Hotel innovation ideas to help your property succeed

Penni Schewe

Innovation is often talked about as being crucial in the hotel industry, and the business world in general, because it’s all about creativity, originality, and experimentation.

That’s not to say you should change anything for the sake of it. If guests are loving your customer experience, why upset the status quo? However as the motivations, expectations, and behaviours of guests change, you need to adapt along with them to keep them satisfied.

This blog will tell you everything you need to know about innovating at your hotel and provide some handy tips to get you started on the right track!

What does hotel innovation mean?

Hotel innovation is defined by undertaking new processes, adopting new technologies, or implementing creative new ideas to achieve better outcomes for the business and its guests.

This might mean finding a new way to impress and satisfy guests, opening a new amenity, or finding better ways to manage your revenue for example.

Often you’ll want to innovate because it will improve your efficiency, profit, and customer satisfaction. It’s well worth the effort too, with a study from Deloitte finding that when hotels understand their guests, stay frequency increases by 13%!

Top ways to innovate at your hotel

In theory it’s easy to innovate – new ideas are always being discovered and shared. We just have to take notice and gravitate towards what captures our imagination and inspires us.

When you innovate at your hotel you should think about what kind of goals you are aiming for. Are you trying to create a truly memorable experience, find an extra revenue stream, make life easier for your staff, or use cutting edge technology to help your hotel succeed in all areas?

The best way to make your hotel will depend on your specific location, target market, brand, and resources. Here are some ideas for different areas of your business on how to innovate.

Guest experience ideas

It goes without saying that anything you can do to create a stronger emotional experience for a guest during their stay is a good idea. The same goes for making their stay easier and more convenient from check-in to check-out.

If you aren’t already, consider exploring these ideas:

  • Hotel apps – Using apps that plugin to your existing systems can greatly increase your capacity to deliver great service. For example, you might be able to offer guests mobile check-in and check-out, allowing them to skip waiting times and remove the hassle of dealing with the front desk.
  • Self-service automation – With self-service technology, guests feel like they are in control and not being pushed to make any particular decision. This gives them a comfortable sense of freedom and flexibility. Of course, traditional staff can always be on hand to lend assistance and help with requests.
  • Keyless experiences – Having to remember a key, or even a keycard, can be annoying for guests and it’s something that is easy to forget. With facial recognition technology, or mobile door entry, you can make the simple act of getting into their room much easier – as it should be.
  • Smart amenities – Just like using a physical key, getting up and down to adjust lighting, heating, or their alarm etc can break the mode of relaxation guests are looking for when they take a holiday. With smart amenities, guests can control everything in their room from one location such as a tablet.
  • Repurpose your spaces – If you make it so much quicker and easier for guests to check-in and self-service, then do you really need a traditional front desk? Perhaps instead it could be a bar that gives guests a complimentary drink on arrival, or it could be a lounge area where guests can relax, or a space for local musicians or performers to ply their trade.
  • Personalise – Any new way to tailor the guest experience is a great innovation. It requires you to collect guest data, via the booking process, pre-stay communications, and post-stay communications. Once you know their likes and dislikes, you can surprise them during their stay by having their favourite drink waiting, or their wake up call and breakfast already scheduled.

Housekeeping ideas

Housekeeping can make or break both the guest experience and the overall efficiency of your hotel. If it goes right, guests will barely ever notice it. If it goes wrong, you’ll be receiving many complaints and negative reviews.

Knowing that sleep quality is still the most important factor in whether you’re able to offer a positive guest experience or not, finding ways to make your housekeeping as efficient as possible is vital.

Automated housekeeping software
In large properties especially, bringing your housekeeping schedule online and allowing real-time updates and adjustments will help significantly in terms of keeping track of every room and also communication between staff. You can also incorporate digital checklists to ensure that all staff can see what needs to be done and that everything gets done on time.

You need to keep in mind that any new tech you give your staff, you should give it to your guests as well. This might mean implementing a system that also allows guests to use digital housekeeping requests and notifications such as ‘Do not disturb’ or ‘Request extra towels’.

How else can housekeeping be improved?
The challenge for hoteliers is always to find more cost-effective ways of doing things. So what about laundry? Looking into the latest machines and chemical providers might give you ways to use less water, less detergent, and less time to wash bedding and towels. The added bonus is that you’ll also be able to market to guests the sustainable practices you’re undertaking.