There is no standing still in the hospitality industry. Digitalisation is driving numerous developments and changing expectations, procedures and processes in hotels. In 2020, it is all about a holistic and positive guest experience. In this article, we present the hotel trends 2020, which promote a positive overall guest experience and take guest care to a new level, in addition to well-known hotel trends such as virtual reality, voice-controlled assistants, facial recognition and Co.
The holistic and positive guest experience
The guest journey describes the travel phases of a guest and all his or her points of contact with the hotel. From inspiration, research, booking, stay on site to the time afterwards. At best, the guest journey starts all over again. To make sure that guests will come again, hosts should always pursue one goal: a positive overall experience for their guests. To achieve this, guests must have positive experiences at every stage and every point of contact with the hotel.
In the first phase, the travel inspiration, accommodations must be easy to find and arouse the desire for vacation. This leads us to the first hotel trend:
#1 Website and social media
Most travellers inform themselves online. Easily accessible and user-friendly sources of information on the Internet are therefore essential, far beyond the mobile-optimized website. And it is important that the content is detailed and attractively designed. Tell emotional stories on all channels your target group uses. For this purpose, personal experiences of your guests are particularly suitable, for example about the great atmosphere, the friendliness of the staff or the delicious food. Social media is definitely a useful tool here. That is why you should become active in social networks and point out Instagram-suitable motives or hip places in your area. It will inspire guests and increase visibility.
- Did you know that the contents of all Digital Guest Directories of Guestfriend are written in a way that makes it easier to find you via searching engines? This is because each Digital Guest Directory is available both as an app and as a web version (progressive web app).
Next, the traveler enters the research phase, closely followed by the booking phase. In 2020, the meta search engine optimization among the hotel trends should not be missing here:
#2 Meta search engines and direct bookings
Meta search engines collect relevant information from different booking pages and prepare it as an overview. This allows travellers to compare all prices and services easily. But hosts can also take advantages of meta search engines and the search behaviour of travellers. In order to appear in the meta searches of the booking platforms at all, the website requires a direct booking tool for rooms, breakfast, massage, etc. Beautiful pictures, up-to-date information, prices and competitive offers are of course also part of the meta search engine optimization for hotels – after all, this all influences the ranking within the booking portals.
Once guests have decided which accommodation to book, the actual booking follows – either via the company’s own website or a booking portal. Since booking platforms entail additional commission fees and higher cancellation rates than direct bookings, we recommend directing more guests to the hotel website or direct booking tool. This can be achieved by e.g. SEO optimization of the hotel website, advertisements, links from other websites, social media, hotel apps, digital guest directories and much more.
- Practical: In the Digital Guest Directory hosts easily link the booking route of their website and thus increase their direct bookings. Integrated inquiry and booking forms also increase additional sales on site such as wellness massages, room upgrades or room service orders. This means more follow-up bookings and more additional sales for you.
The booking phase is followed by the stay on site. The own smartphone remains the travel companion par excellence – and is, therefore, the perfect helper for hoteliers. Used correctly, smartphones, tablets and the like support the guest service and open up further sales at the same time by communicating offers and information to the guests in real time. That is why everyone is talking about the third trend this year:
#3 Digital guest service
#3.1 Digital check-in and registration form
Since the beginning of the year, the digital registration form has been intended to relieve hoteliers in Germany and surrounding countries of bureaucratic work and to enable guests to check in digitally and quickly. Actually, there is still a lot to be clarified which methods are really legally compliant. Instead of relief, complicated procedures, expensive hardware and questionable implementation are currently the order of the day. Therefore, you should have the compliance with the Federal Registration Act in writing by your provider!
- Important: For these reasons, the electronic registration form is still the legal, simplest and most cost-effective option for all hosts. Many hosts also use the Digital Guest Directory of Guestfriend for this purpose: Let your guests simply fill in their personal data on the electronic registration form (integrated into the Digital Guest Directory) after booking. Then simply print it out and let it sign on arrival. It will save you a lot of administrative work and at the same time reduces waiting times at the reception.
Those who would like to check-in without staff can use check-in terminals on site for independent check-in, for example. They hand over the classic room cards or provide guests with mobile access via smartphone. Unless one of the legally compliant procedures has been implemented, the registration form must still be signed by the guest by hand, e.g. via the printed document in the room. If you rely on personal contact at check-in, you will have the complete document with only one signature immediately after arrival.
#3.2 Digital guest service
All in one: No matter whether you handle the check-in digitally or personally, with the Digital Guest Directory you are able to do much more than just requesting guest data. It helps you to inform, communicate and sell at the same time. Guests use their own smartphones and tablets to find everything relevant for their stay: from guests A to Z, to current daily programmes and offers, to recommendations, sights and events in the region. Messaging allows you to maintain personal contact and increase the visibility of your offers and services with push notifications. And of course, guests book your offers and services with their smartphones directly with the Digital Guest Directory. This improves existing processes at the reception and the care of guests – even when they check-in themselves.
- Sustainability will also remain a top topic in the hotel industry in 2020. Do you know how to collect plus points in terms of sustainable action at a stroke and reduce some costs? Simply integrate a “green option” in the Digital Guest Directory, to cancel the daily room cleaning!
Technologies can take care of routine tasks in hotels, not only during check-in and stay. The first hoteliers are using sensors in smart hotel rooms that can be really useful at the checkout:
#4 Intelligent sensors
Sensors in the guests’ minibars are placed under the bottles, report how many have been taken and protect hoteliers, for example, against false information when checking out. On the other hand, intelligent sensors on the floor illuminate the way to the toilet. Heat-sensitive sensors detect whether guests are in the room and prevent room service and Co. from violating guests’ privacy. And there will certainly be more to come in the future.
Of course, the guest journey is not yet completed with the departure. This is where the last phase begins, the “sharing” of experiences, e.g. hotel ratings on booking platforms, impressions on social media or personal word-of-mouth recommendations. The better the overall travel experience, the better the feedback. And that brings us back to the first step, the inspiration phase – it’s even a cycle.
- Tip: Out of sight, out of mind? Better not! Stay in touch with your guests even after their departure and actively ask about their experiences. Again, this is of course very easy with your Digital Guest Directory. In this way, you can show your guests your appreciation and strengthen guest loyalty.
Hotel Trends 2020: The key to success is a positive overall experience throughout the guest journey. Whether inspiration, booking or orientation assistance on site – modern technologies and digital tools support hoteliers in their work on the one hand and fulfil the expectations of travellers on the other.
Would you like to upgrade your service, simplify internal work processes and thus save more time and money? Then get in touch with us, we will be happy to advise you.
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