Whether you’re a small-time hotelier, or a general manager at a big brand, there are some changes that you should look out for in the hotel industry this year.
The industry is changing in unprecedented ways that could have hardly been foreseen 10 or 20 years ago. Hotel employees will have to face new challenges, and those at the top of the ladder will need to learn how their job description is changing and morphing.
The changing role of General Managers
General managers are no longer simply responsible for overseeing the day to day running of the hotel; they are now tech whizzes, marketers and forecasters, anticipating guests’ every need through technology, rather than intuition. This is particularly true as hotel owners are demanding revenue, while guests are expecting more for their money. You’ll need to be making sure that both parties see a return on investment.
As we move through the year, the central trend will continue to focus on big data and data analysis becoming an integral part of the general manager and revenue manager’s role.
Smarter guest insight
How do we attract more guests? How do we increase revenue? The eternal questions every hotelier wants to know. There are many answers to those core questions, but smart interpretation of data to understand the guest could mean you’re halfway there.
Data exists to help hotels increase both the number of relationships with the guests, and to help improve those relationships. In turn, better relationships with guests create better data.
The hotel market is a competitive one, and predictive intelligence (using guest trend data to identify patterns and make predictions) will be what puts the successful hotels ahead of the game.
The key to doing this well is avoiding silos of data and instead using tools to achieve perspective on the bigger picture – creating actionable insights.
Data analysis doesn’t stop with targeted marketing campaigns. Take Marriott for example. They look at specific datasets from weather reports and local events and use that data to forecast demand and determine a value for each room. Prices are set with efficiency, utilising hotel distribution tools and connectivity technology. A rounded approach to metasearch management, dynamic ads, channel management and seasonal email marketing offers allow them to distribute to their target market. These types of strategies are leading to an increase in revenue per room for many large chains, and there’s no reason why some of the core principles couldn’t be applied to independent hotels.
Technology continues to evolve
The biggest hype this year in the hospitality industry is tech. Yes, we know. Tech in the industry saw a huge boom last year. While this is true, it’s just a trend that’s going to keep growing in the months ahead, with no end in sight. In 2016, we saw a growing number of hotels begin catering to guests’ tech needs, through perks such as hotel apps, in-room smart features, complimentary WiFi and more.
However, on the other side of things, tech is becoming more popular behind the scenes. More and more general managers are using technology and integrated apps and devices to manage their hotels more efficiently.
The technology exists to manage hotel marketing and distribution, but that technology will become smarter, easier to use and more popular. For example, there are now tools like One by DerbySoft where guest houses and B&Bs can access channel management, update information across platforms, build their website and booking engine all in one place.
Growth of the Chinese market
“The Chinese outbound travel market is number one in the world and will likely hit 200 million by 2020,” noted Robert Rauch in a recent article. If you want to attract your share of 120 million outbound trips per year generated from the growing Chinese tourism market then you need to get your hotel listed on WeChat.
WeChat is where Chinese travellers look for new experiences inside and outside of the country, it’s the number-one communication tool in China and is used by more than 800 million monthly users. It’s essentially an advanced social network where users can make hotel reservations directly within the app.
DerbySoft’s soon to be available WeChat marketing module (as part of One by DerbySoft) will be the only solution on the market for independent hotels.
As you can probably see, the hotel industry’s year relies very heavily on technology and hoteliers’ and general managers’ usage of such.