Matthijs Welle, chief executive of Mews, here discusses how customer demands during the pandemic are encouraging hotels to move away from rigid brand standards and think for themselves
Technology and service have always been seen as an either/or in the hotel sector, with the idea that the former cannot possibly help the latter and is an alternative to not having enough real-life interaction.
The brands have very rigid ideas set into their standards about how many times you must use someone’s name at check-in, how you must incant it three times in every interaction.
It has become very formulaic. They’re fine, they’re just outdated.
And they were fine when you stuck everyone behind the desk and you could control where your team was at all times, but that’s no longer what the customer wants.
We have seen this change very rapidly during the pandemic, driven by demands from guests.
Before last year it was clear that Millennials wanted a seamless mobile experience, what was quite interesting, was that as the year progressed, it was the 60-plus generation who wanted to check in online, who were suddenly looking to not have this close personal contact.
And this trend isn’t just seen within age groups, we’re seeing more and more luxury hotels committed to giving guests options around their preferred methods of checking in and engaging with them, for example the Dylan Amsterdam.
You can’t force your ideas of interaction on people at a time like this, so standards will definitely become more fluid, and hoteliers need to be able to understand and give options to guests for every engagement.
For independent or small hotel groups this fluidity, or agility, is perhaps easier to come by due the size of their respective businesses.
It’s also an opportunity to potentially differentiate. But for the big brands this is going to be a little more difficult.
The growth we’ve experienced at Mews is because hoteliers are looking for that agility, and the ability to offer guests options.
Brands we work with don’t want to be tied to one technology provider for everything, moreover, they want to have the best-in-class solution for every element of their hotel operation.
And what we’ve seen in our sector is an explosion of tech providers where the technology is now unlocking better service for any guest that walks across the threshold.
Now, we’re working with hoteliers to understand what the best technology stack for their property (or properties) would be.
With over 450 integrated technology providers in the Mews Marketplace (and counting), we can work with pretty much any scenario or idea a hotelier might have or already has.
If the integration doesn’t exist a brand can connect to our open API and build whatever they want.
This flexibility, with the technology a hotelier can choose to implement, means that delivering those guest experiences that drive loyalty and lifetime value, through the options provided, is simple and easy.
Throughout the pandemic, hotels have been looking at who and what they are, and we’ve been working with plenty of teams to completely rethink their operations.
Our most successful customers today, are those that dared to think outside the box and embrace new technologies, early.
They now have the freedom to rethink what the hotel experience should be, like removing reception desks entirely for example.
Now, more than ever, is the perfect time to rethink hospitality.
For more on Mews, head over to the official website.