After what seemed like a constant stream of bad news for the hotels sector, business have now begun their journey on the roadmap to recovery. Their final destination: the gradual but irreversible opening up of the hospitality sector, and a return to something like normality. Hotels are now able to serve customers outside, with no curfews or ‘substantial meal’ requirements. May 17th sees the long-awaited return of indoor hospitality, when hotels and restaurants begin to restart their businesses fully and repair their finances.
Reopening must be done carefully so that customers and staff remain safe, but it should also allow that magic of the hotel experience to be felt again. With so many considerations and moving parts to manage, what are the main things hoteliers should have on their reopening checklist?
Communicate well and often
The situation is likely to remain fluid whilst the restrictions are gradually lifted – so it’s important to be agile enough to communicate plans (and any changes to them) as quickly and efficiently as possible. Ensure that verbal communications are open, honest and sensitive – many staff will have suffered both financially and emotionally recently. Regular meetings can help ensure plans are adhered to, costs are on track, and contact with suppliers is maintained. Follow up with guests post-stay to learn any lessons needed. Consider using dedicated hospitality software which streamlines your operations and communications.
Personal touch is key
This has always been important in the hospitality industry, but with hotels opening en-masse at the same time, try to focus on communicating the unique selling points of your hotel to customers. Communicating in a personable way can also ease anxiety, and educate customers around regulations or procedures they may need to be aware of. If staff feel a little rusty or need a helping hand, consider front-of-house training.
Communicating in a personable way can also ease anxiety, and educate customers around regulations or procedures they may need to be aware of.
Digitalisation and technology can help
Human contact will need to be continually managed and minimised going forward, and hospitality technology systems are a great way of enabling this. Take advantage of things like automated check-ins, virtual guides and paperless payments, but be aware that there may be a need for staff training if these systems are new or unfamiliar. Digitalisation can also help when it comes to managing the ambient experience of your guests – lighting, temperature, scent and music can all be monitored and optimised. Use all the senses to improve guest experience, making customers and staff alike feel, happier and safer and more relaxed.
Be up to date with regulations and legislation
It goes without saying that having a good working knowledge of local and national guidelines will be essential over the next few months. Keeping an eye on this will ensure you know what quarantine requirements may be needed, what the latest testing guidance is, and also what government help is on offer to support your business financially.
Harness the power of music
We may be a little biased… but we know through our experience and customer testimony that music is a powerful tool and can affect everyone in your hotel in subtle ways – from the restaurant, to the gym, lobby and bedrooms. Aligning music with your brand identity helps customers remember your business and encourages them to return again. In today’s crowded marketplace, music can help to build a competitive customer experience which sets you apart. Use it to promote a relaxing and reassuring atmosphere – music is proven to decrease anxiety, which is likely to be higher than usual when reopening happens. And curating your playlists doesn’t have to be time consuming – read our tips on how to save time managing your business music.
The pandemic will continue to impact all of our lives and businesses for some time yet. Many people have less disposable income, or may be reluctant to travel as far as they once did. But now the green shoots of recovery are visible and the roadmap set out, the priority for hotels is to seize opportunities to innovate and succeed in new ways. Customers may be more tech-savvy now due to remote working and contactless technologies, which hotels can capitalise on. Personal health has also been in the spotlight like never before, so gyms and healthy meal options can help people with their new fitness goals. Trust is a more valuable commodity now – hotels that reassure and relax their customers with great food, the right music, and unforgettable experiences will be the most successful in the coming year, which will be characterised by challenge but also great optimism and opportunity.
Ambie helps hundreds of hotels and resorts use music to enhance their guest experiences and drive sales. Contact us here or give us a call and chat to one of our expert consultants now on +44 203 282 7187.
 North, A. and Hargreaves, D. (2008). Leicester University.
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