As the accommodation industry recovers from the impact of COVID-19, it is advisable to work with financiers and tech companies to reduce overhead costs.
This is according to research compiled and presented by Associate Director of CBRE, Joe Stather, during a WTM London Virtual session last week.
“Hotels, particularly those that are full service, are highly operationally leveraged. We have seen some operators find ways to reduce operating and unfixed costs and of course government support has helped. But many hotels are making marginal profits, or a loss, and this is before any payment of rent or debt,” said Stather.
He said hoteliers would have to work with financiers to identify ways to further reduce costs, one of which would be the integration of technology.
Michael Struck, Founder and CEO of boutique hotel brand Ruby, said while technological integration had always been a part of the group’s operations, the company had undertaken the automation of its internal operations to reduce staffing costs.
“A lot of things don’t need to be done the way they’ve been done for 30 years. We’ve automated large parts of accounting, purchasing, HR... The payroll, in effect, is then 50% less, which reduces your break-even point,” said Struck.
Wyndham Hotels and Resorts has been concerned with digitising its front of house operations, according to Head of Feasibility and Viability EMEA, Eva Chan. “We have just launched a Wyndham app that allows for check in and check out, and we are also launching a direct business booking platform that allows business travellers to book and receive a monthly bill.” She said these technological advancements reduced costs for Wyndham and its partners.
Weighing in on the actual impact of integrating technology into the guest experience was CEO of Suitepad, Moritz Petersdorf. Suitepad is a communications solution that allows guests to customise their hotel experience through the use of a smart device.
“A big cost-saving feature is the option for guests to waive housekeeping,” said Petersdorf. He said for hotels that often outsourced the service, it saved on a lot of costs.
“One customer of ours runs their phone functionalities through the Suitepad and are sending all customer queries to a central one or two people who are there 24/7, and in doing so were greatly able to reduce their staff in their properties.”
Through lowering operational costs, hotels increased their chances of survival beyond the end of what had been a particularly difficult year, said Stather.