What We Learnt About Hospitality in 2020

2020 was a year of unprecedented events for the hospitality sector: major lockdowns worldwide, travel restrictions, flight cancelations and hotel closures. While there was some re-opening in the summer in certain parts of the world, a second wave hit and it felt like everything went back to square one.

To learn about next year’s hotel tech “musts”, register for our next webinar: Hotel Trends & Strategies to Fast-Track Recovery in 2021.

As we reflected on this year we identified three major concepts for 2020:

Health and safety became a priority

After the first major lockdown eased and hotels began to look towards reopening, accommodation providers were much more conscious of hygiene, sanitation and social distancing. Cleanliness was now a top priority, with hotels making sure that their guests were protected by frequently disinfecting communal areas, leaving a day in each room between guest turnovers and providing hand sanitizer everywhere. As we saw in our webinar “Transforming the Guest Experience Post-Covid-19”, implementing protocols for health, hygiene and social distancing was of huge importance.

Automated and digital solutions were (and are) more than a nice to have

Once new health and safety procedures were established, hoteliers began to think of other ways to improve efficiency in their operations. Within this category, we saw three major trends:

  • The rise of messaging – global messaging use went up hugely, and consumers are now expecting to be able to communicate and manage their experience from their mobile phones.
  • The need for automation efficiency was urgent – manual processes just do not cut it anymore.
  • The industry asked for AI, chatbots, and contactless solutions. The market began to see a flood of solutions, choosing the right one was not always easy, but many hoteliers added this to their essential list for 2021.

Back to basics is always relevant

Even with all the major changes last year, the basics tenet of hospitality still apply. Collecting and understanding guest feedback has been more vital than ever now that guests are more nervous about booking, traveling, and what to expect on their stay. While adapting to new trends is important, we must not forget the following:

  • Clear communication with guests is vital – help them to know what to expect at your property.
  • Reviews are still gold – people will be looking online more than ever to assess the guest experience at your hotel.
  • Surveys can help – our clients have been using surveys to check in with guests and ensure that they are happy with new protocols, for example.
  • Semantics are vital to operations – we added new categories and concepts to reflect this industry need.

A message from us to you

With vaccines rolling out in most countries and experts being optimistic about travel in 2021, the hotel industry will eventually revive and go back to ‘normality’ . Until then, as our CEO recently put, “we must survive today, thrive tomorrow.”

We asked our team to reflect on this year by describing what they learnt in 2020, both in their personal and professional life, as well as leaving a  short video message in their native languages.

Given that 2020 has been a difficult year for most, it’s important to focus on the positive side of things. We all want to wish you a positive start to 2021.

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