On December 10, 2020, Airbnb was officially listed on NASDAQ. Its share price soared to $146 per share after the opening bell, more than twice the IPO price, and its market value once exceeded $100 billion. After a downturn in business due to the epidemic and even rumors of "bankruptcy," Airbnb's performance picked up and turned a profit in the Q3 2020. Whatever the future of Airbnb, it has shaken up China's lodging industry.
With the rapid development of B&B, China’s traditional hotel industry has made multiple attempts to transform and upgrade. Some choose to create a variety of thematic hotels. Others introduce a variety of intelligent furniture and self-service equipment. But can these upgrades actually improve customer experience and attract more customers? What issues should the hotel industry pay attention to in the process of digitalization?
Let's listen to XNoders' thoughts!
With the gradual recovery of the Chinese tourism market and the continued downturn in outbound tourism, hotel occupancy rates in Chinese tourist cities have reached record highs. "Chain development, branding and diversification" have become important synonyms for the development of the hotel accommodation industry in the post-epidemic era. By offering contactless application scenarios under strengthening investment in epidemic prevention and hygiene, many hotels have embarked on innovative applications of digitalization and intelligent transformation to further enhance clients’ experience.
As early as before the epidemic, Hangzhou took the lead in proposing "30-second check-in" - by connecting the hotel PMS, public security registration, access control, acquiring transactions, OTA reservations, direct hotel sales and other systems. Clients can spend less than 30 seconds to complete the order verification and check-in. In the wake of the epidemic, "30-second check-in" is based on the original access to the health code interface of City Brain to realize one-stop verification of the health code for travelers during check-in, without the need for repeated operations.
In addition to contactless kiosks, intelligent robots have also taken up room service duties in many Hangzhou hotels, responsible for delivery of goods, meals and express delivery. At the same time, such contactless, unmanned, intelligent and empowering application scenarios as "30-second check-in" have been going overseas in different ways, bringing solutions to the tourism market and hotel accommodation industry abroad, which are still seriously affected by the epidemic.
The digitalization of hotels can be more important than most people think. The hospitality industry is actually pretty traditional, and when people think of customer experience, they may concentrate on the in-room and check-in experience. But in fact, booking, checking-in & out, the hotel environment and after-sales, are all key components of the user's interaction with the hotel that will determine whether they stay in the same hotel next time.
For example, can you biometrically identify yourself for a contactless check-in? How about eliminating service tokens that are easily misplaced, such as room card, meal voucher or deposit slip? It is now possible to automatically identify additional services and charges in the hotel so that the transactions can be directly attached to the bill. These technologies with practical applications in retail and transportation payment still seem to be uncommon in the hotel industry. A digital experience combined with new technologies may bring a different kind of futuristic hotel to everyone.
The rise of intelligent hotels often means hardware upgrades to meet the needs of customers such as convenience and security. But how can we continue to push for hotel innovation beyond just hardware realization? In the end, we have to focus on the target customer group. I believe that in the process of continuous communication between various hotel groups, brands and customers, the future hotel industry will have more and more segmentation. As hotels gather deeper insights into their clientele, there will be better segmentation and personalized accommodations catered to them.
A “Contactless Smart Hotel” Solution
Affected by the epidemic, more and more clients are looking for digital and contactless services. To address the growing demand, Legrand offers the "Contactless Smart Hotel" solution.
With Legrand’s products and services, customers only need to operate through the hotel official account or APP without the involvement of hotel manual from booking to leaving. When the customer arrives, the hotel management system and the smart parking system will share information through local data docking, and turn on the room devices like air-conditioner in advance to create a comfortable check-in environment. In the hotel room, the control of room lights, curtains, air conditioners, scenes and service calls can be realized through switch panels, iPads, smart speakers or the hotel official account, and all operations are completely contactless and intelligent.