the Restaurateur Top 5 Challenges Facing Hotels in 2019 October 31, 2018 Competition from Airbnb tops the list for challenges facing hotels in 2019…Learn how your hotel can be successful despite five potential roadblocks. The hospitality industry continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors of the business world. Nevertheless, there are a number of challenges facing the industry in 2019 that could be hurting your business. Learn how you can cope with these hurdles and ensure success in 2019 and beyond. 5 Challenges for Hoteliers 1. Competition from hotel alternatives- It’s no secret that Airbnb represents a major industry disruptor. This online marketplace connects people looking to rent their homes with people who are looking for lodging. Guests are flocking to Airbnb for its ease, cost effectiveness, and novelty. Focus on competitive advantages: Despite Airbnb’s popularity, there are certain things that provide an appeal to traditional hotels, including consistency (customers know exactly what to expect when they book a room), a more sophisticated level of service (concierge, room service, etc.), trust and safety (regulations make hotels more reliable and safe), or brand recognition. Make sure your hotel makes a concerted effort to highlight and maintain these services. 2. Connectivity & Technology – It is more important than ever to provide up to date access and features. Beyond service, price and location, connectivity is probably what your guests value most. If your hotel doesn’t have fast, free, easily accessible Wi-Fi, you can expect the guests to take note. Stay current: Make sure that you have a reliable connection by investing in quality routers. Run what’s called a “speed test” to find out how fast your internet actually is, and factor in how this will be impacted during peak times with a full hotel. If you find that the service isn’t optimal it may be time to invest and take advantage of the current tax deductions offered. Restaurants and hotels must embrace the latest cutting edge technologies to succeed and drive revenue. While some advancements represent a significant cost, hotels who have implemented technological changes have been able to cut costs in the long run, and increase customer satisfaction, too. Consider the following advancements: Automated check-ins and check-outs- Some hotels have kiosks set up where guests can check in right when they enter the building. Others have implemented mobile check-ins that customers can complete with their own mobile phones or tablets. Digitized room keys- Many hotels have steered away from physical key cards and rolling out digitized smart phone keys. Not only is this more convenient for your guests, it’s also much more secure than plastic key cards. Chatbots- Smart chatbots like Alexa or Hey Google in hotel rooms could soon manage guest needs by making reservations, booking tickets, ordering meals, suggesting restaurants and more. Check out our blog, 4 Ways Artificial Intelligence is Transforming the Hospitality Industry for more on this. Also, make sure that the Wi-Fi password is easily accessible for your guests as soon as they enter their rooms – perhaps a tent card with simple instructions and where to find help if needed. 3. Staffing Retention and Recruitment- The hospitality industry has suffered a skills shortage for many years as well as a high turnover rate. According to a study by Cornell University’s School of Hospitality Management, employee turnover costs hospitality companies an average of $5,864 per employee. Seeing that guests expect a certain high level of service, these issues pose a serious threat to the industry’s success.So, how can hotels cope? Regarding recruitment, pre-job assessments are key. Check a candidate’s social media profiles, and contact their past employers. Though this may seem obvious, this is crucial! Many hotels and restaurants are quick to hire someone right on the spot, but this can do more harm than good in the long run. As far as retaining employees, be flexible, allow your employees enough time off, invest in training for them, and be sure to maintain a team-focused environment. 4. Social media & information access: Current and future guests have the ability to pick or pan your property with ease. Property management and staff must be ever mindful of the potential this presents for success or failure. Be proactive: Train staff at all levels to seek opportunities to shine in the eyes of your guests, as well as, resolve any issues quickly and graciously. Remind them that an unpleasant experience could be the next viral video clip while a pleasant encounter may result in a glowing review. Offer incentives to staff and guests to share good experiences on-line. 5. Sustainability- It is more important than ever before that hotels adopt green practices. Guests are looking for the eco-friendly experience, so cutting down energy waste is something your business should prioritize.Where can hotels help? There are many things properties can consider to be more eco- friendly. For example, consider switching to LED efficient light bulbs to conserve energy, or use low-flow aerators on your sinks and showerheads to conserve water. Offer guests the opportunity to waive daily linen changes – this can ease staffing too! Check out our recent blog, 5 Sustainability Trends in the Hospitality Industry for more. Tackling these challenges will give your hotel a competitive business advantage. Contact any member of our Hospitality Services Team for more information.