Automation In The Hotel Industry: All You Need To Know
The hospitality industry is among the most dynamic and competitive sectors ever. For hotels to succeed, they need to be at least a step ahead of their competitors to gain a lead in the market share. Property owners, hotel professionals and staff need to update themselves with the latest trends and tools constantly. One such trend in the automation of the hotel industry,
Hotel Automation is here to stay forever. As technology evolves, so will be hospitality industry. More and more hotel operations are being automated to increase efficiency. In this blog, we will learn more about automation in the hotel industry - its tool, trends and the other aspects you need to know.
Automation In Hotel Industry: Brief Background
Before the advent of the Internet, the hotel industry, like all industries were dependent on manual operations. Everything used to be done on pen and paper. However, in the 1950s, hotel automation began with the use of automated reservation systems and computers.
Before computerization, hotels used to store their data in racks i.e. a shelf containing the list of daily reservations, room types and more. With the help of computerization, it become possible to store data more efficiently.
With the growth of the airline industry, the concept of dynamic pricing is evolved. This way, hotel automation could also be used to set prices in real time based on demand and supply. In the 1980s, the first guest-centric PMS was developed.
Internet: Game Changer For Automation In Hotels
However, it is the internet that really checked the game. Automation in the hotel industry was taken to the next level. From the 1990s, hotels started to offer online bookings and reservations. Online Travel Agents, also known as OTAs became major players in the hotel industry.
The release of the iPhone also changed the dynamics of the hotel industry, and hotels didn’t waste any time capitalizing on it. Cloud-based PMS system was developed as well in the 2010s.
COVID-19: Contactless Solutions
With the advent of Covid-19, the focus shifted to providing contactless solutions to maintain social distancing. Contactless bookings, check-ins and even contactless hotel room entry have now evolved. The entire industry was shut for months at a stretch. The hotels had to save costs and streamline their operations. This is where hotel automation emerged as a solution to hotel efficiency - operational and cost-wise.
Even though the Pandemic has ended, the technologies of hotel automation still remain. Automated check-ins, room service and the use of mobiles and tablets for guest experience are now becoming mainstream.
Benefits Of Hotel Automation
Automation in the hotel industry has completely changed the way hotels, staff and guests interact with each other. Here are some of the benefits of hotel automation.
Hotel automation helps in cutting down labour costs. For example, instead of keeping several employees for managing, recording and keeping track of reservations, they can simply use a PMS system and keep a few staff to manage it.
Helps team that is short-staffed. Your staff can easily manage operations better with the help of a PMS system. It also helps the staff to manage reservations, check-ins and check-outs in a much more efficient manner.
It also helps in increasing occupancy. Since hotels can now track occupancy and pricing, and change it automatically, hotels can now increase bookings based on real-time demand and supply inputs.
Automation in the hotel industry can also lead to an increase in hotel revenue. Revenue management has been automated as well. You can set revenue targets, use rate shopping, and also gain business intelligence.
Channel Manager has made handling bookings much easier, especially online bookings. With the help of the channel manager, you can now change rates, packages, restrictions, and promotions of different rooms and different places.
The guests and staff can now seamlessly interact with one another. Now guests can ask for in-room service easily with the help of the internet. Now guests can simply use a phone or a tablet to choose the service they want and send it to the room service department.
With so many benefits, using automation for hotels is a no-brainer. Let us now discuss where properties can use automation to make the most out of it.
Scope For Hotel Automation - Trends
Before we proceed forward, one needs to understand that each hotel has different needs. Automation involves costs and hotels need to identify which hotel automation will be beneficial from a financial and revenue perspective. Hotel automation is a tool, not an end in itself.
Now, let us discuss the scope of automation in hotels i.e the processes that can be easily automated and streamlined.
1. System Integration
One of the most important forms of hotel automation is systems integration. With system integration, you can stream the PMS system, inventory systems, and pricing tools. With the help of PMS, you can update the rooms that are filled.
This will then reflect in the booking engine. A channel manager can also be integrated with the booking engine, which in turn will update the room availability on the various OTA platforms.
2. Business Intelligence
With the help of business intelligence, you can now be up to date with the changes in the market. With it, you can identify your competitors, and also check how your hotel is competing in the market. You can also understand the RevPAR, occupancy rate and average daily rate in the market.
3. Revenue And Rates
With the help of a revenue and channel manager, you can adjust the rates to gain optimal hotel pricing for maximum revenue. The RMS can automatically adjust the prices of your hotel based on demand and supply.
It can be set based on your revenue goals. When the demand is low, the same tool can be used to lower the prices, and offer additional discounts and limited-time offers to drive business.
4. Automated Marketing
Hotel Automation is at its best when used for marketing. Some of the best tools to use are automatic messaging with WhatsApp. With WhatsApp Business, you can send and respond with automated messages to communicate with the audience seamlessly.
One can also use Email Marketing tools to send automated messages personalized on the demographic and guest profile of the audience. You can use automated marketing for upselling, and for promoting deals and discounts. It can be used for retargeting as well.
5. Automated Check-In and Check-Outs
One of the best ways to use technology in the hotel industry is to utilize automated or web check-in. Here, instead of the customer waiting at the reception to get a room. Mobile check-ins have now become the new rage. With it, guests can check in without going to the reception. They can just go there to collect the room keys.
In fact, many hotels are also introducing mobile key systems, wherein, you have to install an App to gain entry into your room. The Key will work till your check-out time.
6. Automated Billing
Automated Billing Tools Can save a lot of time for the hotel staff and guests by authorizing credit cards automatically for room rates, and additional charges. By automating the billing process for hotel rooms, amenities and additional services, hotels can automatically put all the charges on the guest's bill.
With so many possibilities, you can easily use hotel automation to make your business more efficient. Technology will not only shape your future, rather, but It is also the future. Read our blogs to know more about the various concepts, trends and challenges in the hotel industry.