A recent survey of 100 hoteliers has uncovered some shocking insights into outdated hotel processes. Are you one of the many hotels still manually transferring guest registration forms to your property management system (PMS), or experiencing delays in sending out manual booking confirmations? Don't let your property fall behind - it's time to take action and catch up with modern digital processes to enhance your guest experience.
Breaking down how hotels interact with guests is essential to improving processes. The study has zoomed-in on three phases: pre-stay, day of arrival, and post-stay. We analysed how digital and automated methods are utilised during each step of the guest journey, including the types of information and services provided to guests and how these are usually processed.
Discovering the level of digitisation in the hospitality industry has been the focus of a research study conducted by the Munich University of Applied Sciences and Hospitality Pioneers, in close partnership with Salto systems, straiv and Apaleo.
The majority of businesses surveyed are independent ones (91.7%), while only a few of them are chains (6.2%). When asked about their operating concept, most (about 32.3%) identified themselves as business hotels followed by B&Bs (about 26%). The rest include boutique, budget, apartment, and luxury hotels, hostels.
On the pre-stay front, digital fill-out of registration forms before arrival was only available to less than half of the properties surveyed, with 60% of them directly transferring registration forms to their PMS thanks to integrated systems. Almost 40% still have their guests wait in vain for a pre-stay email.
According to the study, traditional payment methods, such as bank transfer and credit card, are still widely used prior to arrival. There is a low penetration of online payment services and mobile payment methods. The automatic integration of payment and credit card datainto the PMS still largely requires manual entries by the hotel staff.
Digitalisation of general guest-facing touchpoints had a medium degree of implementation while staff communication recorded somewhat lower digitalisation. The study reveals that most operators still rely on paper-based, manual completion of registration forms for guests. The transfer of this data to the PMS also remains largely manual, with no digital medium or automation. The study suggests that there is significant potential for optimizing and digitising the check-in process.
In terms of guest-facing communication, in-person contact is still the most preferred touchpoint before arrival. However, 27.4% of the respondents have begun using Whatsapp or similar instant messaging channels and tools. Despite the advancement and availability of technology, nearly 50% still rely on human interactions to communicate room access information. An insignificant 21% of hotels have incorporated digital guest folders, while 90% of hotels have yet to introduce AI-based chatbots, as found in the study.
Most professionals surveyed put additional pressure on already-stressed staff with the manual processes. 80% of communication between the front office and housekeeping services was done manually. Results recommend for hoteliers to focus on digitalising both guest and staff-facing communication for a more seamless and hassle-free experience on the day of the arrival.
The study found that a staggering 58% of hotels require guests to stand in line to check out due to a lack of fully or partially automated check-out and payment processes. Interestingly, just over 40% of hotels have partially introduced automation to check-out systems. However, this primarily affects internal processes and communication with guests is lacking - only a quarter of the businesses send check-out emails. Additionally, less than 15% of hotels still manually create invoices.
Automating payment and housekeeping operations presents the greatest potential for administrative and back-of-house operations. Streamlining these processes between guests, cleaning staff, and hotel management could lead to more effective communication and reduced manual errors. It appears that these advantages are yet to be recognized by the majority of accommodation businesses in the market.
Are you still relying on outdated pen-and-paper processes in your hotel? Survey results suggest that many hotels are lagging behind in digitisation. From pre-stay to check-out, the study revealed the areas where hoteliers can improve their guest and staff experience through digital and automated workflows. Pre-stay communication showed low penetration of digital processes overall. Day of arrival highlighted the need for optimising and digitalising guest registration and communication between staff and housekeeping. Finally, check-out revealed a lack of fully or partially automated payment processes, resulting in long lines and manual invoicing.
Don't let your hotel fall behind - it's time to catch up with modern digital processes and enhance your guest experience. Discover how on June 19 at 2 pm, as industry experts, including Prof. Dr. Irmi Eisenbarth from Munich University of Applied Sciences, Florian Montag from Apaleo, Hagen Zumpe from SALTO Systems, and Alexander Haußmann from straiv, share their insights on the survey results and best practices on hotels are successfully digitalising their workflows. Don't miss out on this opportunity to gain valuable knowledge on the current state of the hotel industry.
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