Hotel customer service issues are constantly evolving — especially in light of the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions. So when we wanted to understand the new challenges today’s hospitality leaders are facing, we asked them directly. Turning to hotel leaders (and PressReader customers) around the world, we’ve identified some of the most common challenges that hotel leaders are facing — and how to address them.
The four biggest themes we heard spanned hotel staffing, new guest expectations, ongoing unpredictability and sustainability pressure. Read on to learn more.
Here's how one of Japan's top rated hotels combined luxury, safety, and cleanliness
Nearly everyone we spoke to struggled with the general labor shortages we’re witnessing across categories, and a lack of qualified native workers — including throughout EMEA and across the US. It’s no wonder this particular challenge is front of mind for the hospitality sector. A shortage of talent directly impacts customer experiences. With a barebones team, some hospitality operations are finding that they can no longer offer all the amenities that guests might expect.
Gathering guest input as to which services and amenities are most important to them can help operators focus their resources and efforts accordingly. This also ensures that guests remain satisfied with quality and cost, even if certain amenities remain unavailable.
Digital services offer something new
As hotels revisit their amenities, they should prioritize those that don’t require additional administration from their teams. Digital services, like PressReader, have their own teams to help with user support, implementation and even marketing, so that offering something new to guests doesn’t mean adding something new to their staff’s responsibilities.
As an added bonus, access to PressReader could be included in your team’s full work perks package — which will appeal to the readers among the team and could be used as recruitment leverage. Considering PressReader for hotels offers access to over 7,000 publications, from over 120 countries and in over 60 languages, this particular digital amenity can appeal to guests and staff members from around the world.
CTA: Read our recent article on how to combat hospitality labor shortages for more tips.
Rising expectations for hotel customer service
Although the challenge of the current pandemic means that hospitality operators are reducing their offering to clients, guests still expect personalized service and the best possible experience. And their expectations of what a great trip entails are changing as guests adapt to COVID-19 restrictions and move more and more of their interactions online.
Certain features like contactless mobile check-in have become table stakes. Of course, it isn’t as easy as implementing a new tool and then moving on. Once new technology is implemented, hotels need to continuously explore how they can tailor these digital experiences to ensure guests feel that their stay is personalized.
One great way to continue iterating is with PressReader’s Self-Pub feature, which allows a company to customize the front page of the platform. Hotels can use this new touchpoint with their guests to share their own newsletters and updates or to provide directories and menus.
Uncertainty about restrictions
Many hotel leaders expressed concern over signing new contracts with technology vendors, especially as uncertainties around COVID-19 restrictions continue to impact budgets.
The hotel experience will shift after the pandemic in various ways, but taking steps toward contactless experiences accommodates public-health recommendations, and keeps in line with the digitization trends.
A PressReader partnership folds all publication subscriptions into a single cost, allowing hotels to manage one contract instead of signing multiple contracts or subscriptions with multiple entities.
Analytics provide in-depth insight
The analytics available through PressReader also provide in-depth insight into how your guests are using the platform, letting you make an informed decision based on user adoption instead of choosing your tech based on a hunch.
And with further opportunities to build out loyalty campaigns — such as incentivizing bookings by offering remote access to PressReader's full catalog 24 hours before they arrive at your property — guests can start reading their favorite publications while they travel.
The challenge of sustainability
It’s well known that hotels are facing growing expectations to protect the environment. But adapting by modifying current amenities doesn’t always go over well with guests. For example, in Japan, hotels exchanged the small shampoo bottles in their rooms for larger ones and guests gave negative feedback. Even if they cared about sustainability, they didn’t feel it was the same experience “just because”.
Meanwhile, international guests from countries such as Europe or North America complained of paper and plastic waste in Japan. These mixed reactions can make it challenging to know how and where to begin implementing more sustainable practices, while still keeping up with the most luxurious hotels and guest expectations.
Moving amenities online
Moving your entertainment amenities online is one shift that’s likely to be appreciated across guest segments. Younger travelers are accustomed to getting their news through a daily feed on their mobile devices — 43% of millennials get their daily news from social media and 21% from online-only news sources.
Meanwhile Baby Boomers, including snowbirds and retired travelers, are more likely to own a tablet and feel comfortable reading and watching content in this format. Not only does this reduce print waste and distribution emissions, but it makes one more aspect of the hotel experience contactless.
PressReader can help
While hotel leaders are struggling with staffing issues, guest expectations, ongoing uncertainties and pressures to become more sustainable, PressReader can help. Access to our wide selection of publications can be added to employee perks packages and our Self-Pub feature can help personalize guest experiences — while remaining sustainable and ensuring that all subscriptions can be managed on one platform at a single cost. On top of that, we provide in-depth analytics to ensure you continue to make informed decisions regarding tech and build out successful loyalty campaigns.
Learn more about how PressReader can help hotels overcome these challenges and more.