As world borders start opening up once more, travelers are booking hotels again and noticing that many hotels are falling behind the times, having let themselves slip over the course of the pandemic.
So if you’re a hotel owner welcoming business back, here are a couple of points to brush up on.
Common Mistakes Hotels Make
Not Maintaining Your Hotel
This step is a common-sense rule and yet something many hotel owners overlook. And especially as the pandemic has had a massive impact on cash flow for many properties, upkeep is something which has taken a back seat.
But now that travelers and bookings are coming back, maintenance should be the top priority. Travelers don’t want return to an underwhelming experience, and owners don’t want their first reviews post pandemic to leave a poor impression.
Bad reviews which tell other travelers your hotel has slipped over the course of the pandemic and is now run down and dated will impact your ability to recover those bookings. So this one is in everybody’s best interests.
Fix those lights, potholes in the car park, inspect pipes, and complete a full inspection to confirm what you need to do to improve the rooms.
Even if you have to block out certain wings of the hotel / rooms and start by selling a limited inventory, weigh up whether this is better than risking your online reputation.
In a world where general contractor training online is easier than ever, it should be easy to find contractors willing and ready to be put to work.
Not Upgrading Your Technology
Travelers today expect modern technology from a hotel experience, and things like a working TV, heating / airconditioning and other modern tech is an important part of the overall experience.
But more than just having working technology, consider whether the tech you offer is modern. Technology is constantly evolving, and to stay competative some properties are now taking their inclusions to the next level.
Things like including strong, reliable WiFi in every room, streaming subscriptions built into each TV, and digtally controlled appliances like heating and lighting are becoming the norm. For instance, quality heating by ARS can improve the level of comfort in the rooms and help guests feel welcome.
Also think about the technology experience though, including things like the practical placement of plugins (are there enough?), and providing a comfortable office set-up now that the work from home revolution means many are traveling with their laptops in tow.
Not Offering Flexible Hours
In a world where travelers have become digital nomads, and people are increasingly working from their hotels, it’s no longer just about late / awkwardly timed flights which see people wanting flexible hours.
Yes, 10 am checkout / 3 pm checkin is the norm across the world, but where hotels really shine is by offering flexible hours. And many big name brands like Marriott are already offering flexibility of 1 pm checkouts.
This can be offered as a perk for guests who join your mailing list, or membership program, or you could simply offer flexibility as an inclusion based on availabilty at the time.
Traditionally this has been a need of guests who have late departures / early arrivals, however you may find that many guests now wish to utilize the hotels technology after check-out if they remain on the property and need to keep virtual ‘office hours’.
At the very least, offering continued access to WiFi, and the flexibility to utilize public / noise free spaces so your guests can get some work in after having checked out, will leave a better last impression upon them, upon check-out.
Housekeeping When You Need it
This one can be a bit tricky depending on your staffing capabilities, as we understand that not every privately owned hotel has the ability to employ a housekeeping staff on 24 hours a day.
But simply timing your housekeeping services to a schedule which is practical to most travelers expectations will mean you can avoid this very big mistake.
Firstly, many guests don’t need housekeeping daily, and especially with the responsible travel movement taking off, many travelers are now conscious of their environmental impact; they don’t need towels and sheets changed daily, preserving the water and energy wastage.
Make sure there’s a do not disturb sign included in the room for travelers to make their choise on housekeeping known to staff, and ensure your staff are trained to respect traveler privacy.
Considering that many travelers are now working from their hotel rooms, it’s also likely nowadays that they spend more time in the room throughout the day, in virtual meetings. If they have a sign up, they don’t need housekeeping knocking.
Keep the time window housekeeping visits practical too; no-one needs a change of sheets at 8 am, or new towels at 11 pm, unless it’s been specifically requested.
If you don’t have a housekeeping staff on 24 hours, it may be worthwhile keeping some of the most commonly requested items, like toilet paper, extra pillows etc, in a stash behind reception, so that these items are available for guest requests at odd hours.
No-one likes being told they have to wait for a new roll of toilet paper until housekeeping clocks on in the morning.