Do you think that internet communications and marketing only apply to large hotels and big groups? Think again! The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and some may argue that it helps the ‘smaller guys’ even more so than the larger ones. Here’s how technology and online communication are creating opportunities for B&Bs and small hospitality businesses in South Africa.
78% of global hotel leaders believe technology will have the biggest transformational impact on their businesses over the next five years.
By embracing and implementing new technology, smaller hospitality businesses have access to enterprise-level tools that can help them run their businesses more efficiently, and market them to a wider audience.
Research conducted last year found that:
- Nearly half of the 2000 leisure travellers polled say the internet and device connectivity makes travel better.
- 42% believe technology innovations and advancements across all modes of travel have improved the experience.
- 38% say these tech advancements have helped them find deals, discounts and destinations more easily.
Here are some examples of effective connectivity in hospitality:
Boosting bookings with Airbnb
The sharing economy is here to stay, and it’s all conducted online. Airbnb has created massive opportunities for those not necessarily in the formal hospitality industry to offer unique accommodation and experiences. The platform is run entirely online – the host creates a listing that will appear and which potential guests (150 million of them worldwide!) search in that area. All bookings and payments are run through the platform.
There are numerous other booking platforms specifically for the hospitality industry that work in similar ways. If you’re not listed, you’re not getting booked as much as you could be.
Social media platforms lend themselves well to the hospitality industry. Having a free online presence to share photos, news, and special offers creates an awareness of your destination in the market and gives you the chance to engage with potential (and returning) guests.
With an online, regularly-updated customer database, it’s easy to pop your potential customers email messages to alert them about:
- Reservation confirmations
- Information before their stay – parking, check-ins etc.
- Thank-you and asking for feedback after their stay
- Special deals you’re running
- General news of interest about your place and the area.
You can also use automated marketing software to set up triggers to send these emails at the right time so that you don’t have to do this manually.
Outsource your admin
Technology can act as an assistant to every hospitality manager, helping you perform daily tasks more accurately and efficiently, leaving you with more time to care for your guests. For example, cloud-based software solutions can keep your systems, data and processes in one centralised location that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time. It’s also a way of ensuring improved business continuity, as you’re not reliant on a single server or hard drive.
Cloud-based solutions could include:
- Bookings, reservations and payment software
- Accounting programmes
- Customer management systems that retain and update customer data.
These are just a few examples of the many ways in which the online world opens up a wealth of opportunities to hospitality businesses large and small. If you’re not connected, you’re missing out.
Wifi for your guests
Never mind connectivity for yourself; many guests will see Wi-Fi availability as an important booking criterion when choosing accommodation. A recent survey found that having access to Wi-Fi at hotels is more important to business travellers than the room rate! These days, the ability to offer your guests fast, reliable connectivity is becoming an expectation rather than an added benefit.
Connecting the country
At Bundu NetworX, we know that some of the most beautiful places in the country (and places to stay to enjoy them) are found in areas without established infrastructure. We specialise in expanding our network to inaccessible areas and providing internet to people who would otherwise have no access. Get in touch to find out about coverage in your area: https://bundunetworx.co.za/.