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This Spring, we’re excited to announce the publication of our white paper, titled “The Trends and Tech Driving Hospitality”. In the white paper, we put forward the case for customer-centricity, digital change and emerging technologies in the hospitality sector – not just for this year, but in the coming years, too. 

While we focus primarily on hotels and accommodation providers, the white paper offers a great deal of context for the wider hospitality industry, backed up by the opinions and observations of two leading industry figures.

Merilee Karr is the CEO and Founder of UnderTheDoormat Group – an award-winning short-term rental company – and the founding chair of the UK Short Term Accommodation Association (STAA). Merilee founded UnderTheDoormat in 2014 after a successful global career at Shell. 

Cornelia Kausch is the Founder of CK Hospitality Advisors, a company that has counselled and supported service providers in the hospitality sector for a number of years. Cornelia’s objective is to provide successful strategic alignment and repositioning, pairing a bespoke approach with her extensive working knowledge of the industry.

Download the latest Property Inspect white paper 

While there is some debate over how the hospitality sector proceeds post-COVID, it’s unarguable that adopting new technology forms a central part of ensuring growth and profitability in what will likely be some difficult years ahead. 

Digital change is not a silver bullet, but there are countless reasons why it should be a priority. One that sits front and centre is the agility that new technologies afford businesses in the hospitality industry.

The guests of today have changed, so hospitality firms must reassess and realign their strategies and operations to account for a wholly modern type of customer – digital natives, a tech-savvy generation that has only known life with technology.

But are businesses in the hospitality industry unable to cope with these changes? Not typically known for their agility, hospitality companies have found adopting hospitality technology a slow process indeed.

However, there is light on the horizon; a handful of top hotel chains are slowly but surely migrating towards newer practices befitting the modern age, following the trends set by businesses in the more agile short-term accommodation space. This is now trickling down to other organisations in the sector.

Why customer-centricity is at the heart of digital change

With the pandemic irrevocably changing the face of hospitality before our very eyes, major disruptions have left virtually no corner of the sector untouched. Now hospitality faces a great reckoning, says Cornelia Kausch. 

“Everything we know about tourism and hospitality needs to be rethought,” Kausch says.

“We must now approach each and every facet with a new mindset, and an open one at that. In the world of hospitality, customer-centricity and employee-centricity should come in a pair. One cannot do without the other. This notion raises interesting questions.”

In the Property Inspect white paper, Cornelia follows this line of inquiry and elaborates on the guest experience, looking at how this can be shaped by a customer-centric mindset enabled by the efficiency gains brought about through hospitality technology. 

Read more in the Property Inspect white paper

Digital must-haves in the guest journey

With the search for hotels now taking place predominantly online, the list of important measures to be aware of is growing along with the demand. Community management on social media channels, performance marketing and search engine marketing are becoming increasingly important as consumer demand shifts and evolves.

Driving engagement with the same digital natives who are fast becoming the target demographic is very important, and so too is streamlining the check-in and check-out process. This is especially true for hotels that specialise in business services like hot-desking, plus conference and meeting room bookings.

With STR leading the way in hospitality, what do operators need to be mindful of?

The Short Term Rental (STR) sector is a growing one with over 140,000 companies in the space. Often they are small to medium size companies that increasingly require technology solutions to compete and grow.

As the STR space professionalises, the driving force behind tech adoption has up until now been a siloed one, with a deluge of tech out there for operators with single use-cases. 

“The STR sector has recognised this need for greater operational efficiency enabled by tech, due to the changing face of consumer demand,” says Merilee Karr of Under The Doormat.

“Consumers are increasingly choosing short term and vacation rentals.”

Estimates show consumer preferences for short-term rental up 11% post-Covid, while most other accommodation types are down. But why?

“People want more space and flexibility, and are often travelling for longer stays,” says Karr. In addition to this, they also want convenience and expectations of hotel quality and service are increasing as the market for the STR product expands.

“This puts increased pressure on operators to deliver that professional standard. Therefore, greater efficiencies are required to achieve that consistently. “

For leading hospitality industry insight, download the white paper for free