We all live in an increasingly digital world, where it’s easy to assume that we know and understand all of these ins and outs. However, it is important to realize that for the hotel industry, which has become even more competitive than in the past due to the effects of Covid-19, any hotel online presence and management (for both B2B and B2C fields, with channels such as website, social networks, recruitment, reservation, online payment, OTA and bed banks) has become simply crucial, requiring real experts in charge. So let’s see why this online presence has become essential, and how it affects hotel employees.
An Economic Challenge
The digital economy includes all the activities that develop through digital technologies. It represents a formidable development tool for hotel companies, as its potential allows them to reach new targets, to retain their existing accounts or guests and to improve the content and quality of their services.
A Communication Challenge
To take advantage of the digital economy, a hotel must first of all be visible on the Internet. Services must be presented on all digital media used by its B2B an B2C buyers. An optimized SEO must be in place and any mobile applications should be adapted to follow the developments of digital mobility. Hotels must also take care of their digital identity (also called digital footprint), represented by all the information that can be found on them on the internet. A part of these information is created and controlled by properties, but another part escapes them, as being created by guests or buyers in general, who give their opinion on community sites, such as social networks. If hotels cannot control 100% of this information, they must do their best to monitor it and respond quickly to both positive and negative comments, to stay ahead of public opinions.
A Competitiveness Challenge
Nowadays, travel agents or tour operators are less and less referred to travelers, and each individual, whether traveling for leisure or corporate, can use the information available online to:
– Look for information
– Compare offers
– Book and pay online
In this situation, a hotel with an average location and more expensive room rate than another, better located, can still be able to capture new guests thanks to a smart and optimized online presentation. Each hotel, whether successful or not, must therefore think about its presentation to potential bookers, according to their strengths and weaknesses, but also according to their competition.
An Organizational and Financial challenge
Each hotel must find the human, material and financial resources necessary for the implementation of its digital strategy and the development and management of digital services are high costs, especially for independent hotels and restaurants, which do not have the support and scalability effect of large hotel groups. Hotels must use qualified personnel trained in e-tourism technology in order to optimize their efforts in the digital field and not just be present online, to be present.
A Legal Challenge
Same as any eCommerce website, Hotels collect their guest/customers personal data: names, addresses, ages, bank details. The collection, processing and storage of personal data are regulated by strict regulations, which vary between each country, continent or economic zone. These regulations define the obligations to which companies are subject and guarantee rights to the persons listed. Each property must be well aware of these regulations, in order to be ready in case of problem or conflict and make sure that guest’s rights are always respected.
What Does this Mean for Employees & Job Seekers?
If you are making (or want to make) a career in hotel operations, get ready to use new tools, new techniques in managing and recording your activities. Some tasks may also soon be considered redundant, once they can be managed by digital tools, so try to focus and develop your core activities, as well as your sense of collaboration with your colleagues, in order to bring more than what machines or digital systems can.
If you are making (or wish to make) a career in hotel administration (Finance, Sales & Marketing, Human Resources) keep a close eye on the latest technological innovations used in the hospitality industry, and if you can, do as much as possible digital / online related in-house training. The Reservations / Sales / Marketing / Communication departments will be the most dependent on this digital world, and feeling comfortable with Facebook, Linkedin or your OTA intranet will soon no longer be sufficient, it will be necessary to know the techniques, strategies and tactics creating leverage effects allowing to generate new revenues, while standing out from the competition.