As one of the industries hardest hit by the pandemic, hotels, venues and hospitality companies may be looking at 2022 with concerns about another year of slow growth. While there were signs of improvement in 2021, the hospitality industry has not yet returned to 2019 levels, and some experts predict that a full recovery may not happen until 2024.
But there is reason to hope that 2022 will be better than 2021. Leisure travel is expected to drive recovery, with business travel following in 2022. Some industry analysts are predicting a travel surge in the spring and summer as consumers start to return to typical vacation plans. Even in late 2021, some popular tourist destinations were beginning to see a rebound.
Now is a great time to evaluate your readiness for the eventual surge in post-pandemic travel. Here are six ways your hotel can prepare.
1. Make sure you’re compliant with new regulations
In the U.S., new regulations require that hotel phones allow direct dialing to 9-1-1 and location identification. In addition, certain localities may have hygiene or social distancing regulations that require attention, especially as those regulations may shift with the advent of COVID-19 spikes or new variants. Assess your systems and property to ensure that you’re in compliance with relevant regulations.
2. Consider new amenities
Even though travellers want to venture out into popular tourist locations, the future of travel may include more time in hotel rooms. Guests will want new amenities such as in-room smart devices, tablets or even fitness equipment, such as Peleton bikes. Others may just want access to streaming services through the TV. If your budget allows, consider adding amenities that make in-room time more comfortable. Even having a few devices available for guests to check out could be a valuable addition to your offerings. And of course, make sure those devices are supported by good network security and strong Wi-Fi.
3. Boost your Wi-Fi
Speaking of new devices and strong Wi-Fi, surveys consistently reveal that guests want better connectivity at hotel properties. That need will only become more pronounced as guests increasingly bring multiple devices and stream movies and entertainment. If your network can’t support robust and secure Wi-Fi throughout a fully booked property, now is the time to invest in appropriate upgrades.
4. Look at your integrations and mobility technology
With an ongoing labour shortage, many hotels and hospitality venues need to do more with less. The right technology will connect your staff across the property at all times, allowing prompt responses to guest requests—even if you’re understaffed.
5. Enable additional self-service options
Hotel guests are increasingly comfortable with driving their own experiences through self-service options, such as self-check-in and check-out and self-booked excursions. If your communication system can support those options, make sure they’re enabled. If it can’t support those, it may be time to look at an upgrade.
6. Upgrade to cloud services
A modern hospitality cloud solution can provide your hotel with both the latest in unified communications and state-of-the-art room phones at a fraction of the initial cost of old on-premise systems. And with a modern solution, software updates happen automatically offsite, and you can easily add apps you need.
Updating your technology doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t need to employ multiple full-time IT professionals. With the right technology partner, you can upgrade your systems now and position your property to take full advantage of the post-pandemic recovery.
Allstream’s experts have decades of experience helping hotels and hospitality businesses implement solutions that are purpose-built for the industry. To learn more, contact us.