Why every hotel needs a digital strategy
10th May 2019
Consumer technology adoption has created a tsunami of guest expectations as millennials expect a mobile-first culture; services that are instant, intuitive and accessible, placing more demands on hoteliers to have the digital infrastructure to support this new regime.
Just 10 years ago it seemed so simple to offer free Wi-Fi, and today independent hotels are looking towards a plethora of additional technologies that big brands have already adopted, placing a greater emphasis of expectation on delivery. While global hotels may have a burgeoning budget, implementation within the fabric and culture of an independent hotel is much more laborious.
Digital strategies are now of primary importance as they are enabling hotels to be more responsive to guests’ needs as well as improving efficiencies, reducing costs and focusing on the financial performance of the property.
Improved guest experiences are driving increased satisfaction levels resulting in better review ratings, helping hotels to improve their rates and visibility while also reducing the reliance on OTAs. Today properties need to own the guest’s stay from pre-booking to post-stay, a building an effective digital strategy is the first step.
Gen Z and Millennials expect to access details of their stay before arrival in order to seek out hotel amenities, menus, local activities and places of interest, giving them an enriched experience where they are in control. Hotels need to embrace this change and deliver the brand impact through technology.
The digital-first approach of the world’s largest hotels
The top hotels in the world have been working furiously over the past decade to stay at the forefront of innovation to compete not just in their own hotel set, but also against dominant online travel agencies (OTAs) and other online travel services.
Putting the customer first and listening to the needs of the modern traveller, big brands have had to rethink their sales propositions, customer experience, marketing engagement and infrastructure. Hotels have been forced to create new digital strategies to compete with younger and more agile digital native businesses.
The world’s largest hotels have trialled new technologies and approaches that will enable independent hotels to select only the most successful. For example: Virgin Hotels’ investment in AI chatbots to answer guests' every whim; Hilton Hotels’ ‘Expect Better’ campaign, earning direct bookings from expensive OTA commission fees; or Hyatt's mobile app, considered one of the best on the market for driving bookings, engagement and upselling.
How every hotel can develop a digital strategy
Independent hotels have the opportunity to integrate digital strategies and bring digital transformation more rapidly and within the heart of their customer service, providing greater efficiencies and a more engaging guest experience.
The mobile device shows no sign of waning in popularity with more people downloading travel apps than ever before. These offer guests the convenience of booking hotel rooms, accessing last-minute deals, and keeping track of their rewards programs. On top of this, there is a deluge of additional functionalities including mobile check-in, room access, in-app purchasing, and multi-language support.
Communication with guests is more intimate through mobile apps, allowing for greater personalisation, promotional upselling and onsite messaging, all contributing to an increase in total revenue per available room (TREVPAR) and providing a more enhanced brand experience.
Independent hotels can build their competitive advantage by providing the same functionality without the huge investment made by the big hotel brands.
Find out more in our latest eBook
How Criton can help you?
At Criton, we give independent hotels and serviced apartment operators access to the same technology that big chains already adopt. We have built bespoke apps with a wide range of functionalities (including push notifications, messaging, ordering, PMS integration, digital key) for clients including luxury boutique hotels and national chains of serviced apartments. Get in touch today to find out how we can help your business.