As a hotelier, which one do you prefer to be? Old School or New School?
The decision by many hotels to embrace the ‘old-style’ way of doing things has as much to do with financial constraints as it does a sense of style or that the old ways are best. In addition to saving money, those who stick to the old-school way of doing things gain a certain satisfaction, as well as a reputation. Many travelers enjoy the experience of visiting a hotel where their door has a real key and where their check-in is logged in a real book.
Technology Reshapes Expectations
However, with technology constantly reshaping both the market and the expectations of customers, now may be the time for hotels to consider reinvesting in their systems. Because of how the market has changed, particularly with the use of the internet and cloud technology, the financial argument for investing is getting stronger every day.
There is a further argument that the style and experience given to customers can be enhanced by technology without diminishing the charm that an old-fashioned place exhibits. While technology does give a modern touch, it is the building itself and the experience given by the staff that goes most of the way to crafting a user’s experience. And as most older hotels were built using a business model that always offered the best possible experience to customers it is actually fitting that many of these places should now consider offering some of the amenities afforded by the latest technology.
What Does the Latest Technology Have to Offer?
Below are some of the upgrades that old-school hotels could consider embracing, along with the advantages they offer:
- Smart Cards – While the heft or a traditional key can be pleasing, smart cards are now widespread in the hotel industry, offering a wide variety of advantages. Not only can they give guests access to their rooms but they can also be used for charging. Meals, mini-bar usage, and other purchases can all be put on the smart card, allowing the visitor to pay once at the end of their stay. Smart cards also make it easier for a guest to spend money – increasing the revenue that the hotel receives.
- Technology in Rooms – Free Wi-Fi, smart TV’s, stereos and more; consumer expectations for the amenities in their room have been rising steadily for some time. While previous generations loved to get away from it all for a holiday many people today prefer never to stay out of touch. Providing these services can significantly affect the potential customer’s decision to stay or not.
- Online Booking – For most hotels you can no longer rely on building relationships with customers and then see them again and again. Instead, hotels must focus more energy on reaching out to new customers – and the place to do this is online. Websites including Expedia, Travelocity, and Lastminute.com generate huge traffic to hotels, and many travelers use them exclusively to find their next break. Hotels that miss out could be giving competitors a huge advantage. (Read more about "5 Ways to Wow Guests with Your Online Booking")
- Cloud-Based Property Management Systems (PMS) – These systems give hotel staff tools and features that integrate much of the above technologies into one system. Hotels can enjoy online booking & distribution integrated with their front desk, so they almost know exactly how many rooms they’ve had booked. Other features include automated communications with customers, work orders for housekeeping, and the ability to analyze customer data to improve services. (Download this free ebook for more information "How to Select The Right PMS for Your Hotel")
Should Old-School Hotels Upgrade?
Ultimately upgrading to new systems can bring in a significant amount of extra revenue; by providing better services hotels can charge more and see fewer rooms left unbooked. Hotels who fear losing their character can then reinvest these extra profits to improve the service level and the rooms and decor that give a hotel its true character. With more than 50% of bookings now being made online and most customers expecting their stay to be complemented by the latest technology, hotels can’t afford not to upgrade.