Five Hotel CEOs on the Future of Travel and Managing Guests

Richard Stockton Braemar

February 10, 2023

Five Hotel CEOs on the Future of Travel and Managing Guests - richard-stockton-braemar-an-expert-in-the-field-of-luxury-real-estate

The future of travel and managing guests is a complex mix of digital transformation, data-driven decision-making, and customer service. Five top hotel CEOs discussed their outlook at a recent conference.

While many executives face challenges like a labor shortage, the ongoing pandemic, and possible recession, these five are optimistic. They believe the hospitality industry will continue to be lucrative, as reported by Andrea Doyle of Skift Meetings.

Digital Transformation

Hotel CEOs are at a critical inflection point, with digital technology advancements ramping up guest expectations and introducing nontraditional competitors that are beginning to disrupt the industry. Their organizations must become digital businesses capable of leveraging digital technologies for breakthroughs in efficiency, agility, and guest experience.

However, digital transformation is challenging and requires strategic thinking, focused technological investment, and expertise. It’s also important to know what goals you want to accomplish.

Digital transformation 2.0 involves using current technology in new ways to provide guests with high-quality, personalized services and extend brand reach and reputation. Efforts include more robust mobile apps, comprehensive in-room connectivity technologies, and back-office data analytics that work together to deliver improved hospitality experiences.

Digital Marketing

Hotel CEOs increasingly rely on digital marketing to help hotels meet guest expectations and build loyalty. They need to understand what motivates each group of guests and provide them with a personalized experience that meets their specific needs.

Managing guest data in a complex tech stack, which often revolves around the property management system (PMS), service bus, or customer relationship management (CRM) systems, can make this difficult. It’s a challenge that many hotel leaders are now facing to maintain data privacy and prevent breaches.

In addition, a successful digital strategy includes the ability to provide content that helps travelers navigate their stay and get the most from their travel experience. That can consist of culture blogs, event videos, or local guides for attractions and restaurants.

Generally, digital marketing should be approximately 75% of a hotel’s budget. This is because it is the simplest and most cost-effective distribution channel for hoteliers. Yet, it still allows them to increase revenue through word-of-mouth referrals.

Data-Driven Decision-Making

Hospitality executives need to move their businesses toward a data-driven culture. This requires a commitment to improving all the people within the organization, from data scientists and executives to frontline managers and customer service staff.

To achieve this goal, leaders should tear down silos by allowing everyone access to all company metrics and reporting. Then, they need to ensure that all team members are measuring and sharing the right metrics supporting business goals.

In addition, hotel enterprises need to use modern cloud-based revenue management tools that allow them to react quickly to market demand and rate changes. These tools enable hoteliers to set optimal room pricing and establish the prices that will drive the highest occupancy.

In this way, hotel executives can improve the efficiency of the decision-making process in their organizations. A recent Forbes & Teradata study found that nearly 60% of companies that utilized data in making critical decisions reported that they could speed up the process.

Customer Service

Customer service is a primary focus for most hotel CEOs. This is because delivering outstanding customer service can mean the difference between a positive guest experience and a negative one, leading to higher customer loyalty and a stronger brand image. To deliver this level of service, hotel CEOs need to have strong leadership skills and excellent business management abilities. They also need to be able to work well under pressure.

Managing guests is another crucial part of the job. Hotel CEOs are responsible for ensuring their hotels meet guest satisfaction standards and achieve budget goals while working to ensure the property’s overall financial health. They also need to be aware of the latest technology, ensure their companies are protected against cyber attacks and have a response plan. This is essential in today’s fast-moving world, where disruption can strike anytime.