By Jos Schaap – CEO & Co-Founder at ROOMDEX
Another year is winding up and looking back, I can say with confidence that when we all returned from the holidays last January no one could have foretold the year we were about to face. As the year rolled on, we clung onto the idea that a return to some sort of normality was just around the corner. However, flight, occupancy and visitation numbers continue to be devastatingly below norms.
But with a vaccine in its very early stages of a role out, there are many reasons to be cautiously optimistic as we look to 2021. It is expected that travel will begin on its path to normalcy in Q2 and Q3 of 2021. Business travel may start again. People will be able to actually meet in person and then discuss future plans over dinner.
With a vaccine now almost in hand, tourists cheated out of 2020 are starting to make plans. Over the last four weeks, Skyscanner.com has seen a 368% jump in searches for international destinations for travel in January. Travelers want to do more and may be willing to spend more. They have saved up. They want to realize their missed vacations, short trips, weddings, and group events. According to MMGY Travel Intelligence, 2021 will lead to stronger than anticipated activity. “As people see the “all clear” signals develop post-winter, an appetite for cultural, dynamic and multi-layered travel experiences will play-out like we have never seen before,” states MMGY’s Clayton Reid. “More trips, more spending and more focus on the authentic aspect of travel connections.”
With that optimism in mind, it’s definitely that time of the year for hoteliers to pen a Wishlist to Father Christmas. It won’t take a miracle to get your hotel ready to compete for the returning travelers, but there are a few must-haves you’ll want under your tree. To save you some time, I have gone ahead and made: The Hoteliers Christmas Wish List.
I have been really very good this year. All I want are these four wishes:
Christmas Wish #1 – A New PMS: Even with a vaccine, guests will be wary of personal contact. Call it the COVID hangover. Now is the time to install a frictionless, touch-free and self-service solution. Therefore, Christmas wish #2 is going to be, out with the traditional PMS and in with a new cloud PMS solution. But just not any PMS solution. I want a PMS with an open API structure and one that offers free integration to all the other systems I want. Yes, it sounds a little greedy, but it’s going to be a very competitive year out there and I need a solution that is scalable and flexible. It also needs to be mobile. I have learned the importance of remote work! My PMS needs to be accessible anytime, anywhere.
Now this might sound like a big ask but any informed Father Christmas would know that there are plenty of cost-effective solutions on the market that could meet all those requirements. Ones I have my eye on are:
- StayNTouch, because it’s easy to use and it’s mobile – plus it comes with built in mobile check in and out.
- An alternative option would be Oracle Clouds OPERA – it is very promising what they are doing with OHIP.
- Protel Air PMS has added some really nice new features that make it more efficient.
- Mews Operations not only has a bunch of new features but they keep adding more and more every month to their product – who wouldn’t want access to such innovation?
- And finally, Apaleo With this platform a hotel has the ability to extend and maximize the technology that I want to offer in the hotel.
Christmas wish #2 – A Mobile Check-in and Out Service
Due to the pandemic, like many hotels, we had to reduce staff. So, in 2021, we will have to become more efficient. So, I want a mobile check in and out service that’s fully automated. Not only will it reduce the administrative workload of my employees, but it appeals to both tech savvy travelers and those who would prefer a contactless touch free solution post COVID.
And, Santa, if you could get around to it, it would also be nice if my mobile service solution came with mobile key too. I am really taken with both 4 Suites and openkey, so If I could get either of those installed I’d be very happy on Christmas morning!
Christmas wish #3 – A New Digital Upsell System
I just couldn’t leave this one off the list. With COVID every dollar really does count and so all and any incremental revenue gains will be big in 2021. So, I want a fully automated digital room upgrade and upsell system to get existing guests to spending a little more. For this, I would go with ROOMDEX, as they are fully automated and a no brainer to implement.
Not only is it a quick and efficient way to increase revenue, but ROOMDEX solution is also quite convenient for the guest. By digitally offering the guest the option of early arrival and late check-out prior to arrival or departure, enhances the guest experience and increases overall satisfaction.
Christmas wish #4 – A Revenue Management System
Okay, just one more wish. Going in to 2021, I think I would also include an RMS system as, no doubt, demand will return. This would give my revenue manager the time to focus on strategy while the RMS determines the best price, saving me a lot of labor (and headaches) and help lead gains in ADR and RevPAR.
If I had to pick a particular solution, I’d love to get IDEAS or Duetto, but would also be very open to the more modern and affordable solutions from Pace and Atomize – the latter boasts great mobile features and is fully automated.
That’s it! I’ll leave the milk and cookies out for you!
Your Favorite Hotelier