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The Single Biggest Threat Facing Hospitality

The Single Biggest Threat Facing Hospitality

After the success of our recent post The Top 3 Reasons Why Your Business Might Collapse in 3 Years we turn our attention to hospitality and the single biggest threat facing the industry.

Hospitality organisations have come under heavy fire lately with the arrival of digital competitors such as Airbnb and CouchSurfing. Traditionally, customers have been forced to pay higher rates due to limited accommodation options and availability. Now, the power is with the user. With a wealth of rooms available at an affordable price, hotels need to rethink their market strategy and embrace digital transformation before they’re sleeping on the couch.

Handsome mature businessman with laptop in a hotel lounge. Man holding a credit card. Internet banking. Online payment hospitality.

 

What is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation is the act of turning the analogue into digital. Examples of transformation include: turning physical letters into emails, books into kindles, bank statements into apps and high-street shopping into online deliveries and clicks. It’s the direction the world is going. And it’s imperative for business. What we’re seeing with Airbnb is no different to what we saw when Amazon squashed the book store industry. Notice how Waterstones is now adapting to suit an ‘in-store’ experience, including cafes. Or how Netflix, a digitalised movie retailer, suffocated Blockbuster. Big brands go missing. Hospitality needs to adapt now.

What Can be Done?

Lots. Firstly, intrinsically. Utilising data centres, connectivity, SD WAN, and powerful workplace services will give the hospitality industry the boost it needs for digital transformation. Customer Wi-Fi needs to be pre-faced with staff and company networks. SD WAN can help providers over multiple geographical locations to connect through one single application. For this level of intrinsic transformation, an IT solutions provider is necessary. Once it’s right in the inside, it’ll be right on the outside.

Secondly, learning from other industries to create a user-experience. What are the similarities between Netflix and Airbnb? They both operate primarily with mobile integration and are accessible 24/7 at the freedom of the user. Services are automated and digital, this means there is no ‘closed’ period. Instead of being forced to decide on a certain movie, programme or room, users are empowered in their decision making. Sites like Skyscanner market very well on the premise that the customer feels they are getting a steal. This is because the branding has returned choice and accessibility to the customer.

Decision making doesn’t happen in stores and banks anymore. It happens in living rooms. This is where hospitality needs to reach out to customers.

What is the future of hospitality?

Digital. The younger generations are learning the world through a hybrid of information tech and screens. A digital generation require digital solutions. It’s an exciting time for the hospitality industry, if they step up and meet the challenge.