The new hybrid work reality poses interesting questions for hospitality. Will business travel return to 2019 levels? Will large events such as conferences and trade shows return to in-person models and draw guests from distant locations? Will hybrid workers still need to hold in-person meetings when so many of those events have moved online? Will we see the rise of hybrid hotels?
The pivot to hybrid work during the COVID-19 pandemic represented a radical transformation in expectations across wide segments of the workforce. As both leaders and team members recognized that the same or even more work could get done from remote locations, many find themselves reluctant to return to full-time office work models. In fact, according to Gartner, 48 per cent of employees will work remotely at least some of the time after the pandemic.
It may be counterintuitive with the mass adoption of video conferencing tools, but hospitality experts are actually predicting a surge in business travel in the spring and summer of 2022. Many large events are returning to in-person models, and eventually, companies will want to invite hybrid employees to gather in person once again for meetings and celebrations that have been postponed since 2020.
Of course, business travel won’t look like it did back in 2019, and a host of new considerations will influence the process. How can you make sure your hybrid hotel or venue is ready for the post-pandemic business travel environment?
Remain nimble and responsive to changing metrics:
Every locale is different, and as COVID-19 transitions to an endemic concern, there will be case spikes, variants and shifting local regulations to manage. Many of those issues will influence business travel more heavily than leisure travel, where vacationers are typically only making risk assessments for themselves or family members.
Should a large in-person event be cancelled due to rising cases, your venue could experience a huge loss. Stay in touch with guests via multiple channels (e-mail and text, for example), and be sure they understand what mitigation measures your property is taking.
Assess your network security:
With more business travellers working remotely on multiple devices, improving your network security will protect not only guests, but also your onsite mission-critical devices. A good network solution can help protect your property against data breaches and give hybrid workers the secure network options they need to work from their rooms.
Make sure your Wi-Fi can support hybrid work:
A persistent complaint of business travellers is hotel Wi-Fi. As more workers go on the road, they will still likely expect to conduct video conferences from their rooms and transfer large amounts of data for collaborative projects. Is your Wi-Fi up to the challenge? This may be a good opportunity to improve connectivity and add devices to ensure that every corner of your venue can support multiple hybrid workers.
Improve the in-room experience:
Hybrid workers are used to the comforts of home—which, of course, are wide and varied! Give them an “at home” experience with the streaming services, fitness equipment and smart devices they’re used to. If you can’t equip every room with a smart device or fitness equipment, allow guests to check out those items for the length of their stay.
Make it easy for guests to request the amenities they want with integrations that allow them to contact staff via text or app. With the right communication system, you can give guests the self-service options they want without putting extra strain on your staff.
How Allstream can help
As the world wakes up after the global pandemic, businesses will start moving again, and hybrid workers will want to replicate much of their home office environments in their hotel rooms. If your network and communications systems aren’t prepared for the post-pandemic business travel surge, Allstream can help. Our solutions are purpose-built for the hospitality industry, and our experts can make sure your hotel or venue is ready to meet the challenges of 2022—and beyond.