According to a recent study into the state of the hotel industry by the workforce management platform, Planday, leaders of some of the biggest global hotel groups ranked staycations as a critical part of their planning for 2021 (at 8.4/10), as they anticipate a surge in domestic bookings.
Despite the restrictions, it’s not surprising that eager travellers have still been booking trips throughout 2020 – according to Nationwide2, hotel stays have been one of Brits’ biggest lockdown splurges. And, according to YouGov3, almost a third (29%) of Brits are now considering domestic travel in personal efforts to reduce environmental harm.
So how exactly should hotels prepare for the year of the staycation in 2021? Here is some expert insight and tips, to ensure a seamless transition into a new era of hospitality.
Cleaning standards and safety
Unsurprisingly, the expectations of cleaning standards have changed. This includes a deep clean of all the rooms and surfaces, removal of items such as decorative pillows on chairs and regular reminders of the new cleaning standards you have implemented to give your guests peace of mind.
For branded hotels in bigger cities, this will also include a series of baseline cleaning standards across the chain. More than anything, people want reassurance that your hotel’s cleaning standards are as high as possible and care is taken to protect your guests and your staff right now.
It’s clear that hotels are already implementing best practices in these areas too. Our data shows hoteliers rate their safety and planning practice at 8.1/10, indicating how seriously the industry is taking the safety of guests and staff.
As with the expectations around cleanliness, your guests will also expect to hear from you more. Keep in touch in the lead-up to their booking and make it clear the effort and thought your hotel has put into making their stay memorable.
Following their visit, it is just as important to seek feedback on the experience so you can better plan future improvements and also share their positive responses with your staff and those guests coming to stay with you next.
Shorter stays and quicker turnarounds
Many guests will be opting for much shorter stays over the course of 2021, indulging more than usual on last-minute hotel bookings in the absence of their usual yearly luxury holidays.
The convenience of a few nights away will result in a much tighter turnaround time to prepare rooms between guests, whilst also ensuring room service is up to scratch and on time. Being able to manage staff efficiently throughout this new change of pace is vital in ensuring all stays go smoothly.
Every touchpoint of a guest’s hotel experience – from payments, door locks and even the food and beverage standards – will have to be automated, which means managing your hotel staff in a new way.
Just as restaurants have adapted to increase the use of food delivery services with contactless food drops in the past few months, hotels should take a similar approach, by taking steps such as streamlining the menu to fit your guests’ expectation and facilitating contactless drops from staff.
Personal and memorable experiences will help set you apart from your competition.
This requires giving your staff the tools to understand your guests and to help you attract more of them. But it will end up being one of the best investments you can make in setting your hotel back up for success.
As with any business in the experience economy, the people make the difference. With the gradual increase in consumer spending on experiences again, it has never been more important to invest in your best asset – your people.
Your staff expect up-to-date advice and communication, plus the ability to change and swap shifts as needed. Our data supports this, with half (50%) of hoteliers saying they are in contact with their staff daily, and a further 10% are in touch with their staff hourly.
By Kevin Ryan, UK partner manager at Planday
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