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Adapting One-Size-Fits-All Hospitality for One-of-a-Kind Properties

6 Things Boutique Hotels Need to Look for in Tech Boutique hotels are undoubtedly a part of the hospitality industry, but they are in a class of...

6 Things Boutique Hotels Need to Look for in Tech

Boutique hotels are undoubtedly a part of the hospitality industry, but they are in a class of their own. Where chain hotels can focus on quantity, boutique hotels survive on quality. The ability to provide one-of-a-kind experiences with a high level of detail and customer service is what keeps their doors open.

Hospitality tech has become a booming business in recent years, offering properties digital solutions that optimize revenue, increase occupancy, and improve operations. But these solutions are geared toward large chains with different needs than boutique hotels. They can still be very beneficial, but boutique property owners need to focus on the features and capabilities that best serve their business model.

Here are six features to look for when adding hospitality tech to a boutique hotel:

1. Customizable Dashboards

Dashboards are a key feature of any service platform, collecting and displaying important business information in a centralized, easy-to-read format. Hospitality platforms typically show metrics like RevPAR, room availability, arrivals, departures, etc. Many factors go into measuring performance, and you want to be able to access the ones that are important to your property. When exploring options, thoroughly research the flexibility of any dashboard interfaces to ensure the data you need will be available.

2. Business Intelligence

Personalization is an integral part of the boutique experience. It’s the little details that truly make the stay. Hoteliers can take their personalization one step further by investing in a platform that leverages business intelligence. Essentially a form of deep data analysis, business intelligence compares vast amounts of data to reveal patterns. When used in hospitality, it can identify trends in customer behavior. For example, you might find that guests within a specific age range are more likely to book a spa service or that guests who book during the week prefer to order room service versus using the dining room. These insights can then be leveraged to curate customized offers based on a guest’s basic information and demonstrate the boutique appeal of anticipating guest needs.

To get the most out of business intelligence, you want to connect it to as many hotel systems as possible, from reservation management to point-of-sale. Be sure to ask about integrations when looking into options to ensure your programs are supported.

3. Flexible Guest Communication

The guest experience goes beyond the days of a stay. Good communication is crucial to building strong relationships and keeping guests coming back. Emails have been the standard for years, but more and more customers prefer to communicate by other channels. Property management solutions that support other methods of communication, such as text and online chat, will allow guests to communicate in the way that best suits them. Any messages will be aggregated on the platform and within easy reach of a staff member, so there is no reason to worry about missing an important note.

4. Robust Tech Support

Selecting a tech vendor with a comprehensive training program and customer support is essential when investing in any technology, especially for boutique hotels with limited IT resources. When researching vendors, look on their support pages to ensure they have features like a resource library, webinars, and training videos. Investigate their options for engaging with the customer service team. Do you need to call? Is there an online chat function? Can you submit specific questions? Some platforms even offer account managers, providing a dedicated contact for all your questions. In addition, when you’re engaging with sales representatives, be upfront and clear about your business needs. Ensure you receive thorough answers on how their product can solve these problems.  

5. Automation

Running a boutique hotel is substantial work, with a small staff in charge of a lot of responsibility. Business technology with automation functions can remove some administrative burdens and allow staff to focus on the people that matter most: guests. Automation can be applied in almost every aspect of the industry, including revenue management and guest operations. Standard automation features for hospitality technology include dynamic pricing, email marketing, and self-check-in systems.

Dynamic pricing automatically adjusts room rates according to user-set rules to set optimal rates. Email marketing automatically sends guests emails when certain events are triggered, like a certain number of days before check-in or signing up for a loyalty program. Self-check-in systems empower guests to check in or out themselves rather than waiting at the front desk and can be set up for mobile devices or on a kiosk.

6. Internet Booking Engine

Online travel agents help put eyes on your property, but the incurred fees can be one of a hotel’s largest expenses. Implementing an internet booking engine, a standard feature in most reservation management systems, expands your booking options by allowing guests to book directly on your site and cutting down on OTA fees.

You can also offer your guests more options when choosing their room, provide additional property information, space for special requests, and purchase add-ons while their stay is top of mind. And since commissions don’t need to factor in the room price, you can offer guests a better price when booking directly to make it more enticing. OTAs will always be part of your booking strategy, but a direct booking capability broadens your options and can become a preferred method for repeat guests.

When it comes to technology for business, there are plenty of options available with dozens of flashy features and novelty gimmicks to attract buyers. Focus on finding solutions that address your main business concerns first and foremost, then explore the add-ons. For boutique hotel owners, features that can reduce workloads, improve guest personalization, and provide flexibility to fit your unique business model will be most impactful.

About the Author – With over 13 years of B2B & B2C marketing experience, Adelle Rodriguez leads Solonis’ high-level branding initiatives and organizational workflow management to elevate the customer experience.

Solonis is a premier partner member of BLLA – view their listing here!

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