Necessity is the mother of innovation. In a time where approximately 70% of hotel workers have lost their jobs, many hoteliers have frozen funds in order to save money. But when you freeze money, you’re not making money. And the hope to rehire these workers after the pandemic is diminished.
So what do you do? The answer is to wisely spend your money on areas that will help get your property back on its feet and even yet, make money in the midst of a pandemic. This is why digital transformation for hotels is the most important change you can make to your property business right now.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of implementing contemporary, fast technology to your business in order to solve problems. Despite modern technology infiltrating our day-to-day lives (smartphones, smart cars, smart everything), many businesses are not fully utilizing advanced technology. Many property managers have even shied away from digitally transforming their properties out of fear of expense and change.
But change is needed. Change is necessary. At a time where over 90% of the world has been forced to work from home, the need for digital tools has never been more in demand. Some companies are starting to get the message. In a recent survey from Econsultancy, approximately one in five global enterprises claim that they have increased spending in digital initiatives. And even more have plans to. That same survey claims that more than half of the respondents from large enterprises say that the biggest change their organization has made since the outbreak is shifting their messaging to emphasize digital fulfillment.
Simply put, your company must be able to efficiently maintain virtual contact with your customer base. You may have seen it already. Your email is probably full of digital offers such as webinars, discounted online shopping, and offerings to support your local businesses. Specifically, in the hotel industry, people are building up a craving to travel in the midst of this lockdown. If you can reach out to them and have some form of contact, the chances of your hotel booming in the months following the pandemic increase dramatically.
How Long Does it Take to Digitally Transform?
The hesitation for hotel owners to initiate a digital transformation stems from the unknown. It may seem like a daunting process from the outside. But coming from a property management software business like Booking Ninjas, we can tell you that that is not a problem. A trial account takes just a matter of a few days to set up. And once your trial is set to expire, your PMS has already been customized and scaled to your liking. Digital transformation projects that in previous years took over a year to complete can now be done in as little as 2 to 3 weeks.
Many hoteliers are under the impression that they need an IT organization to launch a digital transformation. But in fact, less than 10% of customized fields are used to segment customers and according to Marketing Land, “82% of predictive data used for recommendations comes from behavioral data already ‘at your finger tips’.”
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Digital is the Future
In a silver lining to the coronavirus pandemic for hotels, many hotel owners are realizing the importance and benefit that digital tools provide them. When the world is back to normal, normal is going to be different. There’s a pretty good chance that more workers will continue to work from home even after the pandemic. This is because business owners are realizing the potential of remote technology. Business meetings are now regularly being conducted over Zoom. Marketing teams’ full focus has been on online campaigns. Companies are utilizing social media more than ever. Now, businesses are starting to figure out this technology and are becoming accustomed to the benefits of a largely at-home lifestyle.
What this means is more digital jobs. And with more digital jobs, you need more digital tools. Property owners should change their mindset from automation replacing human workers, to maximizing the potential of human beings through the use of automation. Technology makes people more efficient.
This is why digital transformation is not necessarily about making your business more advanced, but increasing the production and value of your employees.
The Digital Workflow
By far, the most challenging part of a digital workplace is communication between employees. For this reason, hotel managers should be encouraged to form coalitions of team members from various levels of their business to identify and fix culture and technological barriers. Lack of communication can result in high turnover rates. Hoteliers need to ensure that workers are not taking too much advantage of their job flexibility. A digital property management software can provide a central location for all team members to communicate about responsibilities.
A hospitality business must then determine the true capability of their digital transformation provider. Every company has different goals and uses for their digital provider. Check the scalability of a digital solution finder before investing in it. If it can’t adapt to your business’ needs then it’s not worth investing in.
To that note, all digital solutions begin and end with the customer. When digitizing your property, you should always put yourself in the shoes of the customer. What would they want to see from your platform? What would make it easier for them to find your hotel and book a room? Think about improving the UX.
And of course, digital transformation is always evolving. With constant updates to technology, hotel owners need to make sure that they are staying on top of the latest trends and advancements in the industry. Establish KPI’s to keep your employees aware of quarterly goals. To this note, make your KPIs measurable. Recently, Geekhive CEO Peter Ladka was quoted as saying, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.”
How To Digitally Transform Your Hotel
- Focus on the Customer - As we just mentioned, every digital solution you provide should have the customer in mind. Don’t just make your worker’s lives easier, but the customers as well. After all, this is all about increasing your bottom line.
- Align Management - Make sure that every member of your team is supportive of the change and the vision of your digital transformation. Align your department heads on the new goals for the hotel.
- Seamless Integration - All of your data systems should be integrated into your company’s internal processes. Furthermore, a pms that seamlessly integrates with a variety of outside apps and websites can be greatly advantageous.
- Data Security - With a largely digital workplace, new concerns come up about security and privacy. These should always be near the top of a hotel manager’s priority list. For this reason, a cloud-based digital solution should be in buyer’s sights.
- Evolution of Services - During the coronavirus pandemic, hotels are struggling to come up with strategies to stay afloat. While some hotels, like the CitizenM, are offering travel vouchers and encouraging donations to help charities of their choosing. Staying in touch with your customer base and inspiring future purchases is what a digital solution is all about.
- Customization - Personalization is without a doubt one of the biggest advantages to going digital. Get to know your customer’s purchase history and preferences to be able to accurately recommend services that they would enjoy.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed businesses without a digital strategy. Digital transformation for hotels is no longer a fleeting thought in the back of hotelier’s minds. It is now a necessary move to ensure that hotels will live on during and after the pandemic. Coronavirus has already left a lasting impact on the world and how we do business. But through change comes innovation. Human beings are made to evolve. Adapt to the times with a digital solution to ensure your future and the future of the hotel industry.
Booking Ninjas offers a digital property management solution. If you’d like to learn more, check out one of our next webinars where our Founder and CEO demonstrates the advantages of our software.
This featured blog was written by Justin Deagle, a contributor for Booking Ninjas. If you have any questions about the article or want to learn how to digitally transform your hotel with Booking Ninjas, feel free to shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org