In the world of short-stay accommodation, embracing the advancements brought about by technology can be both inspiring and challenging. let’s look at how smaller properties, perhaps hesitant to part with tradition, can better navigate this brave new world. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken?
In a world where change is the only constant, the notion of the “good old days” often refers to a mere 20 or 30 years ago, a blink of an eye for some of us. Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace, ushering in new innovations and opportunities within the accommodation sector.
Embracing the advancements that technology brings is both inspiring and exciting. However, in this brave new world, some smaller accommodation operators may hesitate to let go of the familiar. After all, why fix something that isn’t broken?
These establishments, while perhaps lacking the latest gadgets, often excel in offering a higher level of customer service and personal interaction—a quality that still holds immense appeal to a significant portion of the traveling public.
The challenge now lies in maintaining a service and product that resonates with all generations and market segments while remaining inclusive for everyone. Importantly, recent technological advancements offer accommodation providers a unique chance to combine modern technology with the time-honoured principles of hospitality.
Here are some ideas on how to bridge these two worlds:
- Personalised check-in: For many, having a reception desk or personalised check-in is a distinguishing feature and a welcome option, especially for travellers unfamiliar with the area. Offering contact-free check-in can be an excellent way to accommodate everyone’s preferences.
- Handwritten welcome notes: Even with contact-free check-in, adding a personal touch is vital. Consider providing guests with a small handwritten note welcoming them and suggesting local attractions or activities. Personalisation comes in many forms and the act of writing a note is another way to show the human side of the business.
- Multiple communication channels: Ensure that guests have various means of contacting your property. These include in-person interactions at reception, phone and email, and more modern communication platforms like Messenger, WeChat, WhatsApp, Google, or direct messaging.
- Concierge services: Offer the service of making dinner or tour bookings for the guests. This can be via messages, a phone call, or in person. Guests will appreciate the recommendations and service even if it isn’t in person.
- Acknowledge the cleaning team: While technology simplifies customer service, the task of cleaning guest rooms still requires manual labour. In situations where there is minimal guest interaction, consider providing a small note or information about your cleaning team. This not only personalises your business operations but also gives guests an opportunity to express their appreciation for the hardworking cleaning staff.
As an accommodation operator who was trained with “old school” hospitality foundations and is excited about the future with the improved technology, I see an enormous, I see tremendous potential for businesses that embrace the best of both worlds. Both traditional hospitality and modern technology-driven procedures hold value within the industry.
As we move forward it will be beneficial to embrace all methods and styles of operations for a strong and exhilarating future of the accommodation industry.
Emily Stephens, Founder and Managing Director of The Accommodation Project, has been working in accommodation operations for over 20 years. Starting as a receptionist, she has worked her way through the ranks in different types of accommodation both overseas and in Australia to now operate an apartment hotel with her husband in a beautiful coastal town in Victoria. Combining her passion for the industry and wanting to help and support fellow operators, The Accommodation Project was created. Building on the confidence and proficiency of newcomers so that all properties find their place in an ever changing and exciting sector.