By Srdjan Milekovic, SVP Operations at Hyatt (www.hyatt.com)
The outbreak of Covid-19 has fundamentally changed the way we communicate and connect with each other and has brought about a need to innovate and adapt. This is especially true in the hospitality industry which has faced unprecedented disruption to the way we operate.
And while we’ve all had to move quickly and adapt to short term challenges, it is important we think long term about how the hotel offering can evolve to support businesses and workers as they find new ways of working.
Investing in the right technology and forging the right partnerships is how hotels can continue to provide a premium level of service and be responsive to the ever-changing need of guests and customers. It’s more important than ever to keep a close eye on trends in travel behaviour, bringing in expertise where necessary to help hotel owners, to adapt and be flexible to shifting guest priorities.
To address these challenges, we have focused on three key areas in which technology, accompanied by first class customer service, has enhanced the guest experience at our hotels.
GIVING GUESTS GREATER CONTROL
We are allowing guests at our properties to make more choices when it comes to their hotel journey, to prioritise their wellbeing and give them flexibility throughout their stay.That means enhanced digital amenities such as self-scheduling housekeeping, choosing between pick-up or to-go food orders as a replacement for seated dining or the usual buffet style offerings, having mobile key entry to hotel rooms, or a contactless check-in and checkout.
We have also launched “Work from Hyatt” packages at a number of our properties globally.These provide guests with a quiet, safe space to work, bundled with access to high-speed internet and a wide variety of food and beverage options for a fixed price. It’s possible to access personalised working spaces from boardrooms with access to the internet and premium video conferencing services giving guests more control over how they’d like to work in our properties.
For corporate clients, hotel owners must recognise that in the post- Zoom era there is a growing sense of virtual meetings fatigue and that companies are starting to think about how they can provide employees with more meaningful interactions.With offices shut and restrictions on international travel in place there is still a desire to bring colleagues together to collaborate, share ideas or simply let off steam. Having advanced technology solutions in place can directly respond to this demand and allow hotels to become places where people can create connections, whether that’s catching up one-on-one with a client or hosting a virtual meeting with colleagues all over the world.
We recently launched Hy-Brid, a package designed to offer seamless small to large-scale global meetings that can simultaneously take place
across multiple Hyatt hotels in Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, merging in-person attendance and virtual connections, all while using state-of-the-art video conferencing technology.We’ve made it possible for employees or delegates to feel like they’re at the same place even when they’re in different countries, right down to the same food and beverage offerings. Solutions such as Hy-Brid allow hotel owners to get ahead of the game in the short term but also sets them up to offer cost- effective and practical options longer term too.
BLENDING TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH
In all industries technology can play a role in helping to address certain challenges but there will always be a desire to retain elements of the human touch.This is especially true in the hospitality sector where customer service is of the utmost importance in giving guests a premium experience.
It should be of no surprise that technology will continue to dominate the way in which we connect and engage with each other, but people still want human interaction now more than ever – we shouldn’t lose sight of one of the core principles of hospitality.
We are passionate about caring for our guests and personalising the experience they have when staying at our hotels. Establishing partner- ships which provide the latest technology, combined with colleagues that offer excellent service allows us to offer guests the best of both worlds.
By taking a flexible approach with a keen eye on innovation, we as owners and developers can deliver hotels that not only keep up with consumer demands but can find new and meaningful ways to generate revenue, whatever challenge is delivered to us next.