Hospitality industry leaders are always on the lookout for innovative ways to keep costs low and profit margins high, and as such the trends they set could not be overlooked by smaller hotel chains and independents. You might dismiss the idea of chasing after standards set by businesses with far larger budgets than your own, but as guest demands change so does the technology that meets them.
In recent years hospitality software providers have increasingly focused their attention on developing mobile-friendly hotel software exclusively for the use of various small and medium hotel chains.
They have cut down on the costs of serial maintenance by building cloud-based solutions which can be easily adjusted to fit the needs of an establishment. In this way, hoteliers are only paying for solutions that serve their establishment’s needs, nothing more, nothing less.
If we examine how the same hospitality solution is implemented by various brands to help them meet their individual goals you could determine with relative ease where your establishment fits on this list and how you can more effectively benefit from the same tools.
1. CITY HUB
A hotel for the fast-living highly technologically connected millennial. It takes much of its design inspiration from Japanese capsule hotels allowing for smaller and more compact rooms, or hubs, a kind of sleeping pod which provides guests with all of the comforts of a regular hotel room but at hostel rates.
CityHub is yet another independent establishment which has done away many of the traditional aspects of hospitality in favour of self-service technology, such as a self-check-in kiosk, which allows for 24/7 availability to guests without the added cost of hiring overnight personnel.
CityHub also sports its very own mobile hotel app which allows guests to control the room temperature, lights, and music in their hub all from their phone. This might sound a bit robotic, but a central feature of CityHub is exactly the social aspect created by its mobile app.
The hotel app has been adapted to fit the more social needs of travellers by reshaping the connection between traveller and personnel, who are referred to as CityHosts. A host performs the same duties as any regular hotel staff member, but with a focus on helping guests find their way about town, giving recommendations on sights and events while also keeping them updated on any changes and opportunities they could take up. The guest has a connection to their CityHub host even when they’re off-site, thanks to their mobile app.
CityHub is a beautiful example of a small hotel chain whose smart design allows guests to have a luxurious and eventful stay at a fraction of the cost.
We can’t have a list of hospitality innovations without mentioning Hilton. The monolith hotel chain’s entire raison d’etre is to constantly rejuvenate the service it provides in a way that does not undermine its existing achievements.
Hilton’s innovations successfully target a broad customer base by investing in smart solutions which allow them to keep the trust of the service they’ve built by keeping it fundamentally unchanged, while simultaneously allowing their more hands-on guests the opportunity to reshape their stay to their liking.
Hospitality technology exists in myriads of forms so when Hilton’s team chose to invest in a mobile hotel app, they didn’t do so on a whim. Hotel apps are gaining increasing popularity among guests as they are easy to use and allow guests a much-needed reprieve of depending on staff for menial matters while also allowing them to feel like they are free to choose what their stay looks like.
The Hilton Honors app allows guests to book a room of their choosing in a location that best suits them; they can further check-in using the app, which also doubles as a digital room key.
Self-service hospitality software such as a mobile hotel app can have a huge impact on day-to-day operations in an establishment.
By removing the human aspect of the transaction you can drastically cut down on check-in and check-out time, one of the major irritants of hospitality, which can allow you to relocate resources to your other operations, and further minimize the need for seasonal help in order to prevent personnel shortage in your busiest seasons.
Hotel self-service apps often allow for a great range of customization, allowing guests to browse rooms across each of your locations, change the language of the interface, and a direct payment booking and payment feature.
The futuristic New York brand Yotel captures the spirit of eastern capsule hotels in the heart of one of Midtown Manhattan. When it comes to service, YOTEL offers guests a brand of hospitality heavily reliant on modern AI and self-service tools. Check-in happens with the help of a self-service kiosk, after which the guest can hand over their luggage to the robotic concierge, the YOBOT, who will store it for guest’s safekeeping. YOTEL is a great example of how hospitality technology can seamlessly integrate with a hotel’s brand and concept, without hurting the guest experience in the process.
4. Life House
Life House’s branding is aimed at well-educated upper middle class Millennial. This might come across as too narrow of a niche to base one’s business model on, but that is exactly the opposite. Life House knows its loyalty segment and knows how to best appeal to it.
While it is true that there are many millennials struggling financially and their requirements for accommodation fall into the budget-friendly, experience-based category, there are also those who have done well for themselves and are looking for exclusive, locally sourced hospitality.
Their idea of value differs from that of their parents, in that they do not seek out luxury, so much as authenticity, and Life House excels in offering their guests an authentic local experience.
5. CITIZEN M
On the other end of the spectrum, Dutch-based Citizen M is focused on allowing guests to provide their own hospitality. Offering budget-friendly and modern accommodation, this chain prides itself in the autonomy it provides its guests. Self-service is king in Citizen M and that is exactly what their guests covet.
Their policy is to allow guests to manage their stay by themselves, and to only offer aid if explicitly asked for it. This model of hospitality has been gaining traction in recent years, especially with the popularization of travel as a lifestyle, as well as business travel.
Self-check-in technology such as self-check-in kiosks allows guests to operate in your establishment pretty autonomously. They can arrive at any hour of the day, complete their check-in, pick up their key cards and show themselves to their room. A seamless transaction of services.
6. The Standard Hotels
The Standard markets itself as a boutique hotel experience by turning the establishment into a place of cultural impact and offering guests a unique location at the heart of some of the biggest cities in the world. Naturally, this is not a backpacker’s first choice.
Be it as a way to remain competitive or as a way to draw in a more varied clientele, The Standard has adopted a hotel booking app with a twist, the One Night Standard application.
The principle on which it operates is quite simple, any room not booked on the day of is updated at a reduced rate after 3 p.m. and users of the Standard’s hotel app are allowed the option of what could be a one of a kind experience in a high-end establishment.
While luxury branding is in its peak, with businesses across all industries looking for ways to rebrand and become more niche, the real success of luxury branding lies exactly in solutions such as the Standard hotel mobile app.
While the app most certainly generated a revenue spike for the hotel chain it also opens up the doors to a hotel experience of a different class, while remaining equally exclusive doing so. Guests are encouraged to track the app’s updates in order not to miss out on a unique opportunity.
You are probably forging your own path in hospitality, one which best reflects the values of your establishment and your guests, but it is still good to keep in touch with what other providers are doing and see if there maybe isn’t something in their practices that can work just as well for your hotel.