Almost 11 months on and the United States is still in the midst of the COVDI19 pandemic. Delayed and limited economic activity has already disrupted hospitality growth while leaving hotels and lodging businesses with less than half occupancy rates throughout the year.
Travel has been meager in the US with only essential travelers like business travelers & blue-collar workers making trips. For conventional travelers health safety, sanitization, and social distancing are major concerns as hospitality businesses reopen post-COVID19.
Travelers planning to go on vacations with the holiday season fast approaching and new years on the doorstep will be looking for a radical redesign to the hotel experience. One of our earlier blogs also quoted a survey that identified immediate action guests demand from hotels.
Travelers are primarily concerned about health safety, COVDI19 transmission, room hygiene, staff interactions, and the sterilization of public areas. This poses a demanding task for hoteliers to conform to critical guest demands.
Hotels on the other hand have a demanding task to ensure guest experiences are delightful while health safety is maintained 24 hours. Enacting digital service touchpoints, health safety guidelines, and managing the entire process poses great complexities for any hotelier.
Keeping Guests Engaged
The first step for hoteliers is to build an empathetic relationship with guests is by connecting with them. For instance, Hilton hotels are already delivering the latest information about their hotels and cleaning standards through their signature mobile app.
Delivering timely information to guests through social feeds, email, mobile apps, and websites is a common practice we are seeing from the Marriot group, Hilton, Four Seasons, and many others. Hospitality providers are also publishing cleaning standards and compliance badges online to demonstrate their commitment to guest safety.
Marriot Hotels have both made information available through their BonVoy app, but also set up a Cleanliness Council to help enact crucial COVID19 safeguards in their hotels. The Signature Marriot BonVoy app delivers the latest hotel information, online bookings, mobile room keys, mobile check-in, concierge help, and safety guidelines for guests.
Redesigning the Guest Journey
To improve guest experience post-COVID19 hoteliers must revisit their entire guest journey to determine all touchpoints that must now remove staff. Most hotel owners are now moving towards a more techtastic guest experience, proving contactless services like self-check-in, mobile room keys, contactless food delivery, and robotic butlers.
Hotels now have the opportunity to hand over the entire guest experience to the guest. Personalization being a popular term in the last decade will finally take shape as guests tailor their entire experience through mobile apps and other self-service technologies.
Hotel owners usually begin by conducting technology gap assessments for their assets, to determine where they stand. A professional tech gap assessment identifies all relevant service touchpoints and liabilities that can affect the post-covid19 guest experience.
Managing Liabilities To Enrich the Guest Experience
Liability & risk management is now a popular topic for hospitality managers with multiple areas of concern to consider. Data privacy and security were just beginning to take center stage and then comes along a highly contagious disease.
Health safety and room hygiene remain the top priority for hoteliers and staff, who must ensure that each and every guest is safe on the property. This liability while actively being managed through technology assistance still requires constant improvement & monitoring from hoteliers.
The Westing Houston Medical Center Hotel deployed UV sterilization bots to assist staff while offering rigorous cleaning standards to attract guests. Similarly, other hotels are installing thermal scanners and sanitization stations to curb infection.
Developing strict cleanliness & hygiene standards will be an essential step in enhancing guest experiences in the US. Hilton, Marriot, and other hotel groups are actively enhancing their cleanliness guidelines to ensure these liabilities are actively managed.
The increasing threats of COVID19 are forcing hoteliers to enact stricter cleanliness standards and integrate more technology to maintain guest satisfaction ratings. As the COVID19 pandemic looms hoteliers will look to renovate properties to deliver more contactless services to ensure guest health safety.