When will consumers feel safe to travel again? How can hoteliers enhance operations to better protect employees and guests? What technology solutions not only can help increase cleanliness but improve service?
Answers to such questions are exactly what hoteliers need to map a route to recovery. But they’ve been in exasperating short supply.
During Day 2 of Innovation Week, Oracle Hospitality provided an exclusive preview of its soon-to-be-released global study, developed in partnership with Skift Research. The project involved surveying more than 1,800 hotel operators and 4,600 consumers to gain insights from their attitudes and actions that are shaping the new marketplace. The results shed light on economic trends fueling the rebound, emerging best practices in areas such as guest and employee health safety, contactless operations, and technology innovations that will be needed to satisfy rapidly evolving consumer demands.
The research study focused on key topics to help industry leaders navigate the challenges ahead as well as identify and seize opportunities that change inevitably will bring. Among the highlights:
When operators were asked – “How long will it take for your company’s business to recover to the level of booking seen prior to Covid-19?” – 44 percent said it would take between 9 to 18 months. Such expectations of a gradual upswing were supported recently by Arne Sorenson, CEO of Marriott, who said during his company’s Q1 earnings call, “The glimmer of good news is negative trends appear to have bottomed in most regions in the world.”
Consumers were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: “When I travel again, I would be more likely to stay in a hotel offering self-service technology that minimizes contact with staff.” Seventy percent of travelers viewed such technology favorably. Hotel executives responded similarly, expressing growing recognition of the importance of self-service technology. In fact, 80% said they are considering or already offering contactless payment at their properties.
Booking and distribution
The fluid environment for demand requires hoteliers to reexamine their booking strategy. It’s important to note consumers’ priorities; for example, three quarters of travelers said they would be more likely to book a room with a hotel that offers a flexible cancellation and refund policy. And 52 percent said they wanted hotels to remove minimum-stay requirements.
Seventy percent or more of hotel executives said they are considering or already establishing proactive Covid-19 protocols, such as conducting regular temperature checks of employees, capping on-property staffing levels at any given time, and enforcing social distancing. In addition, 64 percent said they already have created a retraining program or were currently developing one to help furloughed staff transition back to work.
Oracle Hospitality plans to release the full research report next month, underscoring its commitment to providing the market insight and technology capabilities needed for industry recovery.
Oracle Hospitality Innovation Week is bringing together Oracle experts and solution partners in virtual forums to expedite development of high-demand integrations, such as contactless offerings. More than 350 participants – representing 170 partners – from 37 countries attended Innovation Week’s opening day, and by mid-afternoon, 18 vendors already were testing integrations in live environments.
Please visit the Oracle Hospitality Week site to view the agenda and watch on-demand recordings of sessions, including the one covering the Oracle Hospitality-Skift Research study.