As we move further into 2020, the spread of COVID-19, is showing little signs of abating. Affecting over 80,000 known cases across the globe, it’s both a human tragedy and a low blow felt by business communities worldwide. Major business consultancy McKinsey & Company predicts a global slowdown, with many countries’ GDP taking a significant dip, hinting of an impending recession.
The travel industry is taking the brunt of this impact.
In fear of catching the virus, many tourists and business flyers are cancelling flights and hotel bookings. Current occupancy rates have dropped to around 20 to 30%. Travel bans have also been slapped on many popular holiday spots due to local outbreaks, such as Italy and Korea, putting a complete halt to their travel economy. More and more countries have been added to this list by the day. Other top destinations are also reeling from the alarming drop in tourists numbers..
Cities such as Bangkok, that depend heavily on tourism for stable revenue, are particularly affected. Thai hotel chain Kokotel reported a 28 per cent drop in revenue in February alone, with their most impacted accommodation experiencing an alarming 44 per cent cut.
In light of such gray outlook, many hotels are taking on the responsibility of ensuring their guests’ safety. Hotel chains including Hilton and Hyatt have revised their modification and cancellation policies, regardless of booking channels, to mitigate risk and encourage responsible traveling during this period.
But aside from these stopgap measures, what more can our industry do to promote long-term safety? Here are some smart technology solutions hotels can implement to safeguard their guests from such outbreaks.
Minimizing risk with technology
Human contact and interactions are key considerations when it comes to the spread of viruses. This is where digital check-ins automated by artificial intelligence can help minimize unnecessary contact between guests and staff.
For example, GTRIIP’s mobile check-in solution allows guests to verify themselves remotely, collect their digital key using their smartphones, and enter their rooms directly, skipping the front desk altogether. Rather than curbing service, such options allow hotels to deliver superior experience through faster check-ins and concierge help.
In-room controls can also be integrated into the digital check-in platform, allowing guests to choose their preferences using their own device. This includes temperature, lighting and entertainment controls. Several hotels fitted with GTRIIP’s software have invested in such integration to also make it easier for guests to figure out the controls — rather than fuss with the numerous remotes. Simpler controls, happier guests!
Synthesizing important information
Technology can also help synthesize various guest information on the back-end to ensure further safety. Self-declaration and travel history can be integrated into the same check-in platform to help flag out any cause for concern.
Hotels can also publish guest advisories on the same platform upon arrival to help guests figure out critical information, such as local policies and the nearest testing facilities. Such services are not only useful in outbreak periods but can also cater for regular flu seasons.
The future of travel
The global outbreak has been a timely social reminder for people to upkeep their personal hygiene. It is also an audit on business continuity plans of hotels. Hotels that have invested in technological solutions to augment their safety and operational sustainability are reaping the benefits. For those who haven’t, now may be the prime time to reevaluate their systems.
You can find out more about GTRIIP’s hotel solutions here.
To explore how digital check-ins can enhance your guests’ safety while delivering frictionless service, reach out to us via the details below to get the conversation going.