Minimizing cost while adapting to new operating norms is difficult, however adopting the latest cloud-enabled digital strategies can help hotels not only gain market share but also manage the risks of operating in a post-COVID world. We provide below a list of the top 10 essential revival strategies that will help the industry bounce back with a bang!
Hotels must provide new check-in experiences where mobile check-in or virtual check-in with virtual key features are enabled. This will prevent congregation at the check-in desk during peak hours and reduce the risk of infection through use of potentially contaminated key cards. Hotels can leverage AWS technologies such as Amazon FreeRTOS, AWS IoT Core, Amazon DynamoDB, AWS Lambda, and Amazon API Gateway to build cloud-scale virtual key solutions and integrate them into existing mobile apps rapidly. They can leverage AWS Partner Device Catalog to select a hardware platform that is compatible with AWS IoT services.
While many hotels feature mobile check-in, not all of them have locks with automated operations, requiring guests to pick up physical key cards at the front desk. In such circumstances, check-in and key card printing kiosks should be enabled in order to create a true contactless check-in process. Amazon AWS IoT Core and related services can be used to integrate existing key coding devices with mobile apps so that cards can be coded as a self-service feature.
Deploy technology (ideally, camera-based AI technology) that constantly monitors safe distancing among guests, staff, etc. in public areas, such as lobbies, and alerts them. This technology can also recommend appropriate seating configurations in common areas and restaurants to minimize distancing violations. AI/ML models deployed to on-site cameras would be able to process video data live and make recommendations (without data being sent over to the cloud, alleviating privacy concerns).
Guest and staff contact tracing
Update mobile app with contact tracing feature (which is strictly opt-in) so that anonymous contact tracing data is collected and held on the mobile device until there is a need to inform guests or staff of potential exposure with their consent. This should assure guests that the hotel is providing them with advanced options for reducing exposure and ensuring that if there is a risk of exposure they are empowered to act as soon as possible. Capgemini’s Smart Quarantine solution, based on AWS cloud platform, provides a ready-to-use application suite for contact tracing, hotspot monitoring, and policy governance aspects of post-quarantine management.
Room service and food delivery
Employ robot-based food and room service delivery to reduce human-to-human contact while serving guests. Advanced AI in voice recognition, obstacle detection, etc. is enabling robots to be used for in-hotel room service operations successfully. Food should be delivered in tamper-resistant packaging in order to ensure that it is contamination-proof. Hotels could invest in robots that are built using AWS services such as SageMaker, Rekognition, RoboMaker, etc. that enable highly scalable and accurate delivery bots. Examples of food delivery robots that are currently in use in the industry are Starship, Amazon Scout, and Refraction.ai.
Temperature and health monitoring
Install thermal scanners to ensure that staff and guests are proactively monitored for signs of infection, such as fever, during their stay and notify them of potential risks. This also assures guests of measures the property is taking to safeguard the safety of all guests and staff. Camera-based thermal screening can be enabled over AWS Greengrass IoT using services such as Amazon SageMaker, SageMaker Ground Truth, etc.
Special offers and campaigns
While mandatory shutdowns have caused disruption to the hotel industry, they also create new opportunities for additional revenue, as governments are planning to re-open. Marketing campaigns should be targeted toward people who are looking to get a break from staying home with innovative offers, such as all-inclusive packages, reservations for the day or hour, etc. Offers that are attractive to Millennials, who are more eager to explore and are hungrier for tailored experiences, must be leveraged. Advanced AI models would have to be developed in order to make these campaigns targeted and actionable. Services such as Amazon PinPoint allow hotels to create multi-dimensional segmentation by doing advanced analytics on user actions, third-party data, etc. and help companies create targeted campaigns that have a high degree of success. The success of these campaigns could be continuously monitored and incorporated into future campaigns.
Automated antibacterial spraying
Automate spraying of commonly touched surfaces with IoT sensors that trigger electrostatic spraying of hospital-grade antibacterial liquids after the surfaces have been touched or used. This is applicable to restrooms surfaces, door handles, etc. Hotels could deploy ML models onto existing camera systems that can detect activity on/about a surface and set up alerts or notify automated systems to spray the surface with disinfectants.
Update websites and mobile apps to inform guests about hotel openings, the status of local attractions, etc., and ensure that reservations have flexible cancellation policies and that mobile apps are enhanced to ensure hotel guests can get their questions or concerns addressed either via live agents or bot agents. Allow guests to stay engaged even after check-out in order to facilitate accurate information flow about the spread of infection or risk of exposure and guests informed about cleaning standards. AWS services such as Lex, Polly, etc. help hotels build highly scalable and responsive bots that can be deployed on all channels to disseminate valid information to guests in a timely manner.
In case of an unexpected outbreak, monitor for early signs, and manage inventory so that there is always a “pristine” section to move guests to. Utilize inventory optimization software to accommodate emergency readiness protocols. AWS Marketplace could be leveraged to evaluate and purchase hotel inventory optimization packages in order to quickly deploy emergency readiness schemes.
COVID-19 has affected every sector around the globe, and the hospitality industry is among the hardest hit. Looking ahead, we expect the industry to bounce back and have a faster return to normalcy if it rapidly adopts essential solutions that address safety, compliance, and customer confidence.
We have already started helping our clients on their journey toward recovery. As a leading provider of technology consulting services that help companies accelerate their digital transformation journeys, we have specialized domain and technology expertise that clients can leverage in order to operate effectively in a world that is evolving and reacting to dire public health and business circumstances.
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