The TOP Challenages Hotels are Facing in 2019.

Three years after they started changing the face of the hospitality industry, Airbnb is still causing massive disruption in the hotel space. The company changed the perspective of travelers. No traveler in 2019 would want a simple, standard hotel room.

This topic is one that we first discussed back in 2016.

According to “What Can Hotels Learn from Airbnb About the Sharing Economy,” an eBook published by Scott Colenut, Head of Digital, one of the big changes that happened in the hotel industry at the time was the proliferation of Airbnb. In this eBook, he covered other aspects, including:

  • The Growth of Airbnb
  • The importance of managing your reputation
  • The impact of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) on the hospitality industry.

So why are we revisiting this same topic after three years? Well, three years is a long time and there have certainly been some changes in the hotel industry. We are going to take a look at these changes and also share our perspective on the challenges hotels are facing in 2019. Let’s get right to it, shall we?

HOTELS NOW NEED TO PROVIDE EXPERIENCE, ALL THANKS TO AIRBNB

Three years after they started changing the face of the hospitality industry, Airbnb is still causing massive disruption in the hotel space. The company changed the perspective of travelers. No traveler in 2019 would want a simple, standard hotel room.

Thanks to Airbnb, travelers now want to experience a personalized service; something unique and worthwhile.

What this means for hoteliers is that if they want to stay relevant in the hotel space, they’ll have to provide the kind of experience and personalization that Airbnb is providing. And for them to be able to do this, they’ll need to come up with ideas on how they can enhance their customers’ stay.

SO, HOW EXACTLY CAN HOTELS ENHANCE THEIR CUSTOMER’S STAY?

Using a hotel actually has a lot of benefits when compared to the services offered by Airbnb. Hoteliers should let their customers know this by ensuring that these benefits are prioritized in their marketing campaign.

Hotels should quit marketing themselves like they are a necessity. Instead, your hotel needs to appeal to your customers as an experience and a destination; a place where they can rest, eat, have fun, and memorable times.

Although this might seem obvious, hotels offer a lot of incredible services that Airbnb won’t be able to provide. Some of these include:

  • Gym
  • Pool
  • Bars
  • Concierge
  • Dry cleaning
  • Room service
  • Catering

Now, as the manager of a hotel, you need to ensure that these services are well placed on your website. Create unique and clear designs and take beautiful images that depict what you offer. Additionally, you should include these services in your marketing campaign and use the local knowledge of your employees to your advantage. Another thing you can do is create a landing page that tells your customers about everything they stand to enjoy when they stay in your hotel.

Also, a lot of advantages comes with partnerships. You can call on other local businesses and seek for their partnerships. If your hotel happens to be near a popular destination, tourist site, or other businesses offering fun activities, you can partner with them so you’ll be able to offer discounts to these places to people who stay in your hotel.

Being a local business provides you with unique assets that Airbnb doesn’t have. These include local history, partnerships, knowledge, as well as the spirit of your employees, who can also provide you with information about the area.

BEYOND BY AIRBNB AND AIRBNB PLUS – TWO ELEMENTS LUXURY HOTELS HAVE TO COMPETE WITH

You see, those at Airbnb know that they can’t offer everything a hotel has to offer, especially when it comes to reliability, luxury, and amenities. For this reason, they decided to come up with Airbnb plus.

This new service, Airbnb Plus, is the company’s way of providing luxury accommodations. According to the marketing campaign, the brand is guaranteed to meet up to 100 different criteria, which will make travelers have that hotel-like feel. The said service will provide amenities you can find in luxury hotels, such as, clean towels, stocked kitchen, and comfy beds. There will be a required standard that all properties must meet in order to be certified as guaranteed for customers.

Obviously, customers will have to pay more. An average nightly rate for the Airbnb Plus is $200 while you get a standard Airbnb home for just $100.

Now, not only are there hotels that offer the same prices, but there are hotels where you can get these amenities for a lower price (depending on the rating). Hotels can use this to their advantage as it’s a good way to compete with Airbnb.

BEYOND BY AIRBNB, THE PERFECT COMPETITION FOR LUXURY HOTELS

Users of the Airbnb platform can now enjoy ridiculously lavish homes. According to the company, they are considered to be “Trips of a lifetime.” Although this is a lot more expensive than the Airbnb Plus, four and five star hotels will find it difficult as they now have a fierce competitor.

GROWING WITH MOBILE

When indexing a website, Google now checks out the mobile version of your website first before moving to the desktop version. This simply backs up the importance of having a well-optimized mobile website. The mobile version of your website is your primary website given the fact that most people now make transactions, enquiries, and lots more from the mobile devices. So,

HOW CAN HOTELS BENEFIT FROM MOBILE?

  • One sure way of doing that is by creating a mobile app. Everything has an app in today’s world. Most people are now finding it inconvenient to open a web browser and start typing in the address of the website they want to access. Having a mobile app will not only make it convenient for them, it would also create brand loyalty, ease of access, and enhance user experience.
  • If you can’t create a mobile app, then improve your website’s performance. The speed of your website is important as no one is ready to wait too long for a webpage to come up. You can use the Mobile Score Cards to analyze your website and compare it with how your competitors’ websites are doing in terms of mobile speed.
  • Google has another test called the mobile-friendly test. This service provides you with a complete breakdown of how easy it is for a visitor to use the mobile version of your website.
  • Another tool that can help you out with your mobile website is Hotjar. This tool provides you with insights on how people are interacting with your website. With the analysis and results you get from this tool, you can decide on the best course to take on how to improve your mobile website.

These tools can help you stay ahead of the competition. They’ll help you keep your mobile website well-optimized as well as increase your number of visitors.

HOTEL SUSTAINABILITY AND RESPONSIBILITY

Responsible and sustainable travel is another travel element that hotels are taking on board in 2018. This has to do with being eco-friendly, reducing waste, and having a good, positive impact on the environment. So how are hotels doing this and how can you achieve it too?

  • Minimize the use of plastic
  • Cook organic foods and locally sourced foods in your kitchens.
  • Encourage your guests to reuse beddings, towels, and sheets.
  • Utilize energy saving technologies for heating, lighting, and other related things.
  • Install recycling bins in rooms.

These things might be expensive, but they’re surely a good way of making travelers live responsibly while providing them with the great experience you have set out to provide.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) AND GUEST EXPERIENCE

AI is now being employed in the hotel industry and if you haven’t gotten on the bandwagon yet, it’s best to do so now. This element is changing the face of many hotel aspects, especially customer service. Hotels are now using in the following ways:

  • Making reservations
  • Ordering meals and drinks
  • Booking taxis
  • Scheduling meals
  • Wakeup calls
  • Controlling room temperature.

There are AIs like Rose, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas chatbot. This bot allows you to play games, provides you with tours and many more activities.

While something like this may be expensive for your hotel, you can still utilize chatbots such as Manychats and Chatfuel for your business. Integrating them in your business will provide you with a lot of benefits including being able to provide hotel information regardless of your customer’s time zone. AI can do a lot for your business. Implement it today.

CONCLUSION

Airbnb might be making a huge impact in the hospitality industry, but hotels still stand a chance of competing. All you have to do is find ways to make your business stand out. And with all the listed factors, i.e. marketing, technology, responsibility and sustainability, you’ll be able to provide your guests with the right experience they are looking forward to.

From customer service, to guest experience, conversions, and being environmental-friendly, you can upgrade your hotel to be the talk of the town. So, do you feel we’ve left something out? Are there any other challenges you know hotels are facing in 2018?

Well, let’s know your thoughts. Leave a comment below or send us an email with your suggestions.

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