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2021 Tips, Trends and Challenges for Modern Hoteliers

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Peter Ferris in Operations

Last updated January 26, 2022

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2021 represents a travel and technology revolution for hoteliers worldwide as they navigate the road to recovery and adapt their strategies to meet guests’ evolving needs. 

With the pandemic still widespread across many parts of the world, and the industry still bruised from a prolonged dip, 2021 is all about preparation, adaptation and delivery. There is no post-pandemic at this moment in time; instead, the focus needs to be on redefining your offering to meet the 2021 standards.

With hospitality technology advancing more rapidly than ever in response to this shifting landscape, operators need to re-evaluate their tech stack, ensuring they are equipped with the right tools to operate in a post-2020 world. 

 

Adapting to meet guest’s needs

The first key pillar of recalibration is the guest journey; travelling amid a pandemic led to a surge in staycations, an acceleration of last-minute bookings and a big drop in business travel. In 2021, the trends and pandemic-induced sentiments of guests are likely to remain a while longer, with many maintaining an appetite for domestic travel and local experiences, preferring to book directly and choosing to stay longer, particularly those on ‘workation.’ Attract guests by sending hyper-targeted marketing campaigns to those within driving distance, uplevel your services with on-trend offerings such as contactless food delivery and update your internet booking engine to deliver a seamless direct booking experience.

Multi-property managers should also consider switching to an enterprise solution, which gives you access to meaningful data insights on guest behaviour pre-pandemic. Armed with this information helps you to identify behavioural patterns and puts you in a position to lure them back when the situation eases.

 

Optimising revenue performance

The disruption that rocked hospitality businesses in 2020 has been carried over to 2021, which means properties need to be savvier, more integrated and adaptive to sudden changes.

A data-driven approach that prioritises real-time evidence and artificial intelligence over historical data will help properties forecast and deliver an accurate pricing strategy, while also giving them ample room to pivot should booking patterns suddenly change. Properties should therefore be implementing a dynamic revenue strategy that can intuitively adapt prices to maximise profit at every opportunity.

 

Pivoting business models with fluid inventory

Another trend we’ve observed is that some hoteliers are looking at alternative market segments to pitch to, those that require longer stays, such as students and residents. We’ve defined this concept as “fluid inventory,” which is focused on helping them pivot their business to adapt to further market shifts and reconfigure their inventory to long-term in the event of another short-term market collapse. RMS has the building blocks within its technology infrastructure to support this new and innovative approach; at the same time, we’re thinking beyond those markets (such as students) who are also impacted by the ongoing travel restrictions. The question every hotelier should be asking themselves is what’s next for your inventory?

 

Utilising technology to satisfy demand

Technology is the backbone that holds everything together. Contactless tech, for example, will be expected if not demanded by guests in 2021, and has a multitude of advantages; operators can set up COVID declarations, pre-check-in/check-out and an instant messaging centre in a customer-facing app, streamlining the guest journey at the earliest possible stage. Technology in the form of an app also comes at no big expense; look to your tech vendor to see what other products they have at their fingertips to support you. 

An intuitive PMS system will also help you identify hidden pockets of revenue, such as native channel managers, guest portals and internet booking engines, reducing your dependency on third-party products. Customising your PMS will ensure you are implementing the right tech, interfacing with the right partners and tailoring your guest offerings in a way that suits your specific business needs.

Building your perfect technology ecosystem is more important than ever before, in allowing you to meet guests’ needs, fine-tune your pricing strategy and effectively manage your business with minimal input. Read our full trends and challenges report for further insight into what to expect, prepare for and implement in 2021.