Now that we think about human contact differently, hotels can rethink the guest experience so that guests feel comfortable again, says Diane Thorsen, Hospitality Regional Leader of Asia Pacific and Middle East and Design Director of Middle East, Gensler.
Here are four ways in which hotels can meet new expectations and deliver an exceptional guest experience in a post-COVID era:
Revive and rethink room service
Over the past few years, self-serve options and grab-and-go markets have reduced the demand for room service. With heightened focus on health, room service could be rethought into a wellness service that provides access to healthy produce and locally sourced ingredients.
Support safety through cleanliness and contactless technology
There are a number of strategies hotels can consider to demonstrate their commitment to safety through cleanliness. The industry is expected to increasingly implement contactless or touchless technologies, such as self-service check-in, mobile room keys, and touchless faucets for a higher standard of cleanliness.
Require new standards for meetings and events
As we’ve become more accustomed to remote connectiveness, we won’t rely on face-to-face meetings as much as we used to. What will this mean for meeting and event bookings — and the associated revenue? For one, hotels can position themselves as remote offices or as virtual event hosts. Video conferencing suites with purposeful lighting, green screens, and audio-visual infrastructure, and digitally fluent concierges could become the new differentiators. To minimise physical contact between attendees, meeting spaces will need to be reconfigured to de-densify the floor space.
Integrate digital experiences
With digital technologies, hotels can customise the guest experience — from preset arrival lighting, music, and room configuration to content based on past behaviours or preferences. Digital experiences allow guests to monitor and adjust their own sound, temperature, and ventilation levels, while aiding communication between guests and hotel operators for room service and amenities reservations.