Friday, February 23, 2024

Using On-Demand Technology to Cut Costs & Improve the Guest Experience

By taking advantage of the “virtual real estate” on your website or mobile app, you can offer myriad services, regardless of whether or not you actually offer them on property.

Every once and awhile, we’ll come across a boutique hotel that is hoping to consolidate multiple third-party “on-demand” technologies that it’s partnering with to offer services that exist outside of its property.

Imagine, for example, that you own a small, independent property with 75 rooms. You don’t have the room or the resources to build a full service spa, but you’d still like to offer massages to your guests. Rather than spend money building a physical space, you can leverage the “real estate” on your app or website and partner with companies like Zeel, an on-demand massage service available in the US, to send a masseuse to your guest’s room.

Put simply, by taking advantage of the ample “virtual real estate” on your website or mobile app, you can offer myriad services, regardless of whether or not you offer them on property.

What is Virtual Real Estate?

Virtual Real Estate is the space that your hotel takes up in the virtual realm. From the features on your website to the services on your app, VRE encompasses any digital experience that you offer your guests. Unlike physical real estate, VRE has the potential to cut costs, improve your guest’s experience and even generate new revenue channels.

How should I use my Virtual Real Estate?

For some reason, very few hotels think of their VRE as an opportunity to expand their services beyond the physical limitations of their property. However, given the number on-demand technologies on the market, there is no reason that even the smallest hotel cannot leverage these services to elevate their guest’s experience.

Imagine that you are a boutique hotel in a large city. You may not be able to invest in a spa, fitness center and restaurant, but by partnering with tools like Zeel (US), ClassPass and Seamless (US) or Deliveroo you can now offer all of these services to your guests. You can then link to them on your website, via your app or even on your WiFi landing page.

What are the benefits of Virtual Real Estate?

Cost Savings: The biggest and most obvious benefit of tapping into your VRE is that you can offer a huge number of services without the upfront investment. You then have the option of reallocating this investment towards an initiative that would improve the overall guest experience (free drinks upon arrival?) or just save it for a rainy day. Further, by sharing the proceeds with your on-demand vendors, you can turn a partnership into an additional revenue channel.

Deeper Understanding of your Guests: Because everything in the digital realm is always tracked, you will learn more about what services matter to what guests. Beyond learning more about each individual guest, over time, you will learn about what your guests care about as a whole. Do they order room service often? What kind? Are they booking massages? Do they care about gym memberships? All of these questions will help you tailor your operation to better align itself with your guests’ interests.

More Relevance to your Guest’s Habits: In a world when guests expect immediate access to every piece of information from their phones, they will be surprised and delighted to learn that your hotel is catering to them in a personal way. This will set you apart from your competition, and make their stay more exciting, creating an experience that goes beyond simply providing your guests with a place to sleep.


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