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How can new booking behaviours benefit or harm hotels?

New booking behaviours are coming to the surface. Hoteliers must recognise which ones are the ones that affect accommodation businesses the most and help their teams to adapt and make the most out of those trends.
Johanna Bernuy
May 17, 2023
13 min
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Approximately 36% of travelers say that they might cancel their planned vacations due to budget concerns. What can hoteliers do regarding pricing to win over and not lose travelers without compromising their own budget?

Hoteliers can focus on dynamic, real-time pricing, using data to identify revenue opportunities and optimize peak demands. Hotels should not immediately react to every trend or competition but should use a modern RMS system that can react to changes in demand up to 730 days in advance and starts optimizing two years before the customer arrives.

What is the current trend among guests and how can hoteliers leverage data to adapt to this increase in demand?

Guests nowadays are looking for a certain level of personalization and unique experiences, and he suggests that hoteliers can leverage data to adapt to this increase in demand. By collecting customer data, hotels can understand their customers' intended purpose of travel and create personalized experiences that are in line with what they expect. By grouping customers based on shared patterns or common factors, hotels can put together messages that go to specific groups instead of sending the same message to everyone.

Travelers are doing more online research than ever before, with the average traveler looking at 5.5 websites during their booking process and spending more time looking at the hotel than at flights. How can hotels get the attention of the customer or make sure they stay on their mind during this research phase?

Data is the key to getting in front of the customer's mind. A tactical approach is necessary to proactively tackle this. One approach is to use upper funnel pre-booking data, which is the data collected during the honeymoon phase of the guest journey. This data can be sliced and diced based on the PMS data and used to define business mix and target that mix. There are several ways to leverage data, including using the global market inside dashboard provided by OTA Insight, which assesses flight searches and hotel searches, and shows the main feeder markets for a destination. Atomize is another tool that uses data to adapt demand and understand if there is a big shift in the market. Tactical promotions can also be used to capture customer attention. For example, if there is an intent to travel for both business and leisure, an extended length of stay promotion could be used to capture this market.The answer concludes by stating that the key is to analyze data, slice and dice it, and use a tactical approach to proactively tackle it. This approach will help hotels stay on customers' minds during the research phase of their booking process.

What role does technology play in the future of hotels and hospitality businesses?

Technology is undoubtedly driving the future of hotels and hospitality businesses, especially with changing travel patterns and difficulty in staffing operations. By bridging the gap between guests' flexible needs and limited staff availability, technology can offer a standardized and high-quality guest experience driven by digital communication and experiences.

What are some best practices for using technology to streamline the guest and hotel employee journey?

Implementing digital processes and communication can significantly improve the guest and employee journey. For example, Lindemann Hotels in Berlin implemented a new technology-driven guest journey that included digitizing check-in processes and centralizing the right message at the right time to improve guest adoption rates. The hotel now has over 60% of check-ins done digitally, freeing up staff time and improving the guest experience.
Additionally, automating and standardizing processes such as payment collection can help hotels and hospitality businesses offer consistent service regardless of the time of day or guest channel. This allows staff to focus on connecting with guests and creating memorable experiences.

How can technology help with staffing challenges?

Technology can help hospitality businesses overcome staffing challenges by freeing up staff time and streamlining processes. By automating manual processes such as payment collection and digitizing guest communication, staff can focus on connecting with guests and providing excellent service. This also opens up opportunities to bring in people from different industries to the hospitality industry.

What benefits do guests experience with technology-driven guest journeys?

Guests benefit from technology-driven guest journeys by having access to convenient and flexible check-in processes, digital communication channels for accessing property information, and consistent service regardless of the time of day or channel used. This creates a more personalized and convenient experience for guests, allowing them to focus on enjoying their stay.

What is the importance of balancing personal interactions and digital experiences in the hospitality industry?

Providing a good digital experience is just as important as personal interactions. Guests won't solely base their opinion of a hotel on whether someone said hello to them. Instead, they consider the overall digital service and experience provided. For example, a hotel that automated their check-in and payment process, allowing staff to have more time to engage in meaningful conversations with guests.

How can hotels differentiate themselves with their digital experience?

Hotels should go the extra mile and not just implement digital for the sake of it. Instead, they should focus on the guest's needs and use digital tools to enhance their experience. For example, instead of sending multiple emails with booking confirmations and pre-check-in information, hotels could send a WhatsApp message with clear instructions and details. This kind of personal touch creates a "wow effect" and sets a hotel apart from competitors who offer similar digital experiences.

How can hotels adapt to changing behaviors in the industry?

Hotels can adapt to changing behaviors by being agile and testing new things. They should be able to easily try new technology and see what works and what doesn't. It's important for stack providers to take responsibility and enable their customers to be agile and adapt to new behaviors quickly.

Can technology help hotels offer better personal interactions?

Yes, technology can help hotels offer better personal interactions. For example, Lindemann was able to automate their check-in and payment process, which freed up time for their employees to engage in other meaningful conversations with guests.

What should be the focus when implementing digital technology in the hospitality industry?

The focus when implementing digital technology in the hospitality industry should be on the guest. Hotels should consider what the guest needs at what time and implement technology that enhances their experience. It's important to not just implement digital technology for the sake of having it, but to do so with the guest in mind.

How can hotels provide both personal interactions and good digital experiences?

Providing both personal interactions and good digital experiences is possible by giving guests the option. For example, some guests may prefer to use the hotel app to check-in and access their room, while others may prefer to have a personal interaction with the staff. Having options gives guests peace of mind and ensures that everyone's needs are met. Like an airline flight, guests can have everything sorted digitally, giving them more time to enjoy their stay.
Overall, balancing personal interactions and digital experiences is crucial in the hospitality industry. Adapting to changing behaviors and giving guests the option to choose their preferred method of engagement is key to success. By leveraging technology, hotels can improve their services and give guests a seamless experience.

What are the main things that hotels can leverage when promoting their brand to differentiate from competitors?

Michael believes that hotels can differentiate themselves by offering events and activities beyond just rooms. By partnering with local artists or breweries for events, offering wine tastings or live entertainment, hotels can create a unique experience that sets them apart from competitors. Michael also suggests tailoring guest experiences to specific holidays or local events, and offering compelling packages and promotions, such as extended stays or flexible booking arrangements. It's important to optimize rates and revenue during peak periods, and to use real-time data to price rooms intelligently while staying competitive.

How important is it for hotels to offer compelling packages and promotions?

According to a recent travel report by SiteMinder, 54% of travelers want to receive information from hotels on packages and promotions. Michael believes that offering compelling packages and promotions can help hotels acquire more guests and generate revenue beyond just rooms. By considering extended stays, flexible booking arrangements, and fun upsells like champagne, hotels can create a more personalized experience for their guests and set themselves apart from competitors.

How can hotels balance occupancy and profit during peak periods?

Michael suggests that hotels need to plan how they will balance occupancy and profit during peak periods, and find the sweet spot that works for their business. This may involve changing pricing strategies, using real-time data to price rooms intelligently, and offering promotions and packages to encourage bookings. Michael also notes the importance of optimizing revenue during peak periods while staying competitive.

How important is it for hotels to partner with local businesses?

Michael believes that partnering with local businesses can help hotels create a unique experience for their guests and set themselves apart from competitors. By partnering with local artists or breweries for events, offering wine tastings, or hosting live entertainment, hotels can provide guests with an experience they cannot find elsewhere. Additionally, by partnering with local businesses, hotels can offer guests a glimpse into the local community and culture, further enhancing their overall experience.

How can hotels use technology to differentiate themselves?

Michael notes that technology can play a significant role in helping hotels differentiate themselves. By using real-time data to price rooms intelligently and stay competitive, hotels can optimize revenue during peak periods. Additionally, technology can help hotels offer a more personalized experience for their guests, such as by tailoring guest experiences to specific holidays or local events. Finally, technology can help hotels streamline processes and free up time for staff to engage in meaningful conversations with guests.

How can hotels use social media to showcase their brand and attract guests?

The webinar suggested that hotels can use social media to showcase their brand by posting high-quality images and videos of their property, sharing positive guest reviews, and highlighting unique experiences and amenities. By engaging with followers and responding promptly to messages and comments, hotels can build a strong online presence and attract new guests.

How do guest reviews impact bookings and what technologies can be used to counteract unfair or inaccurate reviews?

Guest reviews have a significant impact on bookings as most guests look at reviews and make decisions based on them. In terms of counteracting unfair or inaccurate reviews, it is suggested to have a response from the hotelier addressing the situation and potentially remedying it privately with the guest before it gets published. Having a tool in place to allow hoteliers to respond to reviews before they are published could also help to mitigate the impact of negative reviews

Is it important to have responses from hoteliers to reviews?

Yes, it is important to have responses from hoteliers to reviews, whether they are positive or negative. Responses show that the hotel is attentive to their guests' feedback and is willing to address any concerns or issues. It also provides an opportunity to potentially remedy the situation and improve the guest experience.

What is the impact of short-term rentals on hotels?

Short-term rentals are becoming increasingly popular, especially after the pandemic, and are now a significant comparator for hotels. As much as 50% of guests compare hotels with short-term rentals during their discovery process. Hoteliers need to consider short-term rentals as a potential comparator and adapt their strategies accordingly to stay competitive. The trend towards short-term rentals is also driving the professionalization of the alternative lodging industry, with features such as concierge self-check-in and pet-friendly policies becoming essential decision factors for guests.

Can short-term rentals be a predictive demand tool for hotels?

Yes, short-term rentals can be a predictive demand tool for hotels. Based on a study of 30 global destinations, short-term rentals pick up business on average between 40 to 35 days before hotels do. By understanding and accessing this data, hotels can adapt their strategies and make them more relevant to guests, ultimately leading to better personalization. BookBoost's CX platform offers the opportunity to slice and dice the data to gain insights into price point, location, amenities, pricing behavior, guest threshold, etc.

What are the benefits of integrating short-term rental and alternative lodging data into hotel solutions?

Integrating short-term rental and alternative lodging data into hotel solutions allows hoteliers to better understand their competition and adapt their strategies accordingly. This integration provides an invisible comparator, allowing hotels to stay competitive and provide a more personalized experience for their guests. Additionally, the integration of short-term rental data can provide predictive demand indicators for hotels, helping them stay ahead of the curve in terms of occupancy and revenue.

What are the challenges that hotels face when integrating short-term rental data?

A: One of the challenges that hotels face when integrating short-term rental data is determining the correct concept. A lot of the time, the comp set is defined by the feasibility study from the beginning of the hotel, and it has not changed for the past 10 years. However, with the changing landscape of the industry, hotels need to be more conscious of their competition, including short-term rentals. Additionally, the sheer volume of short-term rental listings across the globe, especially in Europe, presents a challenge for hotels trying to stay competitive.

What should be the approach when evaluating technology for a hospitality business?

The approach should be to evaluate what technology is needed and what purpose it serves for the business. It is important to look at the business's current setup and processes, analyze where the struggles lie, and identify the fields that need focus. It is essential to prioritize these fields and determine whether a digital solution is the right fit or if a change in standard operating procedures (SOPs) is more suitable.

Is it necessary to implement technology in the current economic climate, even though it is expensive?

Implementing technology solely for the sake of having technology is not the right approach. It is important to assess the business's needs and pain points and determine whether a digital solution is the right fit. Additionally, it is essential to consider whether the team is open to adopting the new technology and whether it will benefit customers and staff. If the technology does not align with the needs of the business or the team is not open to using it, it may not be worth the investment.

How can technology help transform a hospitality business?

Implementing technology and digital transformation is not just about having technology. It is also about transforming the business and being open to thinking about whether current processes are the right ones. Many processes in the hospitality industry were created years ago based on system limitations. With the advent of new technologies like online booking and communication tools, businesses should assess whether current processes still make sense. This transformational change can help the business become more efficient and provide a better customer experience.

What factors should a hospitality business consider when evaluating whether to implement technology?

A hospitality business should consider several factors when evaluating whether to implement technology, such as the business's current setup and processes, identifying where the struggles lie, and prioritizing the areas that need focus. Additionally, the team's openness to adopting the new technology and the benefits to customers and staff should be taken into account. Finally, the business should assess whether current processes make sense or whether transformational change is necessary.

What are some of the challenges that Hospitality Brands face when it comes to providing excellent customer experience?

The main challenge was having too many projects and not enough time to focus on them. Other challenges included no budget to use new solutions and a lack of knowledge about what to do. These challenges are understandable since the hospitality industry is fast-paced and constantly changing. However, to provide excellent customer experience, it's important to find ways to overcome these challenges and prioritize the needs of the guests.

What are the key things Hospitality Brands must consider to turn visitors into loyal guests?

According to Dann, the key to turning visitors into loyal guests is by creating experiences that people want to belong to. It's more than just nurturing guests after checkout with newsletters on birthdays, etc. Hospitality Brands should focus on aligning their core values with those of their guests, as 82% of customers want to understand the core values of a brand and see if they align with their own. Additionally, sustainability is becoming more and more important for customers. Therefore, it's crucial for Hospitality Brands to bear these things in mind while creating experiences that align with customers' values and expectations.

How important is it for Hospitality Brands to align their core values with those of their guests?

According to Dann, it's becoming increasingly important for Hospitality Brands to align their core values with those of their guests. Customers are becoming more choice conscious and are looking for brands that share their values. Therefore, Hospitality Brands should focus on creating experiences that align with their guests' values and expectations. By doing so, they can build a sense of loyalty among their guests, and they are more likely to return and recommend the brand to others.

What are some of the trends that Hospitality Brands need to keep in mind while providing customer experience?

Hospitality Brands need to keep in mind the changing trends in customer behavior. Customers are becoming more choice conscious and are looking for brands that share their values. Sustainability is also becoming more important to customers. Therefore, Hospitality Brands should focus on creating experiences that align with their guests' values and expectations. They should also make sure to communicate their core values and sustainability efforts to their guests.

How can Hospitality Brands create experiences that align with their guests' values and expectations?

Hospitality Brands can create experiences that align with their guests' values and expectations by understanding their guests' needs and preferences. They should conduct surveys and collect feedback from their guests to understand their values and expectations. Based on that, they can create experiences that align with their guests' preferences. For example, if sustainability is important to guests, Hospitality Brands can provide eco-friendly amenities and promote sustainability efforts within their properties. By doing so, they can build a sense of loyalty among their guests, and they are more likely to return and recommend the brand to others.

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