The Evolution Of Online Travel Distribution
Only a few decades ago the travel agent was an indispensable part of any planned vacation. They were the ones doing the heavy lifting, making all the phone calls, comparing prices, and finally booking everything you might need for your trip.
That changed with the advent of computerised reservation systems for commercial purposes. The first of their kind were used by airlines and would later become the inspiration behind the first property management systems (PMS) used by hoteliers.
The real change, however, came with the internet age when travel websites began to slowly creep in on the territory traditionally occupied by travel agents. It wasn’t until the early 2000s when most homes could boast at least one device with internet access that travel distribution truly began to turn digital.
Online travel agencies (OTAs) overtook as the main source of hotel distribution as they offered both business owners and guests a quick fix to their individual problems.
The hotel owner would be granted access to a populous platform which would under the right conditions guarantee them full occupancy. The guest, on the other hand, would be given the option of choosing their own hotel at their leisure with little to no advance notice.
This might seem like a convenient arrangement for both parties but that’s not truly the case. With a free to use platform the only way for the OTAs to turn a profit is to charge a commission from the businesses they represent, diminishing the hoteliers’ room revenue from listings on these platforms.
This arrangement has left business owners looking for better ways to represent their interests online which is where hotel property management systems such as Clock PMS Suite step in.
Hotels are Moving to an Automated Future:
With an increasing customer demand for a technologically apt environment, many hoteliers are restructuring the way their businesses operate behind the scenes.
Perfect Balance of Automation and In-Person Service
The first revised step of the hotel of the future is the booking process. A well-built website coupled with its own state-of-the-art reservation system for hotels which allows the guest easy access from their mobile device will help increase customer loyalty and optimise revenue potential.
Booking plays a pivotal role in the customer experience, as they are more likely to become regular guests and join a loyalty program if they find your online booking engine is intuitive and easy to use regardless of the mobile device they’re using.
Coupled with your hotel’s self-service app which allows the guest to check in, arrange a transfer or sign up for any of the services you offer and you’re on the right track to success.
These solutions give your staff the necessary information to tailor each guest’s stay according to their specific needs while at the same time making sure that their efforts are streamlined for creating a better customer experience.
How Hotel Technology Plays Into the Future Guestrooms
The next step is creating a more eco-friendly environment for your guests. This is an issue that is taken seriously on all levels of society with governments across the world constantly looking for new ways to reduce waste production and carbon emissions.
Businesses which take a heavier toll on the environment suffer financial penalties while those which adapt to the demands of the times are rewarded for it.
Many business owners have adopted a more ascetic approach to designing their hotels’ rooms, focusing on creating a fresh and clean open space with minimal furniture. By doing so they reduce the use of plastic and cut down on timber consumption.
Keycards are also a must as they help decrease the overall usage of power in each room, a smart and economic move which reduces the cost for both the business and the environment.
Smarter Technology Will Change the Game
Much of the recent technological innovations centre on providing users with compact solutions with intuitive features which do away with much of the frustration involving mundane tasks. One such piece of technology is hotel kiosk allowing self check-in and much more.
Traditionally manned by the hotel staff, the process of checking in and out of a hotel is one of the more finicky aspects of the job. In order to adapt to modern travel patterns, there needs to either be around the clock presence at the check-in desk or the process itself needs to be automated for the convenience of both the guest and the hotel personnel.
The hotel kiosk gives guests the opportunity to self check in regardless of their time of arrival. The design itself makes it easy enough for anyone to use. The guest can choose the language of their convenience and proceed to register and even pay for their stay.
They can select their room, have one randomly assigned or if they chose they could upgrade to a better one. Finally, the kiosk issues their keycard and they’ve successfully completed the check-in process without any outside assistance.
Such tools can alleviate one of the main strains surrounding travel, as many hotels still require the guest state a time of their check-in within the reception’s working hours. Removing this obstacle is an instant lure for many travellers and as such the kiosk is becoming an increasingly popular choice among hoteliers.
Future Hotels Will be Even More About People
For its many advantages technology only ever plays a supplementary role in people’s lives. Human interaction is still one of the most valued aspects of any business looking to establish a long-term customer relationship via a more personalised experience.
Providing hotel personnel with access to a cloud-based all-in-one hotel PMS can aid them greatly in ensuring that they can handle with ease the business aspect of the guest’s stay so that they could focus their onsite attention on crafting a better experience for them.
The changes in hospitality will reflect the individual character of the hotels themselves. Those focused on hosting business events and conventions will invest in an event management solution which would aid both staff and guests in planning out and communicating the details of the event.
Traditional resorts have caught on to the fitness and health craze, upgrading their restaurant menus and investing in small gym installations. Hospitality is now part of the social presence of the guest. They want their stay to reflect an aspect of themselves that they can share with others online and so they will seek out the business which encapsulates it.
Interpersonal connection is now the endgame for many guests and technology is simply there to aid them and their hosts in achieving their goal.
You may also find interesting:How to Get More Reservations from Your Booking Engine
Technologies in the Hospitality Industry: Integrating for Success
5 Significant Ways to Increase Direct Bookings
About Clock Software
Clock Software is a global provider of cloud-based property management systems (PMS), integrated online distribution, online & kiosk hotel self check-in solutions and mobile & in-room guest engagement systems with customers in more than 65 countries.