Hoteliers are slowly adjusting to the “new normal” but the situation of the crisis changes everyday. 

To help hoteliers take control of the situation, industry experts from ZEN Hospitality Solutions shared their expertise on how hotels can optimize and reduce operations cost during a  live webinar. Following the success of the first webinar, attendees of this second talk were provided tips on identifying savings opportunities and managing the impact of COVID-19 with their overhead and fixed costs. 

 

Identifying the 2 Main Sources of Hotel Operations Costs 

 

1. Consumption of utilities

In the next 6 to 12 months, guests are expected to stay inside their hotel rooms. This is because clean hotel rooms isolate them from the outside world where the virus persists. With that, hoteliers should expect increased consumption in utilities (up to 3x) and increased use of hotel amenities like laundry bags, and soap.

 

2. Safety Measure Costs

Safety will be the top priority of guests over the next 12 months. In adherence to government regulations and guest expectations, hotels need to be extra vigilant and enhance their safety procedures. Therefore, hoteliers need to invest in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE; which includes a complete overall suit, gloves, face mask, and face shield) for the hotel staff. Additionally, there will be additional costs on putting hand sanitizers and alcohol at certain parts of the hotel, and printing safety signs and banners to guide hotel guests. 

 

5 Actionable Steps in Optimizing Hotel Operations Costs

1. Review contracts with current suppliers

Revisit existing partnerships with suppliers and save up to 25% on costs. Many long-term contracts are not competitive anymore due to the economic changes brought by COVID-19. When canvassing for new suppliers, make sure to compare at least 3-5 options. Before deciding, do not forget to check hidden costs and charges, as well as additional shipping fees and taxes. Prices may look slightly lower because these were not included in the original computation of fees.

 

2. Renegotiate property leases

For hoteliers who lease their properties, it is important to check back on the details and the fine print of the lease contract. Check all the terms that can be negotiated and present all the government regulations that can help lower the lease price. Since the real estate market is experiencing an average decline of 15%, lessors need their tenants to uphold leases. In turn, hoteliers can use this as an opportunity to renegotiate. Once lessors agree to the newly presented terms and conditions, make sure everything is well documented to avoid future issues.

 

3. Optimize human resources

Manpower is the most important resource of the hotel because their skill cannot be replaced. When faced with adversity, do not fire then hire afterwards. To fire, hire, and proceed to train a replacement costs about 33% of a staff’s yearly salary. Instead, cross-train staff to increase efficiency and allow flexible working conditions. Minimize the number of working hours to save costs on salary but provide job security to the staff. Maximize labor subsidies that are available to the staff to help compensate the staff.

 

4. Focus on long-term savings

Initial investments will pay off in the long run, in some cases, within 3 months. Replace old and obsolete appliances since they consume more energy. Switch to Halogen/LED lights or use split-type air conditioning to save costs on electricity. Buying bulk from suppliers will also save extra costs since this type of purchase has special discounts. 

 

5. Go digital and use automation tools

To save time and avoid expensive staff errors, invest in a long-term digital solution for the hotel. A digital automation tool like a Property Management System (PMS) consolidates guest data, standardizes check-in and check-out procedures, and updates revenue and room occupancy automatically; no need for the manual use of logbooks and ledgers. Since the PMS would cost around $59 monthly and can do the job of 2 hotel staff, savings are increased in staff wages. A PMS can also help in customer care and enhancing guest experience because of its feature to send guest reminders automatically after one-time setup. 

 

ZEN eManager: An all-in-one hotel solution to reduce costs and increase efficiency

 

During these challenging times, an expert all-in-one solution will help hoteliers manage their hotel from the safety of their homes, avoid staff errors, and increase productivity. It’s time for hoteliers to go digital. 

 

ZEN eManager comes with: 

 

A cloud-based hotel management system: eZee Absolute is a Property Management System (PMS) that allows hoteliers and other staff to manage the property remotely while ensuring that hotel operations are smooth and guest satisfaction is excellent. Through the mobile app, the hotel staff will be able to coordinate on tasks without staying close to each other. 

 

Advantages of eZee Absolute: 

 

  • Automation of hotel operations – The PMS allows auto-assignment of rooms to the hotel guests so the staff does not have to manually check which rooms are available. It also provides the staff an easier way to input in guest details and check them in the hotel.
  • Tracking of hotel performance – The PMS provides increased visibility on hotel data like guest insights, room occupancy, and financial status. This allows hoteliers to quickly re-plan their strategies for the next few days or weeks. 
  • Integration with Channel Manager – eZee Absolute can seamlessly be connected to the hotel’s Channel Manager. Since more bookings are coming from Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), it is important to synchronize external bookings with in-house reservations and current bookings. 

 

 

ZEN eManager also includes:

 

  • A cloud-based Channel Manager:  eZee Centrix, a Channel Manager allows real-time monitoring of bookings and cancellations, easy rate management, and viewing of hotel listings across all Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) — all done through the computer software and the mobile app. eZee Centrix can also be connected to eZee Absolute PMS for hassle-free monitoring of bookings across all booking platforms.
  • A dedicated revenue manager: ZEN eManager also includes a dedicated revenue manager straight from ZEN Headquarters. The assigned revenue manager applies the most advanced pricing algorithm, the ZEN Pricing Model, to ensure that hoteliers get maximum profit no matter the season.

 

 

Book a free demo of ZEN eManager at www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting to find out more.

 

Domestic tourism will be the first facet of leisure tourism to recover. People have missed traveling, that when restrictions ease up, they will start venturing on nearby places to their home. Moreover, countries are trying to boost their economies, and the domestic tourism industry is one of the sectors that can contribute to that. 

The demand for domestic leisure travel will slowly increase in the next few months so hotels need to know who engages in domestic tourism and how to prepare for this segment during the “new normal.”

Characteristics of Domestic Leisure Travelers

Type of travel

Some domestic leisure travelers will explore their own ‘backyards’, or places close to their city (sometimes known as “staycations”). Some travelers will explore farther local destinations, but not far enough that it requires plane travel.

Length of stay

According to SiteMinder, domestic travelers especially “families” are likely to stay for a week or more and couples or groups of friends are less predictable.

Budget and hotel expectations

Domestic leisure travelers are eager to travel but will be price sensitive. They will want to get as much value with their money so they can catch up on outdoor activities they have been missing out on. Hotels should ensure optimal pricing, and it should not come at the cost of a reduction in amenities. 

Factors To Consider When Accommodating Domestic Leisure Travelers

1. Government Mandates On Sanitation and Social Distancing

Travelers will naturally be safety conscious when traveling during the new normal. Hotels need to re-check their cleanliness procedures to ensure that the hotel is safe for all. During the new normal, there are new requirements on cleanliness and hygiene imposed by local governments. Hotels need to have new approaches to shared spaces, especially when guests are most likely to utilize onsite amenities.

2. Contactless Hotel Procedures

To maintain a safe distance from others, travelers expect hotels to have contactless and digital ways to connect with them. Hotels need to do everything (from payment, to check-in and check-out) online to connect with guests without close contact.

3. Flexible Booking and Cancellation Procedures

Travelers expect hotels to be more flexible with their cancellations and refund procedures because of time-sensitive occurrences. The pandemic has intensified guests’ trust issues, that your hotel needs to  provide clear cancellation and refund policies. Make it easy to book in advance and think about entertaining flexible rates that guests may be able to take advantage of.

4 Things Your Hotel Needs To Accomplish Before Domestic Leisure Tourism Recovers

1. Be Updated On The Local Marketing Trends

Monitoring competitors and current market trends is very vital during this period of change. Domestic leisure travel is likely to record figures that have no historical backing because a crisis hits an industry in a different way every time. With that, real-time data is vital for tracking pricing and marketing trends to allow you to re-strategize. It’s important to identify what tool will give your hotel access to intelligence on current pricing and market trends.

2. Partner With Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)

OTAs will still be valuable partners as they continue to reach a wider group of people and bring significant demand to your hotel. Updates on OTA listings should be done regularly including safety and cleanliness guidelines and social distancing protocols. It is important for your hotel to clearly state the safety guidelines and government mandates being followed because even when all the restrictions have eased, safety will still be a key factor for guests.

3. Check Guest Insights 

During these times, access to data is needed more than ever. Since guests’ concerns and attitudes are changing as COVID-19, it is important to have guests’ data on hand. Accessible data can help in re-strategizing your hotel’s special offers and packages.

4. Acquire An All-In-One Solution For Contactless Hotel Management

Hotels are already adapting digital solutions to keep consumers engaged, operations smooth and contact minimal. Automation of operations will be a huge trend and it is certain that the use of digital tools will be a permanent trend for hotels. Investing in a good all-in-one hotel solution would be the best action to take.

ZEN eManager: A Future-ready All-in-one Solution

Solutions lay in being informed and using the right tools in your hotel. During these challenging times, an expert all-in-one solution can assist hotels in preparing for domestic leisure travellers on contactless hotel management and implementing robust pricing strategies.

ZEN eManager is an all-in-one solution trusted by more than 5,000 hotels in Southeast Asia. Hotels that adapted ZEN eManager pre-COVID have been earning steady revenue at present; this is because it is a solution meant to prepare hotels for the future.

ZEN eManager comes with: 

  1. A cloud-based hotel management system: ZEN eManager has both eZee Absolute, a Property Management System, and eZee Centrix, a Channel Manager. eZee allows easy management of hotel listings across all OTAs, real-time monitoring of hotel operations, generation of accurate financial reports online in one dashboard, acquisition of real-time guest insights, and sending of automated guest emails and reminders. Hoteliers can manage their properties remotely while ensuring that hotel operations are smooth and guest satisfaction is excellent.
  2. A dedicated revenue manager: ZEN eManager also includes a dedicated revenue manager straight from ZEN Headquarters. The assigned revenue manager applies the most advanced pricing algorithm, the ZEN Pricing Model, to ensure that hotel owners get maximum revenue no matter the season.
  3. Exclusive listing on zenrooms.com: ZEN Rooms is a trusted brand, with its own Online Travel Agency (OTA) zenrooms.com obtaining up to 1 million monthly website visits. ZEN also gives a marketing edge to exclusive partners by publicizing their hotels across digital marketing channels with more than 1 million followers. 

Book a free demo of ZEN eManager at www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting to find out more.

 

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.

The pressing question that hotels want an answer to is: When will things go back to normal? 

The pandemic has been existing since the end of 2019, but hoteliers are still unsure of how to take control of the situation since there is no clear timeline available to them.

To help hoteliers take control of the situation, ZEN Hospitality Solutions Founder Nathan Boublil and Chief Revenue Officer Omkar Sen shared their expertise on how hotels can recover from the pandemic on the webinar entitled The Need of the Hour: COVID-19 Recovery Action Plan For Hotels. Almost 300 attendees who participated in the webinar were provided a specific timeline on the phases that hotels would encounter on their way to recovery, and what hotels should do to sustain their businesses during these phases.

Phase One: Restricted 

Main characteristics: Domestic demand dominated by corporate bookings

This is the time when travel is restricted. Only the exempted sectors (ex. BPOs, government officials, media, and healthcare workers) are allowed to travel or book hotels, which is why demand is domestic. Southeast Asian countries are still in this phase, especially the Philippines. Though quarantine laws have eased up in countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, these countries are still in this phase because their only source of guests are locals who engage in work-related activities. This phase is the most challenging to overcome, that some hotel owners are thinking about selling their properties. However, according to ZEN Hospitality Solutions Founder Nathan Boublil, selling the hotel is a short-term perspective. The demand for hospitality assets will be experiencing a very short decline, but when the industry recovers, the value of the hotel business will increase because people have missed traveling and are willing to spend more on that experience. Hotel owners are much better off waiting, just like the stock market in the long run. 

How hotels should act during this phase: 

To overcome this phase, hotels need to be more aware of the different travel segments that they can tap into. Corporate bookings or business-to-business (B2B) bookings will be the main source customers of hotels during this time, so they need to adjust to the needs and behavior of this segment. In the Philippines, overseas workers (OFWs) have been returning to the country and are also a new target market of hotels. Since the government is stricter in implementing social distancing protocols, adapting a digital solution that allows contactless hotel management will help hotels adhere to the guidelines.

Phase Two: Local Dependent

Main characteristics: Domestic business demand, few international business guests, and locals start engaging on staycations and inter-city travel

Countries that eased up travel restrictions are already in this phase, and SEA countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia will be entering the Local Dependent phase in the upcoming few months. Domestic demand is high during this time, but some citizens of the neighboring countries are already considering business travel. Local corporate bookings will still dominate hotels, but some locals will engage in staycations and travel to nearby cities.

How hotels should act during this phase:

Hotels need to be ready for the upcoming demand in travel. They need to partner with Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) if they are not listed on one yet. Hotels with existing listings on OTAs need to ensure that the information they indicated about their hotel is up to date and it highlights the safety and cleanliness protocol of the property. OTAs are large organizations that enable hoteliers to reach out to new demand sources, that it is important to maintain OTA relationships.

Phase Three: Recovery

Main characteristics: Domestic business demand will be close to pre-pandemic levels, stronger international business demand, more locals engage in staycations and leisure travel

This is expected to take place in eight months or more if the country once the countries begin exiting the Local Dependent Phase. It will take some time, but hotels that survived the last two phases will surely have the best return once this phase commences. Southeast Asia is expected to have the fastest tourism growth globally between 2020-2030, so hotels need not to worry about the future of travel. This can also serve as a fresh start for hotels, in which the playing field becomes even. Hoteliers need to be more cautious of their competitors and their strategies.

How hotels should act during this phase: 

Hotels should not be relaxed during this time, even if the demand for travel increases. Most hotels are expected to be prepared for this phase, since it is like going back to how things were pre-pandemic. However, since a “new normal” is taking place, hotels need to adapt digital solutions, pricing strategies, and safety protocols that are fit for this time period. 

These defined phases may still change, since the situation is changing week by week. Hotels need to constantly reassess their strategies. To help hoteliers align their strategies on the pandemic, here are 5 actionable tips that they need to do on the way to the Recovery Phase:

5 Actionable Steps That Hoteliers Need to Do To Overcome the Pandemic

1. Be flexible

Your target market today might change next month. Make sure your hotel is prepared to make that change. Only the hotels that remain resilient will overcome the pandemic.

2. Prioritize long-term brand protection

When things get tough, do not immediately think of selling your hotel business. The travel industry will surely bounce back. Brainstorm on how you can tailor your services to the need of the hour.

3. Optimize your market mix

Do not focus on the usual target market and travel segments that your hotel caters to. Identify the pressing demand based on your location and re-align your hotel strategies. 

4. Focus on customer experience

Guests will be very critical of hotels’ cleanliness and safety. Eliminate their trust issues through constant communication and a good safety procedure.

5. Avoid price-slashing

Price slashing is similar to low-balling. Be confident with the amazing service that your hotel offers and look for pricing alternatives that can help your business bounce back. 

ZEN eManager: A future-ready all-in-one solution

During these challenging times, an expert all-in-one solution can assist hotels on their way to the Recovery Phase, and keep their hotel businesses profitable. 

ZEN eManager is an all-in-one solution trusted by more than 5000 hotels in Southeast Asia. Hotels that adapted ZEN eManager pre-COVID have been earning steady revenue at present; this is because it is a solution meant to prepare hotels for the future.

ZEN eManager includes: 

  1. A cloud-based hotel management system: ZEN eManager has both eZee Absolute, a Property Management System, and eZee Centrix, a Channel Manager. These allow easy management of hotel listings across all OTAs, real-time monitoring of hotel operations, generation of accurate financial reports online in one dashboard and sending of automated guest emails and reminders. This way, hoteliers can manage their properties even at home while ensuring that hotel operations are smooth and guest satisfaction is excellent.
  2. A dedicated revenue manager: To avoid resorting to price slashing, ZEN eManager also includes a dedicated revenue manager straight from ZEN Headquarters. The assigned revenue manager applies the most advanced pricing algorithm, the ZEN Pricing Model, to ensure that hotel owners get maximum revenue no matter the season.

Book a free demo of ZEN eManager and see it live in action: www.zen-hs.com/book-a-meeting.

 

Disclaimer: ZEN Rooms claims no credit for images featured on our blog site unless otherwise noted. All visual content is copyrighted to its respectful owners. We try to link back to original sources whenever possible. If you own the rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on ZEN Rooms, please contact us and they will be promptly removed. We believe in providing proper attribution to the original author, artist or photographer.