Open Letter to General Managers: Here is How Trip Advisor and Intelligent Marketing can Save Your Job!
Just like the Dutch sailors hunted down their way to the Dodo Bird’s extinction, the mammoth of digitalism is here to engulf you, dear hoteliers, and your businesses. In my experience of exploring the hospitality world and in all of my interactions with hoteliers and GMs, I must say that I foresee a major technological movement paving its way through. It’s blowing away the ‘dear managers’ sitting at the front desk, waiting to greet guests with their effervescent smiles.
It is said that a GM is the ‘heart and soul’ of the hotel space, and it takes a person of utmost commitment and responsibility to live up to the expectations that this position entails. However, with the changing landscape, from archaic and rustic roads to modern highways of this industry, are the GMs able to keep pace with the roaring technology?
Is it time to redefine job roles?
Will GMs fall redundant in the face of this Big Revolution?
It is time to do away with the old trends, and bring in the new ‘heart and soul’ of the space – technology.
I constantly rant about the impending doom for the GMs, unless new technology is embraced and adopted.
Here are some of the technologies which are trending and MUST be adopted successfully by you.
1. Aye-Aye Social Media!
The most important trend of all. I often say – the biggest threat to the GMs is from the Digital Manager. Come to think from it – from reservations on Twitter to reviews on TripAdvisor, everything has been digitized.
Social Media is the best platform for marketing and reconnecting with former guests, creating a ‘link-web’ of sorts, through which the good word can pass.
Out of personal experience and a history of interactions in this field, I can say that a large percentage of customers of the hospitality industry are well connected with social networks for opinions as well as for feedback about the hotels they have been to.
The GMs should adopt a more open approach when dealing with Social Media. So, unless your hotel is interested in a lot of negative feedback and bad ratings, you should train your GMs to become more digitalized and connected with the customers on social media platforms.
This is how Hyatt Hotels interact with their customers and keep them engaged in order to increase the rate of followers on Facebook.
I think this is a brilliant idea to engage more prospective guests and can be used by other hotels for which your GMs should be well trained and interactive.
2. Why queue up when they can Self Check-In?
TripAdvisor saw 260 million unique visitors a month and 80 new contributions every minute last year, and that number is only increasing. If you as a hotel GM are not taking advantage of this crowd-sourced travel guide, you’re missing out on a significant amount of business.
I am often asked how hotels get ranked on Tripadvisor. The exact details to its ranking algorithm are kept secret, but after some digging I found the following –
- Larger number of reviews is not what you should be looking for. Instead, try to elevate customer experience so that you get better starred reviews.
- Content integrity is taken very seriously by TripAdvisor, so refrain from paid reviews. As they say, if they catch you, you are toast, and so is the ranking of your hotel or restaurant.
- Answer to your reviews, so that a sense of recency is built on the page.
Watch the video at the end to learn more on how to let TripAdvisor work for you!
3. Don’t get hacked! Revamp your Security measures
Your age old systems can be easily hacked into by professional hackers sitting in dark corners across the globe. Unless you want that mishap, encourage your GMs to introduce new security measures. They must invest in new network security software. Or, if your GMs are too archaic, assign the job to a Chief Information Security Officer for better implementation. Whatever you do, it better be quick before your entire database gets robbed off!
Take inspiration from the Starwood Group, which has launched keyless room access through smartphones, which operates through registered codes.
4. Don’t let the website kill your prospects – create App-ily Ever After!
Please do not punish your guests even before they arrive at the hotel! The slow, lagging websites are the perfect ways to ward off all customers heading your way! Just because the staff is familiar with the time consuming website, doesn’t mean it has to stay. Technology has come a long way, and GMs needs to keep up with it. Mobile Apps have come to your rescue, you just have to evolve!
Virgin Hotels’ App called Lucy, for example, has multiple features that allow guests to interact with its property. Some of these include allowing guests to adjust the room temperature, stream personal content to their room’s TV, and turn their smartphone into a remote.
5. Goodbye database diaries – Welcome aboard, Cloud Computing!
Financial skills are essential for any GM. With advancing technology, database diaries are going to become absolutely cumbersome to maintain. Cloud Computing is a brilliant way to solve all managerial problems!
It aims to cut 50% of operational costs, and if your GM trains to embrace digitization, this will be a cakewalk for both you and him!
Proper training can help the GMs save their time, and in the long run, their jobs, unless they wants to rot themselves and the hotel in the mess of manual databases and ordinary computing, where all information is vulnerable to exposure and basic human errors.
Technology is like a baby, and it needs to be handled with care. However, if used efficiently, it can become man’s best friend.
While the hospitality industry still wants warm staff seated at the reception, it is also going through a revolution. If your GMs want to survive in the changing face of reality, they will have to evolve, and adapt, and become harbingers of change, instead of battling the shackles of redundancy.
Having worked in the hospitality industry since my early 20s, before setting up an hoteliers training certification programme, I’m well versed with its fundamentals. Since the past 7 years have forewarned you and tried to notify you of the future of hospitality, here is another video series which I have started to help you stay ahead of the game – the #AskAviArya show.
Here’s the link to the TripAdvisor video. Drive your bookings after watching it!
Give me a shout out when we meet next time – till then SHARE this article with somebody who you feel needs it.