Never has there been a year when understanding the future of travel has been more important. After endless months of cabin fever there is a universal hunger for travel. US vacation spots are attracting a large number of leisure travelers. In fact, unless new travel restrictions occur, leisure demand has “made a startling comeback,” according to a . However, business travel recovery is lagging, making it more important for hoteliers to appeal to those who do start traveling again for business. Here are five considerations as you prepare your network for the next-normal.
#1 – Tech-savvy guests
Many corporate employees started the pandemic with traditional views on the best way to work. These included using the on-premise network and leaving the issue of a secure network to their company’s IT department. After more than a year of video conferencing, two-factor identity authentication and cloud apps, people have gained much more comfort with remote work and the technology that makes it possible.
As a result, business travelers demand more from hotel technology than ever before – and we’re not talking about contactless check-in and checkout. Their pandemic experiences have made them much more savvy about the technology requirements needed to work remotely in a secure way. This makes it a serious issue if your hotel has insufficient bandwidth, – or if guests’ business calls are choppy. As well, they’re using multiple devices so they require a dependable, strong network connection from their hotel room.
How Cloud5 can help: Cloud5 leads the industry in helping hoteliers future-ready their technology with expertly designed internet and voice solutions built for hospitality. Our network monitoring and analytics tools evaluate network performance using seven key measures to show you how your network is performing and help you prioritize where future investment needs to be placed. More than 5,000 hotels trust us to help them deliver exceptional experiences for their tech-savvy guests.
#2 – Rise of the workcation
When corporate employees were sent home to work, they started to realize the ease – and advantages – of remote work. That lesson is now so internalized that your hospitality guests are taking that attitude with them when they travel. Guests are blending work and leisure by taking workcations – trips where people keep working but take a break from the office environment.
According to a 2021 Priceline survey, 60% of full- and part-time employees in the US say working remotely has allowed them take more workcations. Parents especially are taking advantage of remote work and travel and say that remote work has encouraged them to combine work and vacations.
According to a recent Harris poll, 74% of respondents say they are open to the idea of a workcation, but guests need a location that meets both their work and leisure needs. Nothing is worse than traveling somewhere fun and then spending your time sitting in your hotel room in front of your computer. Your guests will look for locations that provide Wi-Fi all around so they can work by the pool, from their balcony or in a hotel lounge. Workcations represent a lucrative opportunity for you, but it shines a spotlight on the importance of a strong network so guests have no trouble connecting with the office and with their customers and partners.
How Cloud5 can help: Our advanced technology helps you give guests the reliable Internet they require as they’re connecting to their office and conferencing with colleagues, partners and customers from the comfort of their hotel room.
#3 – Work-leisure hybrid guests
While workcations are appropriately named because these trips are all about work, bleisure travel is appealing to guests who want to combine leisure travel and work into one trip. In answer to the question, “Are you traveling for work or for pleasure?” these guests would say, “Yes!”
Bleisure trips involve travelers extending a business trip with vacation days either before or after the work portion of their travels. Some of these bleisure travelers are making up for lost time – half of Americans who didn’t use all of their days off in 2020 regret it, according to the Priceline survey. And 34% say they’ve extended a trip since the pandemic taught them they can work from anywhere. This means your guests might lengthen their stays vs. cutting trips short to head back to the home office.
“Bleisure travel has impacted modern business strategies so much so that on-the-ground tourism organizations and private businesses are fast becoming aware of its potential as a whole new opportunity or as an add-on to their existing strategies,” according to the “Why Bleisure is the Way Forward for Business Travel in 2021.”
Some bleisure travelers are bringing along friends or family members, including children who might be taking online summer school classes from your hotel. A referenced one study found that 44% of business travelers take someone else along for the leisure portion of their trip.
“I think we will see these two worlds come together, as more and more business travelers opt to bring their families on trips,” said Steven Schumacher, director of sales at Discover Dunwoody, in the article. “The bleisure travel trend will become more prevalent.”
For hotels, that means not only making sure your offer activities for the leisure portion of a traveler’s trip – as well as children’s activities – but also the stable communications systems required for work.
How Cloud5 can help: You’ve got the leisure activities covered while Cloud5 can support your guests’ technology demands. This includes improving your Internet and Wi-Fi, updating outdated voice systems, and managing IT for you, as a service.
#4 – Staffing Challenges
In July, the 9% for those in the leisure and hospitality industry remained the highest of all industries. During the pandemic, some staff left hospitality to take jobs in other industries and others were let go by hotels because of decreased bookings. Even as leisure travel grows, some roles will remain unfilled because hotels are choosing to do more with fewer resources – such as by having IT staff be responsible for more properties. However, meeting guest expectations remains critical even with fewer staff.
How Cloud5 can help: Managed services are a fantastic option when staffing is an issue. Cloud5 has the right technology and professional resources to help you prioritize and execute on technology planning and deployment needs, all while staying aligned and consistent with property brand standards.
#5 – Hybrid events
In-person events weren’t possible for many months. Groups and meetings-related travel decreased from 6 million travelers a month in February 2020 to 1 million a month in October 2020, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s “State of the Hotel Industry 2021”. Some attendees will likely continue to be uncomfortable about attending such events in person.
However, that doesn’t mean events can’t still be a source of steady revenue for hotels. Meeting planners are already moving to hybrid events – a mix of in-person and virtual attendees – and they’re looking for hotels with the technology capabilities needed to accommodate this shift.
How Cloud5 can help: We can help hotels make the shift to hybrid events by offering robust internet, the ability to isolate network traffic and an industry-first hybrid events consulting practice that will partner with you to deliver rich customer experiences.
Conclusion: Cloud5 Communications can help hotels tackle the next-normal
The pandemic has led to five major hospitality trends that are challenging hotels in 2021 – much more tech-savvy guests, workcations, bleisure travel, diminished staff resources and hybrid events. However, choosing Cloud5 as your communications technology and managed IT services partner can provide a path through these challenges. It can give you the means to attract new guests, lure back returning guests and explore new revenue opportunities. As the hospitality industry slowly recovers from the pandemic, make sure your technology is ready.