Category: Trends

Tourism in the post Covid world: challenges & opportunities

The pandemic has been an unfortunate turn of events for the past two consecutive years, leaving the tourism and hospitality industries suffering its impact the hardest.

After two years since the pandemic hit, tourism and hospitality industries are taking baby steps toward the recovery road

The recovery of tourism and hospitality post COVID-19 is happening now

However, we are truly excited and curious awaiting to see how both industries resume their glory. If we were passively trying to cope with the coronavirus outbreak in the year 2020, and almost two-thirds of the year 2021, the government has been actively taking progressive actions, steadily picking up where we left and finally moving forward.

The global tourism landscape

According to a McKinsey.com report, the tourism expenditure had dropped sharply to at least 35 to 48 percent globally, especially the international tourism sector that accounted for approximately USD 1.3 trillion in export revenue. That was more than 11 times the loss of the 2009 economic crisis, crazy yet? Unintentionally, putting over 120 million tourism jobs at stake, as well as small and medium-sized tourism enterprises have been forced to close down.

Travelers’ habitual shift – the challenges deriving from your customers

Ticking off their bucket list

The travel demands have surged significantly in 2021, confirmed by 75% of travelers who took the research by Expedia Group. People have already envisioned their next vacation as soon as the restriction is lifted, creating their bucket-list destinations which they have never considered to do pre-pandemic, all due to year-long lockdowns.

Many have planned and made their all time favorite destinations list and can't wait for their next trip

Spending long term lockdown consecutively for the last 2 years has affected us all in travel behavior and habits

Take drivable leisure trips

Travelers are eager to be up on their feet again, has been noticed a drastic change in habits and behaviors. They prefer to travel within drivable locations, either by private or rental cars, which provides them a sense of safety. That is the result of sudden authorized restrictions applied whenever a new wave of outbreaks creeps in. It reassures that they can manage to get back home just in time before the lockdown takes place.

Prefer longer stay

The hybrid work has been adopted widely. This trend does not seem to settle down anytime soon and shall continue paving its path in the future. People take advantage of this flexible working to have longer stays holiday with their beloved ones to make up for the lost time.

Thorough research beforehand

If before, travelers searched for attractive landmarks, activities around town, nowadays their search priority shifted. A deeper search on the property, the facilities, the nearby neighborhoods, the amenities, and any related photos they can get their hands on is mandatory. Cancellations and cleanliness policies are also on top of the list. All to make sure they are in control and be ready for all the possibilities when things go sideways unnoticed.

Deep dive into property's information across the internet to make sure they find what they are looking for before complete their booking itinerary

No longer an impulsive holiday trip, guests are doing their background research before booking their travels

The open opportunities for hoteliers

Digitize your property

In other words, make your hotel known and reachable on the web. Promote your property across all available social media platforms and OTA channels. Focus on your targeting audiences. If you haven’t known who they are, it’s time to sit down and determine your potential customers.

Showcase your property profile with clear, accurate, and attractive photographs, which play a crucial role in the decision-making. The most concerning aspect any guest would always look for is room photos. This includes but is not limited to photo of the bed, bathroom, lobby & other facilities like swimming pools, conference rooms, fitness rooms, spas, shops, etc. They want to know what they will get, and they will expect no more no less.

Offer flexibility

The cancellations policy has become one of the concerns throughout the booking process. It is less likely for travelers to book non-refundable trips compared to pre-pandemic. Just risky in general. Giving guests a flexible cancellation policy would reinforce their purchase commitment. A case study of Eric Brown – an owner of a vacation home in Texas, USA on changing his strict 60 days cancellations to two weeks one had helped him to score 30+ bookings in a week.

Try adjust your hotel cancellations policy to be more on the flexible side. While assuring your guests best interest first, it also guarantee delivering a higher conversion rate

Customers treasure the flexibilities while travelling, whenever the uncertainty is involved, especially post COVID-19

Active in communication

Tech-savvy guests are keen on exchanging information with the property before their arrival. Be available to assist your guests as needed to eliminate their undesired features that your property might be able to remove in advance. You perhaps sneak in a few incentives such as discounted meals, upgraded room, free parking, or spa vouchers and will be amazed at their voluntary spending on other expensive amenities and services during their stays in return.

Provide customer-oriented technologies

Everyone stays connected online whether they are on vacation or not. Get your hotels equipped with the latest technology software to stay relevant in this modern day. Start with hospitality management solutions or what others would call a hotel PMS. It is the central system of your hotel operations. Trust us, a PMS helps everything work seamlessly, efficiently and costs much less. If you haven’t had one in mind yet, check out our cloud-based hospitality management solution CiHMS and choose the best fit package for your hotel.

Introducing our CiHMS - hotel management software which helps automate all your hotel operations seamlessly, effortlessly at a reasonable budget

CiHMS is a cloud-based hospitality management solution that you would ever need: powerful yet flexible at your fingertip

Other technologies to look into are touchless experiences from check-in/check-out to the keyless entry of room cards and public areas, robotic technology for room delivery, laundry services pick-up/ drop-off, voice and facial recognition, etc. There are numerous technologies out there on the market, and these can be quite an investment. Again, understand your customers, know your priorities and select the best match for your property while exceeding your customer expectations.

What about Vietnamese tourism?

Although the international tourism sector in Vietnam took only 17% of the market share, its spending expenditure captured more than half of the whole tourism spending itself. Up to 80% foreign travellers to Vietnam are from Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. Many are looking forward to visiting Vietnam on their next vacation, whenever we are ready to open for international travels again. According to Vnexpress, 63.4% of Japanese are eyeing for Vietnam travel tours.

With such demands, the acknowledged challenge for Vietnam is to control the Covid infection cases. Then gradually lost its travel restrictions and eventually opened the borders by starting the vaccine passport program. To achieve such a scenario, the Vietnam government has been aggressively pushing the vaccine campaign at full speed.

The national vaccine campaign is now in full swing. We slowly welcome vaccine passport flights over the last couple weeks, marking the start of tourism recovery in Vietnam

The vaccine passport program has been widely applied in other countries across the globe. Vietnam is taking its first step toward this right direction, remarks the its first efforts in tourism recovery strategy

Many hotels are firm to evoke upcoming promotional travel tour packages as their marketing move. It can be tempting at first, but not sustainable in the long term and might come back to hurt you financially. International tourism might take time to resume its normal stage pre-pandemic. It is best to focus on the domestic tourism sector for now, which seems to shift toward high-end travel experiences after going through the long-term lockdown and not until they complete both vaccine doses.

The world post-COVID-19 fills with challenges and opportunities for the tourism and hospitality industries. There isn’t any clear sign of when the next outbreak will occur, and whether or not we will be able to control it. It is best to take small steps with caution, don’t you think?

Learn More

The future of the hospitality industry: Smart Hotels

Hospitality is a customer-centric industry. Focusing on the guest experience has always been the top priority for hoteliers. The happier your customers are, the more they are willing to spend, and most likely return to come back. Innovation and the current emerging technologies offer hotels to seize the opportunity to leverage their existing strength and weakness to adapt and enhance their service delivery. Recently, a hotel model concept that has been actively discussed at hospitality networking events and seminars is Smart Hotel.

Hospitality industry is getting interested in the smart hotel model as the technology continuously evolves

Smart hotel model has been mentioned in hospitality seminars, events and panel discussions recently

Not many hotels find themselves willing to transition into one, simply due to the budget and time-consuming. The acceptance phase can also be tricky, resulting from the major shift in culture change and employee etiquette. In return, smart hotel technology guarantees customers satisfaction, guest experience, setting your hotel value apart from the competitors and ultimately increasing profitability. Although the term “smart hotel” familiarizes itself with the hospitality industry, only the minority understand it inside and out. Are smart hotels really the future of hotels? How is the progress of transforming into a smart hotel model? Would the benefits be worth thinking about?

What is a Smart Hotel?

A hotel that utilizes technology into their organization operation, enables it to transform the customer journey from pre-stay to arrival, in-hotel, departure to their post-stay, then repeat. Collecting the customer data throughout the journey to analyze, improve, develop and perfect each journey segment mentioned above. There are hotels already successfully transitioned into smart hotels, making revolutions in their daily hotel operations, and still yearning for more. What is exactly the smart hotel experience in each segment?

Smart Hotel Experience

A normal customer journey generally would be divided into 4 basic the following segments: Pre-stay, Hotel stay, Departure, and Post-stay.

Pre-stay

The Search

First off, customers would start out the Search phase. They are looking for accommodation for their planned destination based on various factors including but not limited to location, pricing, referrals, and their past experiences. Smart Hotels advertising or posts would have appeared once customers start their search for the hotel destination inspiration. There would be promotion packages and deals personalized to the customers’ criteria, assure to capture the lead once you detect it.

Detecting your customers' criteria as soon as the beginning of the search phase would resulting in a faster booking for your hotels

Corresponding hotel ads with customers’ destination search offering guests’ criteria on stays, locations, and hotel facilities would close the deal right away

Customers can contact your hotel through the chatbot available on your website, get instant assistance on questions and queries related to bookings or accommodation features. Any unanswered questions can be followed up through emails or direct phone calls, making sure customers do not need to go through multiple sites to get the answers they are looking for. In addition, your customers intentionally ask for your hotel room’s photos and details on the room’s layout. Nothing would explain better than a VR experience of the hotel tour from room to the common area, restaurant to fitness facilities, swimming pool to the spa and lounge. This would prompt your customers to quickly decide and close off on the best-suggested deal from your hotel offers.

The Purchase and before the arrival

Once the guests are ready to make their bookings/reservations, hotels can offer guests to choose the room’s attributes such as views, bed and pillow type, corner or connecting room, non-smoking/smoking room, etc. Guests can choose to log in by using their social accounts, which allows the system to load all their information and auto-fill as required without entering these fields by themselves. The smart hotel experience would enable guests to take their picture at the moment of booking and store this identification photo to use for check-in later on. Payment by cards is easily done by taking a snapshot of the credit/debit cards. The purchase stage is closed by your booking system automatically sending out a verification email once the payment is completed.

Before your guest arrives, a reminder email about the trip should be sent out a few days before the events. With the help of social media, hotels can customize personalized accommodation to fit guests’ stay and upsell packages as needed.

Hotel Stay

Smart Hotels enables customers to check-in via the mobile app. All the customers’ private information is processed on their mobile devices and highly secured. Guests can check in at the self-service kiosk station available at the hotel property. By scanning guests’ identification such as passport / national ID/driver licenses. Thanks to the OCR technology, the system will automatically check in the guests, and take their pictures at the kiosk station. Depending on the hotel’s, the physical room key card or the electronic key card would be sent to guests’ mobiles. Yes, contactless check-in is possible! Your hotels might not need a physical front desk.

As you apply the smart hotel model, physical front desk might not be necessary for your hotel. Facial recognition technology would let guests to check-in as soon as they approach the hotel lobby

Check-in counter might not be matter once rolling out smart hotel model project. Self-service give guests the freedom to check-in at their own pace

Some hotels have upgraded their game by letting the guests check-in using facial recognition via their hotel camera. Once the guests walk in, facial recognition features are built-in with hotel camera matches with the guests’ identification picture given during their booking process, check-in the guests immediately, and send the check-in completion confirmation to their email. The elevator would give direct access to guests’ designated floor and let them into their room with facial recognition devices or programmed e-cards. All room features such as curtains, lighting, TV, phone, AC temperature can be adjusted via mobile/tablet app or the voiced demand.

Hotels are trying to make their guests feel comfortable and truly relaxing like they are entering their own space. Access to hotel apps to request room services, laundry, and housekeeping, everything is within their fingertips. Robots are in use delivering/collecting foods and collecting/returning to the guests’ room. All appointments regarding restaurants (including buffet status, restaurant busy status), fitness center (full or empty), and spa would be available on the hotel apps at the guest’s convenience. Hotels’ partners such as tour companies, nearby attractions suggest guests with promotional packages through the hotel apps. Everything is taken care of for your guests to enjoy their stays even if it’s in-hotel or outside-of-the-hotel.

Departure

It’s finally time for your guests to leave. Queuing in line to check-out is no longer a thing. Everything is done through the hotel apps. Even minibar assumptions can be billed with IoT technology enabling electronic bills sending to guests once they pick up items from the bar. All other services would be billed and added to the check-out invoice. Cashless payment, which we mentioned in our previous blog, can be processed with guests’ mobile devices. The guests walk out with their luggage and the check-out is completed.

Post-stay

Upon their departure, emails should already be sent to customers’ inboxes to share their feedback regarding the stays and ask for their review on our hotel website in return for rewarding points for them to save up in exchange for added value services or room features upgrade for their next stage. Following up emails in a few months offer promotional and value packages for their upcoming stays.

Your guests should be received on-time following-up emails to share their feedback and review on appropriate platform, giving hoteliers the chance to improve their hospitality services

The conveniences of technology would impress your guests making their stay extraordinary. Quick follow-up upon their check-out to collect positive reviews and feedback should also be on hotels’ to-do-list

The above are merely the smart hotel experiences following along the customers’ journey. There are many other revolving smart hotels if we follow the hotel operation path: Front office, F&B, Housekeeping, Sales & Marketing, etc. To dive deep into these areas, it would take us another blog dedicated to these only. If you are interested, drop us a comment down below, we shall get that coming. The smart hotels model has been applied worldwide; surprisingly, it is quickly adopted in mainland China and attracts the young generations who come to visit on their weekend break pretty often.

What to start with transitioning into a Smart Hotel?

The most important factor for hotels in considering transitioning into smart hotel models is to find their ideal hotel management system which helps them to achieve their goal as they grow. We would not boast about our PMS if it is not what we believe is your first kick-start in this journey. Our hospitality management solution does not aim to be the ordinary PMS, we strive for digital transformation in everything we do.

Is it worth it?

Customers are your indicator. It’s the future we get you ready for, not just catching the current trend but also setting the industry. Transition into a smart hotel model is only worth it if you can follow through, and not doing it halfway. Otherwise, it only costs you more than the benefits it brings.

Looking for a private consultation on our PMS and discover what your hotel can become? Please do not hesitate to contact our support team! Or you can read all the details on our PMS at the blog section and our Facebook page for the latest news and events.

Learn More