Posted on: February 01, 2014
Posted by: Brigitte Diem-Guy, Vice President Sales and Marketing, SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts
The often-used quote “innovate or die” was made famous by Tom Peters and used by people ranging from Bill Gates to United States senators. The quote holds true for many industries, not just high-tech or software companies. The past has shown that when companies stop innovating, it can literally put them out of business.
What does it mean for hotels? How can innovation add value to the guests’ stay? Staying nimble and to innovate on a constant basis is not easy, especially in an ever-shifting marketplace, with millennials now making up 50% of hotel bookings.
I recently stayed in Prague, CZ, at a hotel that is part of a small European Boutique Hotel chain. When I entered the room my first glance fell on a Samsung Galaxy Tablet, nicely displayed on the desk, for the guest to use. All necessary apps were loaded: Current events in the city, guest information, weather, digital newspapers, restaurant and bar menu, spa and room service offerings with a direct link to book or order, and a link to email the General Manager directly with feedback. Over my 3 night stay I believe I used the tablet at least 5 times per day and it saved me many trips down to the business centre or the front desk.
Putting in-suite tablets in hotel rooms is just one example of how some hotels are trying to meet the needs of today’s traveller and stay in the forefront through innovation.
However, being innovative in the hotel industry doesn’t always have to evolve around technology, although it is a major focus of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts. How about Service Innovation to improve and add value to the guests’ experience?
Our teams at SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts constantly attempt to find innovative ways to serve customers more effectively and efficiently. This requires first an understanding of the customers’ preferences. Our teams use a variety of resources to gather this information, including guest surveys and a social media monitoring tool that displays reviews and comments from a variety of online and traveller review channels.
The challenge then is to prioritize those preferences. Which ones will add the greatest value to the hotel’s existing service offering?
Hotel teams need to develop an understanding of market preferences and future guest demographics prior to adding a new service. This will allow them to align customer preferences with operational strategy and selecting innovative service offerings that are most beneficial to the hotel and that will have truly an impact on customers’ choices.
For 2014 one of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts’ major objectives is offering Technology and Service Innovation. These are exciting times for our hotel teams and we would love to hear from you:
What would you like to see in a hotel room? How can we innovate our guest services?
Please send us your comments!