The world of hotel management has evolved at tremendous pace over recent years, largely driven by technologies.
In simple words these three technologies have single handedly been the enablers and disruptors.
a) The Cloud
b) Social Media
c) The Mobile Revolution
Platforms have made a logical inroad with the creation of sophisticated infrastructures, networks and connections & integrations. These elements are driving the entire industry to re-invent itself. We have seen the emergence of new distribution patterns and options. The surge of OTAs and the loss of market share from intermediary agents and tour operators, whilst direct reservations become increasingly important and strategized by hotel companies.
Social media also play an increasingly important role in driving sales, whilst hotel reputation management has become a key success component. This has given rise to innovative hotel management structures in this 21st century, and these have become totally ‘Guest-Centric’. In other words, it’s all market driven in real time, and guests dictate how quickly these changes are adopted by hotels. Failing to identify these fundamentals will likely drive hotels out of their markets.
The four phases of the hotel management cycle, as we see them at Hospitality Plus are simplified as being –
c) In House Operations
d) Post Stay
They need managing distinctly.
So where do we see the hospitality management market going next?
As digital breakthrough speeds up, and we get compelled into implementing complex to manage hospitality solutions, it will become increasingly important to harness people around corporate objectives, corporate culture and the whole digitalization process. No single service will work in isolation, and technologies will continue being ‘people’ driven, demanding more self service solutions.
At Hospitality Plus we have gambled on a few predictions to support our strategies.
These are, in our independent view;
- More guest centric solutions and services to enable growth in peer to peer demand. We have gone from a B2B, to a B2C to a P2P environment, and hotels must embrace these changes.
- The surge in artificial inteligence have linked customer relationship management tools and yield management solutions. This delivers unprecedented marketing data. The shift from Big Data to Precision Data may even re-invent our industry.
- Content management must evolve and be updated continuously. Live videos and up to date photos, often guest generated and loaded, will be the trend. Obviously firewalls exist and will be applied.
- We are already seeing a surge in “data security – compliance – anti-intrusion” protection standards globally. These may impair on how we do business in our hospitality environment.
- We have moved into a ‘mobile first’ environment and seen the growth of social media influence. These have given rise to other phenomenon in our environment. Hotel reputation management in real time. Reputation impacts severely on rate plans and booking conversions. Guests do not want to be mixed with, or to be perceived as being part of bad reputation organisations. Another branding head ache!
- Technologies have also given rise to what we call ‘crowdsourcing – crowd sales’. Again, this is still poorly understood by the industry. Social media and mobile-data communication drives this growth. Its impacts are not properly measured yet. However hotels are warned.
- Hospitality ‘Block Chains’ are seeing the day. Stakeholders are being pulled onto inter-connected supply chains.
- Enabled by digital solutions and the cloud, more training and perhaps more business process outsourcing will become the norm.
- Change management has become the only ‘constant’ and this will likely drive more staff turnover and burnouts.
- The race for “more for less” will grow, complemented with additional pressures from open source financial markets.In a transparent world we can no longer afford to operate in isolation.
System talk to each other, and we are likely to see the emergence of growing networks with ‘value exchange protocols’.
Supply chains will become managed by artificial intelligence and the human role will evolve but remain in control.
Mass collaboration with infinite reproducibility will become the norm, and the hotel industry will not be excluded from this disruptive environment.
Who would have thought that the world’s largest taxi company owns no vehicles (Uber)?
Who would have predicted that the world’s most popular media owner creates no content (Facebook)?
Unreal it may be, but the world’s largest retailer owns no inventory (Alibaba).
Closer to our turf, who would have thought that the world’s largest accommodation provider owns no real estate (Airbnb)?
The management of hotels will be: Reinvented, Simplified and Outsourced in many ways.
Revenue & yield management will be automated with AI.
Reservation platforms will manage distribution and many other operational departments will work with third party support.
Hotels will be owned by investment funds and administered by asset managers, who will perhaps engage with multiple specialists to manage their assets.
Hotel management structures and control will evolve.
Blockchain-Digital enablers will continue changing our world.
They are not disruptive technologies as many may think. They are foundation technologies that will create fresh opportunities for hotels.
Make no mistake, the business of hotel management has evolved, but the basic principles of guest satisfaction remain unchanged.
Together, lets embrace these opportunities !
Author: Philip Taylor CEO