Innovate or die, as the saying goes. It may sound like harsh advice, but it continues to stand true. The hotel world is competitive and businesses need to evolve alongside their buyers.
Technological advances have meant that change now happens almost every day. Guests increasingly expect efficiency, creativity, and comfort.
So, how can you — no matter your budget — roll with the times? In this blog post, we’ll discuss how you can increase revenue and improve guest satisfaction with innovative ideas for hotels.
What Is Hotel Innovation?
Hotel innovation, put simply, is an investment in your future. It means thinking up and implementing new technologies, processes, and ideas to improve your hotel business. Often, great hotel innovation takes the form of out-of-the-box, creative thinking.
This could mean turning some unused space into a theater, investing in contactless technology, or incorporating more elements of the local outdoors environment into the in-stay experience.
Innovation doesn’t always need to cost a lot, either. Sometimes it takes the form of small but significant changes such as beginning a composting program or a TikTok marketing strategy.
Innovation is an important part of maintaining the health and allure of your business. Consumers are always changing. For example, Wi-Fi was once a luxury. Now it’s expected — for free!
Fresh ideas and new technologies help you evolve, attract new generations of travelers, remain competitive, and make more revenue over time.
18 Innovative Ideas to Implement at Your Hotel
Innovation of any kind should be preceded by planning and goal-setting. To get the most out of every new idea or implementation, have a look for areas of improvement, challenges facing your workforce, or recent customer complaints.
Here are eighteen innovative ideas for hotels that you can start to implement right away.
Food waste is a big problem in the hospitality world. Not only does it reduce your profitability, but it also wreaks havoc on the environment. And with guests becoming evermore eco-minded, it’s time to look for ways to be more sustainable.
Composting offers a sustainable solution. Instead of sending half-eaten food to landfill, you can recycle it into organic compost. The soil produced can then be used to plant indoors or out.
Gili Lankanfushi, a hotel in the Maldives, is an example of composting done well. Producing 109,500 kilos of food waste per year and wanting to retain their sustainable ethos, they decided to implement a composting technology to create their own soil and do their part to save the environment.
Invest in Sustainable Materials
With hotels looking for ways to be more sustainable, getting rid of single-use plastics has become a popular step. This strategy could be applied throughout your hotel.
Replace shampoo and body wash bottles with refillable bottles fixed to the wall of the shower or sink. This could allow you to move away from bars of soap that get used once and are then thrown away.
Or, partner with certified-green manufacturers to furnish guest rooms and public spaces with ethically produced items.
Source your produce and other items from local growers and businesses. Not only will you be supporting your local farmers or small businesses, you’ll also be doing your bit to reduce carbon emissions.
This then allows you to advertise food or other items as sustainably sourced, which your guests will appreciate.
If your hotel is located in the middle of New York and you lack green space, then why not invest in a rooftop garden? From providing guests with a tranquil space in which to relax, eat, and socialize, to giving a home to local insects and wildlife, rooftop gardens have become immensely popular.
England, London’s Ham Yard Hotel, for example, has two beehives at the rear of their rooftop garden. And what’s more: this allows them to produce their own honey. They also have a rooftop garden bar which has allowed them to turn over $65,919 to $79,103 per month in beverage revenue.
Another idea for city-bound hotels is to add bistro-style seating to the outside of your property. This works particularly well if your restaurants or bars have separate entrances.
Bistro-style seating will give a chic vibe to your property as well as allow guests to drink coffee and people-watch.
Partner With Local Artists
Similar to shopping locally, partnering with local artists could bring a unique atmosphere to your property. If you’re a coastal hotel, displaying seascapes and landscapes by local artists could deepen your guests’ experience of the local area.
Checking in and out of hotels, coupled with long travel days, can be stressful for guests. So, what if you could make things easier for them? Mobile-friendly technology options are becoming a popular way to streamline the guest experience while reducing staff workload.
Hoteliers should opt for web-based online check-in solutions like Canary Contactless Check-In or Checkout. This technology doesn’t require the guest to download any new apps, which significantly lowers the barrier to entry. In fact, web based solutions are 500% more likely to be used by guests than corresponding native apps. These tools are also built on top of a PCI level 1 compliant infrastructure and can deploy advanced fraud checks to reduce fraud and chargebacks by up to 90%!
Hotels are increasingly concerned about safeguarding their guests' data due to frequent incidents of data breaches and fraud. Outdated methods such as paper and PDF credit card authorization forms that are not PCI compliant are particularly vulnerable to bad actors.
To ensure the security of sensitive information, hotels should adopt secure digital solutions instead. These steps are also necessary to have any chance of winning a chargeback case, should you be unlucky enough to be involved in one.
Most consumers today prefer to communicate with businesses via text message more than face-to-face or over the phone. Incorporate guest messaging technology at your hotel to enhance communication with guests and promptly address any concerns that may arise.
A few things to look for in a modern guest messaging solution include:
Ability to message via SMS & WhatsApp
Direct, broadcast and scheduled messaging features
AI that can help answer the most common guest questions (e.g., “What is the WiFi password?”)
Ability to message using the hotel’s existing landline phone number
Automated housekeeping technology is a fantastic way to automate and streamline housekeeping tasks in hotels.
This can include devices such as robotic vacuums and self-cleaning toilets.
These technologies are designed to optimize housekeeping operations by reducing the time and labor required to clean rooms, improving accuracy and consistency, and providing a more efficient and effective service to guests.
Smart Room Management
Use smart room management systems or checkout solutions to optimize the cleaning schedule of rooms. By tracking which rooms are occupied and which are vacant, you can prioritize housekeeping tasks.
Hotels on top of this trend use sensors, software, and analytics to track which rooms are occupied, when guests check in and out, and which rooms require cleaning or maintenance. By using this data, you can optimize your housekeeping schedules and reduce the time it takes to clean rooms.
Personalized housekeeping is an approach that uses guest data to tailor housekeeping services to individual preferences and needs. By leveraging guest data, hotels can provide a more personalized and customized experience for their guests.
Here are some examples of how hotels can personalize their housekeeping services:
Room Amenities: Use guest data to provide amenities tailored to a guest's preferences. For example, if a guest has indicated a preference for certain types of pillows, provide those pillows in the guest's room.
Cleaning Schedule: Guests can specify their preferred cleaning schedule, such as the time of day when they want their room to be cleaned, or how frequently they want their towels and linens changed.
Room Layout: Guests can request specific room layouts, such as a room with a larger desk for work purposes, or a room with a bathtub for relaxation.
Cleaning Products: Hotels can use guest data to provide cleaning products that cater to guests' preferences or needs. For example, a guest with sensitive skin may prefer the use of hypoallergenic cleaning products.
Personalized Touches: Hotels can add personal touches to the room, such as providing a guest's favorite snacks or drinks, or displaying a welcome message on the TV screen.
Sales and Marketing
Virtual Reality Site Visits
During the Covid-19 pandemic, lockdowns and travel bans made hotel site visits for group events a bit of a problem.
As a creative solution, many hotels turned to virtual reality to showcase their event space to venue-sourcing. Now that we’re heading out of the pandemic, hotels have realized that the benefits stretch further than a simple solution to Covid.
Virtual site visits can help save time, reduce carbon emissions associated with flying, and can be used for leisure travelers too! The more accurate and lifelike your technology is, the better results you may have.
You’d be wrong to think that TikTok and Instagram are just for youngsters. Businesses and hotels everywhere have begun using short-form video content to reach a new generation of travelers.
The possibilities are endless. You could showcase your amenities, post cooking demonstrations with your talented chefs, walk people through your property, or list the most popular activities in your area.
For best results, ensure your videos are aesthetically pleasing and engage with your audience by replying to comments.
Even with the right training, selling can be difficult. Instead of relying solely on your staff to upsell amenities, upgrades, and add-ons, dynamic upsell technology can help you generate more ancillary revenue, faster.
This technology will allow you to customize upsell options and intelligently present them throughout the guest’s stay at key moments of high buyer intent (e.g., check-in).
Interactive dining experiences such as cooking classes, wine tastings, or chef's table experiences can provide guests with a memorable and engaging dining experience.
Not only this, but they also give you a way to increase ancillary revenue and take your overall guest experience to new heights.
Collaborations & Partnerships
A mediocre dining experience at your hotel could be enough to drag your Google rating down significantly. So, how can you liven up your restaurants and serve food that excites your guests?
Collaborate with local restaurants or chefs to offer unique dining experiences or menu items. This can provide guests with a taste of the local culinary scene and support local businesses.
As most hoteliers can attest having gone through a global pandemic, problems arise and problems dissipate. But it’s how you deal with them that matters. Innovative ideas for hotels such as these are the keys to building resilience.
The first hotels to adapt and embrace changing attitudes and needs will be the ones to thrive. And with the immense competition within the hotel industry, setting yourself apart from the crowd can only be a good thing.
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