As the pandemic recedes, a new era of travel seems to be around the corner. A large population all over the world has been vaccinated and caseloads have seen a reduction – factors all too well pointing towards a possible surge in travel. Having been bound within their homes for months now, travelers are looking forward to stepping out and breathing a sigh of relief, quite literally, as countries around the world, slowly yet cautiously relax restrictions.
Travel with a vengeance may just become the buzz words for times to come as the world learns to maneuver its way around the virus and its ill effects. Studies have shown travel to be the second-most-desired activity that respondents wanted to indulge in once the pandemic subsides. The hospitality industry is also witnessing a resultant increase in demand, be it room reservations or flight bookings, which makes it imperative for hotels/accommodation providers to prepare now for the expected influx of travelers. Newly established travel protocols, mandatory health check-ups, social distancing etc. has led to long queues and an extension in time spent at airports. The struggle is real, and it makes it necessary for hotels to recognize the need of the hour and equip themselves accordingly.
Depending on the number of cases prevalent and the rate of inoculation, countries in different parts of the world have reacted differently to easing travel curtailments. Whatever the case may be, those who do not construct themselves to take advantage of the valuable opportunities that are bound to arise may lose out on the possibility to recover from the unanticipated financial blow.
Let us take you, hotel industry crusaders, through those crucial aspects to work on to ensure you meet the needs of your consumers.
- Rebuilding capacity
- Invest in digital assets
- Revisit Pre-established commercial approaches
- Know your customers better
All over the world, people are yearning to put on their travel shoes and embark on journeys, especially those who have not been affected economically by the pandemic. Certain strata of people have the will and the means to travel and are waiting for the next best opportunity to not only travel within their countries but also as far as the current scenario allows them. Despite the all-pervading desire within people worldwide to travel, countries can only manage their reopening by considering the situations specific to them, with regard to the caseloads and the vaccinations administered.
But there is another concern that cannot be ignored and that is the inability of the tourism and hospitality industry to maximize the imminent spike in demand. The travel supply chain is already showing signs of immense strain. However, being foresighted and preparing in advance can spare hotels, car rental providers, airlines etc. any embarrassment that a tricky situation like this could bring.
1. Rebuild Capacity
Welcoming the new wave of travelers means amping up the scope in all domains, especially in those areas which had to be diminished in capacity. When the pandemic hit the world, everything had come to a sudden standstill, which led to many in the travel and hospitality industry losing their jobs. Some switched to other industries, with a resolve to never return. However, all this landed the travel supply chain in a situation of lack of trained manpower to handle the expected demand.
A similar scene can be noticed in the capacity levels of the global aviation sector, as many aircraft remain in storage and the staff suffers due to lay-offs. While bringing the travel supply engine back to ignition may be a costly affair, keeping it inactive could have far greater repercussions.
2. Invest in Digital Assets
Investing in digital support systems is the most viable step in the post-pandemic world. It is known to all that a customer’s experience is shaped by the journey he/she undertakes, from researching to narrowing down options to making a booking, staying and finally the return home. With the pandemic, the protocols they’d have to follow at every step would only increase and they would need and expect far more assistance, at each point. For the hospitality industry, a PMS like Hotelogix could work effectively in sharing the load. From contactless check-in facilities that help maintain social distancing and quicken the process, to keeping an accurate record of guest data, including their likes, dislikes and preferences to help hoteliers meet specific demands (health and sanitation being of utmost importance now), a PMS can help the hospitality sector add a clear winner to their list of value propositions. It could potentially be a resolution to many customer pain points which can prevent degradation in perception.
3. Revisit Pre-established Commercial Approaches
The unpredictable climate in the travel world has made it necessary for travel companies, hotels and the likes to adapt their offerings. Last-minute bookings, cancellations, even unannounced visits are all going to be common denominators in travel. Therefore, it has become important that service providers make room for these and integrate them in their operations in such a way that while meeting commercials, they also aid in providing customers with a favourable experience.
It is time to rewrite the norms as history no longer serves as a great source for insights on booking behavior, travel preferences etc. that may be relevant now. The hospitality industry must tap into every available source of insight to get a good understanding of demand and to optimize prices accordingly. Flexible or dynamic pricing models are therefore great in dealing with customer discomfort with the ever-changing scenario. For hoteliers, Property Management Systems which tie with Revenue Management Systems come in handy in offering prices to customers, based on demand and the inventory available for disposal. Similarly, hotels may have to think of ways to repurpose their existing facilities. For example, offering rooms on rent for government use, to create provisions for quarantining of Covid-19 patients. Likewise, travel agents may need to utilize their automobiles as cab facilities to beat any downtime.
4. Know Your Customers Better
Differentiating services/offerings to meet your customer’s needs is fundamental to a business, and more so in the current scenario. To know your target audience better, it is important to invest in the latest means. Technology can give you a hand in knowing, understanding, and then reaching them with products/services that evoke a genuine interest. Hospitality businesses would also be able to benefit through this by being able to recognize emerging trends and possible hiccups before they blow out of proportion and become unmanageable.
To personalize experiences and to make them memorable for guests, data plays a strong role. It has long been a favourite with luxury properties, but now accommodation providers of all kinds are resorting to data to make lasting impressions and strengthen guest relations. This ultimately helps hoteliers distinguish themselves from their competitors.
The looming travel boom can be optimized by finding smart and creative ways to thrive in the uncertain business environment. Use the tips discussed to prepare for the win.
Hotelogix Editorial Desk
Hotelogix‘s team of researchers and writers are constantly innovating to share the latest trends from the travel and hospitality space. Got suggestions? Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.