With the hospitality sector bound to expand now that vaccinations are available, the travel industry has taken advantage of cloud apps to welcome the influx of travelers who will be worried about health and safety.
Travel is bound to gear up again now that Americans are getting vaccinated, and the travel industry is thrilled. But hospitality will never be the same—breakfast buffets are a thing of the past, while the hotel lobby won’t function as it did before. Now, when we travel, health, sanitation, and safety are the utmost priority.
Hotels are likely to go fully contactless. They’re already beginning to depend on cloud apps for contactless check-ins and check-outs, as well as using cloud apps for customer meal orders through vending machines. In other words, everything will systematically be streamlined through the cloud.
Cloud-based apps seem to be saving hospitality industries because hotels can't run contactless check-ins without them. Marriott International recently announced the debut of its contactless arrival kiosk pilot program. As part of their Commitment to Clean Initiative—an industry-wide project spearheaded by the American Hotel & Lodging Association—hotel guests will experience a fully contactless experience for safety reasons. That means mobile room keys, mobile dining, touchscreen check-ins and check-outs with real-time mobile messaging with hotel staff.
“The pandemic has accelerated the demand for contactless services and we continue to evolve to meet the changing needs of our guests,” said Stephanie Linnartz, President of Marriott International.
A recent report from the Travel Technology Association said that 65% of travelers say they only feel safe staying at accommodations that have the latest technology, that limit in-person interactions and that use touchscreen kiosks in hotel lobbies that are powered by UV light to kill bacteria and viruses.
Mobile check-in and keyless entry will further facilitate the contactless guest experience, as well as ultraviolet light instruments, air purifiers, and ozone generators to further enhance sanitation, according to Patrick Pacious, President and Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels. “It bolsters best practices with advanced enhancements throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” said Pacious. “As our nation starts to re-open and the public resumes travel, we want guests to know that we are prepared to welcome them back.”
Cloud Apps to the Rescue
StayNTouch is one of the cloud hotel property management software companies focusing on cloud PMS and contactless check-in solutions. They recently signed on with a real estate firm in Las Vegas to streamline casinos, hotels, and cultural attractions all together for contactless, self-service check-ins with a simple, intuitive UI. The seamless mobile cloud automation intends to leave guests happier. Its cloud-based property management software improves staff training, saves time, and lowers the risk of bacteria that could travel via surfaces on handheld paper tickets.
Many hotel operators have already taken the next step, using cloud apps to support check-in, housekeeping, sales, distribution, and data warehousing. Cloud technology avoids the upheaval often associated with IT replacement; it also eliminates the cost of upgrades, according to cloud company Oracle, which offers customized experiences for hospitality guests. Enterprise resource planning software like Hotel investor apps, are streamlining hotel operations.
Cloud Apps and Smaller Hospitality Ventures
But how can independent hotels keep up with this massive upgrade system run by hotel chains? Some are partnering with these hotels like Magnuson Hotels in the UK with its Magnuson Cloud platform. It combines an Internet-based PMS with a channel manager, a CRS, a direct global distribution, an automated revenue management system, pricing functions, housekeeping management, and an electronic point of sale.
“Magnuson believes there has never been [a] better time for independent hotels to not only survive, but end up dominating the industry, and this is going to come from two factors,” said Thomas Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Hotels.
“First, consumers are clearly rejecting the marketing perpetuation that standardization is preferable, as seen by the amazing growth of Airbnb. Secondly, independents have been freed to act by the proliferation of low-cost and even free cloud apps and platforms. Now, any hotel anywhere can go from local to global in one day via cloud technology.”
“We pride ourselves on being a technology company dedicated to modernizing the hotel franchising industry,” he explains. “What I mean by this is that most, if not all, the traditional chains are brand companies that sell the proposed effectiveness of the brand, but most of them outsource their technology to common third party vendors.”
He adds, “Our view is that today, technology is the hospitality engine room and a key differentiator toward profitability for hotel owners. To do our best for hotel owners, we have continually invested in lowering the costs and improving the effectiveness of our proprietary technology.”
Magnuson sees the technological advancements that are necessary due to what he calls “the Covid economy.”
“Going forward, hotels must redefine primary sources of business to succeed,” said Maguson. “With our new platform, we can integrate with new business segments and offset high OTA commissions through an alternative suite of channels to drive a 52-week foundation of predictable revenue for any hotel.”
“Today, we are still dedicated to leveraging cloud-based technology so independently minded hoteliers can access the same markets as the biggest chains, without the high fees and chain mandated brand standardizations.”