room preference information, and give them rewards for performing certain actions.

In the meantime, your management staff is freed up to personally greet your guests, make recommendations, and troubleshoot real issues.

Conclusion


Technology can help you secure your guests’ next visit and guarantee their booking. Take time to actually think through the process of “goodbye.” You’d be surprised at how many opportunities there are to “convert” your guest.

The best time to capture their attention and create the next booking is when you’ve delighted them with their stay already. Using a loyalty rewards program or predictive analytics, you can create a personalized offer for their next visit that not only mimics this one, but it also enhances the experience further.

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Sustainability in hospitality - Manet Mobile Solutions

If we have a quick look at the hospitality industry’s new trends (sensory and fun experiences, personalized perfumes, top chefs & bartenders just to mention some) we can easily acknowledge that accommodation facilities have become hubs of modern socialization, in addition to their role as places of hospitality.

The future of hospitality is green

Not anymore just locations to be lived throughout guests’ stay, hotels are increasingly becoming catalysts of the most contemporary lifestyle and consumption’s tendencies.

In the last few years, consumers’ behaviour has increasingly started being driven by environmental and ethical choices following which adopting environmentally responsible conducts has become more and more important also for accommodation facilities.

Since then this trend has only grown and a few years ago, a corporate social responsibility survey by Nielsen brought out that “more than half (55%) of global respondents say they are willing to pay extra for products and services coming from companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact—on increase from 50 percent in 2012 and 45 percent in 2011” 

Acording to  Accenture and the UN Global Compact “the millennial consumer, coming from an economically and empowered by new technologies era, is driving new expectations of business. People in every part of the world see the act of expenditure and consumption as a means to enhance health and livelihood, boost community wellbeing, and shift the direction of the world (…). Today’s consumers have higher expectations from businesses addressing their needs and traditional approaches to sustainability, centred on philanthropy and CSR, may lead to customer dissatisfaction”.

How hotels can minimize their impact on the environment

Sustainable tourism demand is also a growing trend and this is the reason why the hospitality industry is moving towards ecologically sustainable levels of resource consumption. Tourist accommodation facilities adopting high sustainability standards are globally increasing.

Some of these standards are about
• adopting energy-saving technologies;
• choosing digital documents instead of printed ones to avoid paper waste;
• offering menus with organic and Zero Km ingredients.

Digital documents in hospitality

How hotel’s attention to the environment creates new loyalty

In their effort to increase guest loyalty, the hospitality industry players are increasingly looking for innovative ways to reduce waste. And there are really lots of benefits deriving from this eco-friendliness.

According to a recent survey by TripAdvisor, travelers who have already chosen eco-friendly hotels are at least 40% on the total!

Therefore, communicating attention towards the environment seems to have become a big competitive advantage towards accommodation facilities that are still having trouble with embracing a “green” philosophy in their ordinary operations.

How to communicate a “green” orientation

Hotels and b&bs can communicate and deliver their “green” orientation today by using many different strategies. Here are some strategy ideas:

• hotels or b&bs can dedicate a section of their official websites to their eco-friendly initiatives and policies and also make sure that their green orientation is reflected on their OTA descriptions and offers;
• accommodation facilities can ban single-use plastic items and invest in solar systems for the production of electricity and hot water
• hotels can substitute in-room brochures, maps and dining menus with smart devices containing all the related information in digital format;

Technology in hospitality helps save the planet

The above are just some of the many things accommodation facilities can do to go green but both imporant organizational changes and considerable investments are necessary to convert a hospitality-related business into a totally eco-friendly one and not every business has the economic resources that are necessary to implement a green transformation. However every hospitality business is able to adopt low-cost measures that can make a big difference both in terms of achieving an eco-friendly appeal at the eyes of travelers and in terms of protection towards the environment.
Technology is key to most of these low-cost measures.

Paper waste in the hospitality industry

Paper waste

A hotel guest generates about 1 kg of waste per day and almost a third of this waste is paper

Waste generated by hotels

At the same time guests’ choices are more and more oriented towards accommodation facilities showing respect for the environment. Decreasing paper consumption and waste is a very important aspect of environmental conservation as in the last 10 years we’ve lost about 94 million hectares of forests (the size of Venezuela) because of tree use for paper production.
According to the United Nations System, “despite the importance of forests, reports continue to indicate huge forests losses. Almost half of the planet’s original forest has been destroyed, mostly during the last three decades”.
Very often wood is used to produce unnecessary things: more than half of cropped wood is processed into paper but only 10% of it becomes durable goods like books for example. The other 90% ends up being disposable.
This paper waste has devastating effects on our planet!
On the one hand natural disasters and famines are originated from compromised ecosystems and, as a result, on the other hand, planet biodiversity is strongly threatened.

How the hospitality industry can cut down paper waste and actively protect the planet

The hospitality industry could play a leading role in reducing global paper waste: thanks to technology, more and more tourist accommodations are able to replace paper with digital documents and solutions having a very low environmental impact as well as a very positive impact on guest experience and cost reduction.

Manet Hospitality Technology

The means to paper reduction in accommodation facilities are numerous but the advent of personalized smartphones in hotel rooms seems to be the real revolution in the hospitality industry allowing to cut down on paper waste for
• tourist guides: on mobile devices the best itineraries, geolocated experiences and complete guides, including cities’ best attractions, are free and always accessible;
• museums or events tickets: mobile devices allow guests to buy tickets in a fast and secure way; furthermore, guests don’t need paper tickets anymore as they get their tickets in digital formats on their smartphones;
• hotel services: all hotel ancillary services can be delivered through smartphones; in-room dining and restaurant menus can be digitalized, eliminating the need of their printed versions;
• check-in and customer satisfaction forms: any type of form can be delivered to hotel guests digitally through smart devices. This way not only tons of paper are saved but also an incredible amount of work-hours are not necessary anymore for form encoding and can be dedicated to other operations
Considering all the above, the advantages brought by smart devices to the hospitality industry are evident and impact positively both the environment and the economies of accommodation facilities.
Manet is committed to providing the best hospitality technology to hotels and b&bs allowing them to save paper, time and money while delivering an extraordinary experience to their guests. As a result our planet is protected and travelers are happier than ever before!

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Room service has always had and still has an undeniable role in hospitality. However, recent data has confirmed that despite its indisputable importance, it’s subject to operational risks, mainly related to high numbers of required personnel and low profit margins.

As Paul Sacco (CEO and president of the Massachusetts Lodging Association) said ” Room service represented just 1.2 percent of total hotel revenue, down from 1.3 percent in 2011. And it continues to drop. The hotels do it for the convenience of the guest. Is it a profit center? No. Emphatically, I can tell you no.”

However, the answer to room service profitability issues seems to be lying in technology.

New technologies are, in fact, having a big impact on tourism-related businesses and new evidence shows that successful room service goes beyond a beautiful room and qualified staff.

Guest comfort and convenience are becoming always more important and technology, more than any other factor, seems to be key in achieving them.

The end of room service (?)

Room service represents a fundamental part of hospitality services. Despite this, it’s worth only 1% of hotel earnings, according to PFK Hospitality’s 2007 data. Since then, this percentage has kept decreasing. The Midtown Hilton, one of New York’s most visited hotels, eliminated room service in 2013 for this very reason. Many mid-range hotels followed, reducing room service, either by available hours or general offers. 
But, in the other hand, room service is fundamental for hotel reputation and its impact goes beyond earnings. In fact, room service is considered an integral part of hotel amenities just like swimming pools or spas: profitable or not these services shape and identify the experience offered by each hotel.
Try to imagine, just for a second, during your stay in a hotel, at night, while it’s raining outside, you get hungry and you realize that the hotel’s restaurant is closed and room service is not available. The only choices you have in that case are either vending machines or dealing with the storm! Therefore it’s easy to understand how important room service is for hotels aiming at being competitive and building a good reputation.

Room service breakfast - Manet Mobile Solutions

The room service comeback

The press pointed fingers at The Midtown Hilton’s room service removal decision. Business Insider wrote “What’s the point of staying in a luxury hotel if you’re not going to be able to order breakfast in bed?” and John Fox from PKF Consulting commented “Here’s a message to hotels that are cutting room service: Suck it up and pay the labor costs for room service, or don’t call yourself a “luxury hotel.”

Guests did the same, commenting, “There are so many hotels to choose from. If everyone is offering room service, I don’t know why I would pay the same rate with no service.”

Moreover, a recent study by Statista performed on adults aged 18 to 65 brought out that room service seems to be the most important element of hospitality-related services, second only to WiFi connectivity.

Business traveler in hotel ordering room service - Manet Mobile Solutions

The reasons behind the importance of room service are numerous. Think for example of people traveling for business and needing a late in-room dinner. Or think of leisure travelers desiring a snack while watching their favourite tv show. It easilly becomes obvious that hotels, instead of being focused on breakfast, should start focusing on 24/7 room service solutions to match their guests’ needs. After all, people go out of their daily routines when they travel so why force them to eat only at standard meal times!

The answer is technology!

The most dynamic hotels of the world have started adopting innovative solutions to adapt to the market’s room service needs and, at the same time, use room service to delight their guests.

In New York, with the “Emoji Room Service”, offered by Aloft Hotels, guests can use emoticons to place their orders. In NH Hotels’ Mood-Rooms, guests can request a wakeup service with gradual lighting increase, uplifting music, curtains that open automatically and in-room breakfast service. Last but not least, at La Quinta Inn & Suites you might be surprised to see your room service order delivered by TigerBot, a cute delivery service robot.

However, technology by itself is not sufficient to provide a good room service experience. There are other important elements to keep in mind in order to provide the ultimate room service experience.

Know your guests…

There are many ways to improve hospitality services. But what’s the best one? The answer is simple: Listen to your guests.

Instead of just pushing standardized services to them, try to understand what their real needs are. There are business travelers needing a quick breakfast very early in the morning before the breakfast buffet becomes available. There are also leisure travelers (representing a huge percentage of overall travelers) who desire a coffee or a snack while they are relaxing in their rooms and at any time of the day (or the night). The only way to satisfy the needs of the above is smart and efficient hotel room service.

…and be with them!

A very important parameter of an efficient and profitable room service is timing! Guests want their orders delivered immediately and hotels require the right time to prepare and deliver room service orders. As long as a guest is in his/her room, has available a room service menu and the hotel is ready to deliver things are quite straightforward. But what happens if a guest wants to place an order from outside the hotel desiring to have it ready and delivered at his/her return? Calling the reception, asking for the available options and costs and placing the order by phone becomes frustrating and time consuming and would simply result in an unsatisfied guest and a hotel losing orders and revenues. Fortunately that’s not the case anymore as new smart tools appearing in the hospitality horizon are giving new answers to the needs of the most demanding travelers and hoteliers. Manet is one of these tools and it’s changing the way hotels interact with their guests as, thanks to Manet devices, hotel guests can book hotel services and place room service orders anytime and from anywhere. In fact, Manet smartphones contain extensive information about all services and menus offered to guests by their hotel and also allow fast, effective and ubiquitous text communication between guests and hotel front desk staff.

Thanks to innovators like Manet, the future of hospitality looks really exciting and full of surprises and hotel room service issues, like high costs, are slowly but steadily being transformed in amazing business opportunities for hoteliers.

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