The pandemic primarily caused the popularity of contactless technologies.
Large-scale and impact disorders, such as COVID, provide an opportunity to rethink the way we do business and communicate with guests.
The same is happening with on-premise PMS replaced by cloud-based PMS; it has happened with online reservations and the increasing adoption of smart devices and their use in day-to-day business and travel planning.
In hospitality, priority should be given to solutions that create personalized experiences and increase the level of guest service.
The trends highlighted by Skift will shape the way hoteliers and vacation rentals communicate with their guests and increase efficiency.
Contactless is the norm.
Guests have reluctantly accepted the widespread use of smart mobile devices and chat applications. Buying, planning a trip but also staying with minimal one-on-one or face-to-face contacts suits everyone. Therefore, be smart with smart devices. 📲
All of the above was happening independently of the pandemic but much more slowly.
COVID – 19 only confirmed everything we knew about the importance of contactless technology solutions.
Deloitte Digital research published before the pandemic highlights strong consumer interest in contactless solutions before the pandemic. The survey found that 60% of travellers preferred accommodation that offers contactless check-in and keyless entry, while 57% wanted the ability to communicate with staff via their smartphones or voice assistant.
How can tourism strategically take advantage of contactless solutions? And why is contactless more efficient in meeting the changing needs of guests?
It all comes down to the question of balance – between close contact and the ability to digitally support guests and staff. ✔️
Trend # 1: The purpose of contactless technologies – data
At first glance, contactless solutions leave a more practical impression. However, behind practicality, the most crucial aspect of using contactless solutions is collecting data directly from your guests in real-time.
Relying on guest feedback and reviews is a common practice in hospitality.
Polls, comments, reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor and social media have been actively influencing the reputation of vacation rentals and hoteliers for some time. However, given the current state of close interactions, feedback and reviews are more important than ever.
Contactless tools and solutions provide instant feedback from guests, allowing a better experience and correcting deficiencies during the stay.
According to Skift, most guests do not contact staff except in the event of a severe problem during their stay.
25% of guests report any situation that affects their experience, and almost 50% of guests do not report issues because there is no easy way to do so or do not like confrontation.
On the other hand, 42% of guests would be willing to repeat the stay if the bad experience was positively resolved.
Another gap that contactless solutions can solve.
Messaging makes it easier for guests to share feedback, enabling hoteliers and vacation rentals to improve the experience and generally offer a better service quality.
Automatic answers, as well as queries, can simplify answers to recurring questions or requests.
Rentlio email templates automate the messages you send to guests while saving you time and improving your business.
Another example where a contactless solution is a better alternative is check-in.
Generally, check-in is a time for personal contact, welcoming and providing basic information.
However, this is rarely the case.
The receptions are often overloaded without enough time for an individual guest, excluding the possibility of asking general questions or just casual conversation. On the other hand, online check-in leaves enough time for staff to welcome guests appropriately.
Trend # 2: Messenger, direct messages, WhatsApp – new normal communication
Guests and employees are increasingly relying on messaging for a seamless guest experience that today’s guest wants.
According to Skift, 80% of guests think it is easier to communicate via the contactless service app, and 62% said they would share more if they could send text messages.
Regardless of the request nature, whether a query or a request for help, contactless messaging is the perfect opportunity to enrich the guest experience, from start to finish and longer.
Trend # 3: AI and personalization
As contactless becomes an increasingly present (and necessary) part of the traveller and guest experience, hoteliers and vacation rentals will need to find ways to stand out.
As in any other industry focused on close contacts, many will be confused, if not panicked, by the mention of artificial intelligence.
Can, and will the increasing use of technology replace human warmth and a sense of welcome? The relation of employees and digital solution introduction will by no means affect the human-focus of hospitality.
AI will allow staff to manage and automate specific guest interactions more intuitively. Thus, time can be used more efficiently, focusing on significant interactions to leave an extra good impression. What is excellent about implementing such solutions is their adaptation, which can be entirely in line with each need of vacation rentals and hoteliers.
Trend # 4: Contactless recovery
Occupancy is projected to increase significantly – from an estimated 41% in 2020 to 52% in 2021 – but will remain well below 2019.
Given the uncertain economic circumstances, the hesitation of hoteliers and vacation rentals when it comes to additional investments in digital solutions is not unexpected. Still, it seems like it has never been a more reasonable time to invest.
Hoteliers and vacation rentals who choose to invest in contactless solutions discover a new sense of stability, continuity, and efficiency to ensure their success even during the current crisis.
Contactless, But Close Contacts
Contactless technology proved to be life-saving during the pandemic.
Contactless has allowed many to stay open, and in many cases, its functionality has helped surprise guests in unexpected ways.
Thanks to a unique ratio of automation and personalization, contactless helps simplify business, allowing more focus on guests. An additional benefit is the provision of support and assistance to staff.
Finally, the data suggest that travellers and guests want more control over travel, experiences and stays: they want help and information when they need it.
With data help, intelligent contactless solutions help filter and prioritize decision-making, determining when to automate and when to act in close contact.
Contactless technology is not a substitute for human interaction, but it is an improvement of the same.
However, like any industry, tourism must thrive and develop. And there lies the importance of the trends we have described.
Guests want the latest technology and are more than willing to express it in surveys. Contactless technology will help vacation rentals and hoteliers achieve much greater efficiency.
As more people get vaccinated and travel restrictions ease, demand will recover as it was limited. Early numbers show how vaccinated people quickly book hotel stays.
That provides an opportunity to bring guests back. However, those you welcome have been dreaming about this experience for over a year.
They will have high expectations, and you can’t afford to let them down. Guests will be (and already are) additionally sensitive to the issue of cleanliness and exceptional customer service.
To meet expectations, rely on technology and personalization of the service, maintain personal connections with guests throughout the trip, not just the stay, and adapt to individual preferences.