Automation in the hospitality industry

Automation in the Hospitality Industry: Friend or Foe?

Welcome to Boostly Podcast Episode 577.

In this podcast episode the conversation between Mark, Andy, and Vanessa revolves around the importance of competitive advantage in the hospitality industry, particularly in the upcoming year, which is expected to be more challenging due to various reasons, such as the pandemic, Brexit, and fuel prices.

To be successful, businesses must understand and cater to ever-changing guest motivations for holidays.

Competitive advantage lies in identifying unique selling points and understanding how to communicate these to the outside world.

The ultimate goal is to create memories for guests that will make them become the business's biggest marketers and raving fans.

In a state of “perma-crisis,” it is essential to stabilize businesses while standing out from the competition.

The discussion highlights the importance of staying ahead of the competition, delivering superb experiences, and understanding what sets a business apart.

The conversation ends with the panel suggesting that businesses must be aware of individual guest types and cater to their specific needs to remain successful.

Here's the video for this episode:

Timestamps (audio)

00:00 – Have to brand
00:59 – What were going to dig into
04:06 – In terms of challenges
06:42 – How people identify their unique selling points
08:49 – Three key points

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Transcript from the Episode

Have to brand

[00:00:00] Mark: You know, you had to, you had to brand your business, you had to build a personal brand. You had to do the market research, like what Vanessa's saying. Now you had to like speak to guests and find out. They like and what they don't like,

[00:00:12] Andy: don't want to guess. That ever leaves your business thinking, yeah, that was all right.

[00:00:15] We want 'em to leave thinking that was superb. So that's, that's the context. And if we don't hit any of those marks, you know what I said, you let me know. You put a question in the q and a and we'll address it. So with that said, let's start to set the scene. So we, we talk about competitive advantage, what even is competitive advantage.

[00:00:31] Um, Vanessa, maybe you could, you could take this.

[00:00:34] Vanessa: Yeah, sure. I mean, I think competitive advantage probably means sometimes different things to different people. But from my point of view, coming from a P M S, property management system, booking management system, whatever you want to call us, um, for me the crux of competitive advantage is really a businesses usps, what do you love?

[00:00:54] What are you great at? And then how do you talk about those to the outside world?

What were going to dig into

[00:00:59] Mark: Everything boils down to hospital. At the end of the day, what we are doing doesn't matter whether you have come into this as, uh, something passive and you want to find out more of this is like you've been, you've come into this and this is like your bread and butter.

[00:01:12] This is, this is your career. This whole industry boils down to one thing and that's hospitality. You know, you are welcome strangers into your house, into your business, uh, and. You are going to be creating memories. The, the, when somebody interacts with you and they pay you compared to when they just buy some off, you know, an Etsy or wherever is that you are creating memories that they all remember from time to time to time.

[00:01:33] So the more that you can give them the best possible experience and that's tapping into like Vanessa's your what you love doing, like your unique selling point, then they will go away and they'll become your biggest, your your biggest marketers, your Raven fans. And that's what we're gonna dig into in, in, into.

[00:01:51] Andy: Cool. Um, just touching on that a little bit, uh, 2023, I'm sure will be a, a more challenging year than 2022, and certainly more challenging than 2021, given that those years were more of a bounce back from Covid. Um, and, and also along that, along that path, we've also seen a lot more people come into the industry and start offering their homes for, for rent.

[00:02:18] And therefore what I'm saying is the landscape does become a lot more competitive. Mm-hmm. Do so, do what? What do you think ha do, do you think that um, the industry is robust enough and there's enough guest demand for people to just go, well, it doesn't matter. There's loads more people in here. There's so much demand here, I can sit back and kind of just like, you know, make hay Or do you share that belief that I have, which is, I think it's still.

[00:02:41] It's going to be quite a difficult year and it, but it is really important to really talk about what makes you different, what sets you apart? What, what do you think?

[00:02:49] Vanessa: I think, can I just kick off? Yes. Cause it, I think it's just the sheer unknown. I think it is gonna be a difficult year. Um, we've had the strangest ride ever over the past couple of years.

[00:03:00] There's been Brexit, Brexit pandemic. The Russians flexing their muscles displacement of half of Ukraine energy crisis over tourism in the uk. The ebb and flow of fuel prices, the ebb and flow of inbound and outbound tourism. And it seems to me that we're in a state of like perma crisis and we're all expecting that maybe something else is gonna just come around that corner.

[00:03:22] So really the challenges I think are. Trying to stabilize what we have, whether it's our, in, in, you know, the, the industry as a whole or our, our independent businesses stabilize, but stand out. And I think that's gonna be a big challenge. Um, also understanding and catering for. Ever-changing gas motivations for holidays because in the state of Perma Christ perma crisis, the, the, the sort of the overlap of holidays and business and work and traveling for work, it's all, it's all taking place.

[00:03:55] Um, it's getting fuzzier that it's getting more blended. Um, so there's lots of opportunities, but also challenges in, in, in trying to, um, speak to all of those individual guest types.

In Terms of challenges

[00:04:06] Mark: Yeah, I mean, in terms of, of challenges like Vanessa, The nail on the head. There's always seems to be something. It's like different shit, different day.

[00:04:14] And if we as an industry can survive 2020 and just like cast your mind back to them, there's like a shutdown. Like people were not allowed to travel outside of a certain zone or a region. And those of you that have been here since 2018, 2019, you've then gone through 2020. 2021 was obviously a bounce back and it was like a sweet spot and everybody discovered dynamic pricing and you know, you recovered any losses that potentially were in 2020.

[00:04:40] 2022 was what 2022 is. And now you're coming into this year. And if you're specifically, like say you're based in the uk there's, there's the, there's the threat or the risk of legislation. There could be like national, it could be more, more close wide. There could be a crackdown on short term rentals. So it's always feels like there's something but.

[00:04:59] With all of this being said, people are still traveling. People can still book. For the first time ever, people are allowed to leave China for the first time. So, uh, you're gonna get guests and potential, your avatar that was there in 2019 could be coming back again. So there's always gonna be people traveling, even with the fret of whatever could be around the corner.

[00:05:18] And my advice to everybody with this is you focus on what you can. Like block out all of the nonsense, block out all of the things that are going on that you can't control, and just focus on what you can and what can you control? Well, if you've got one property, and let's just say you can o you, you do like a minimum of like a week stage, right?

[00:05:38] You've only got to fill, let's say 50 weeks of booking in 2023. That's only 50 customers that you need to have. That's 50 heads on beds, so to speak. You haven't. Unlimited amount of inventory. You've just got a, a small focus. I

[00:05:51] Vanessa: think going back to those basics and just kind of thinking holistically about, as we've said, who you are, who you want to reach, and then just thinking carefully about enhancing every stage of that guest journey, as you've said, from the booking to the welcoming, to adding value to their in-state experience, but also.

[00:06:06] Capital, capitalizing on their sort of enduring post-day fee feelings, their warm feelings, get those reviews, remarket to them, get offers, recommendations, loyalty. It's that harboring of loyalty that's really important, important this year. Um, so maybe just, you know, go back and just look at remarketing to people who have stayed with you already, finding out what they enjoyed about you and, and, you know, try to, to hook them in with some sort of sort of offer or.

[00:06:34] You know, reminder of what they enjoyed when they stayed last time. Um, so that could be something to focus on.

How people identify their unique selling points

[00:06:40] Andy: We should probably track into, um, how people identify their unique selling points, their usps, because that to me seems like the way, in order for you to, like you said, mark, if you wanna go and, and, and hustle and, and try and get business without relying on the OTAs, you're going to need to clearly define what you stand for and how.

[00:06:58] If you're gonna just social campaign or email your newsletter or whatever, you need to have a story. You need to have a hook. You need to tell people why they should be interested. So how do people identify those usps, those, those unique selling points? Is it, you know, is it that I am, you know, um, uh, I have a swimming pool or, or is it that I offer an experience or the intangible?

[00:07:19] Like, what is it, what, what, what is that U S P, in your opinion? Maybe Vanessa, we'll start with you.

[00:07:24] Vanessa: Um, I think it's, it's a combination of those things. I think, uh, the most important thing really is to evoke a kind of an emotional attachment almost immediately. And, and I think in order to do that, you need to sell the experience, not just.

[00:07:41] The swimming pool and the access to the beach. Um, so it's really about tapping into values. I think, um, to kind of backtrack slightly, I believe there's been a real erosion of trust generally in things like government, business, media. So you mentioned the word clinging earlier in terms of people trying to clinging onto a holiday.

[00:08:02] There's that clinging and that community and that sense of, um, coming together and, um, a meeting of minds and a meeting of values and a meeting of things that are important to, to you. So I think if you speak honestly and, um, you know, in a very human, uh, natural way to your audience about what you have on offer and how, you know the experience that they can, they can, um, Achieve with you.

[00:08:29] Um, I think that's really where, where you, you start to win, where you can start to build that community, build that trust. I think they call it horizontal trust now cause the vertical trust's gone. So you're looking for the horizontal trust and experience and the values in the community. And I think that is going to be more important in the way we speak to our audiences these days.

Three Key Points

[00:08:49] Mark: Yeah. I mean, before you even do. You gotta focus on, there's, there's three key parts to it, and I talk about it a lot in, in the book Direct Playbook. You've got the identify, uh, you've got to, uh, find the time, and then you've got the attract. So what that basically means, number one, you've gotta identify your, who is coming to your area, where your property is, which is really key because so many people, Start a business, start a property, deck it out in what they think will suit, but then if they're decking it all out for person A or then person B is the one that's coming to the area, then it means nothing.

[00:09:23] So first things first, you've gotta do a bit of market research. So find out. Who is the type of guest or the type of avatar that is mostly coming to you? Cause your could be different to Nuki, whether would be different to London, that would be different to Glasgow or Edinburgh or wherever. Wherever your property is.

[00:09:41] So do a bit of research and again, if you don't know what that is, then there's amazing tools now like chat, G P T that can help with those free tools, right? If you're not comfortable. Chart of talking to a robot, then just go and have a look. Go to like tourism meetings and, and do, do that sort of thing.

[00:09:57] So do the research first. So when you figure out what is the type of guest that predominantly comes to your area, then you base your property around it. So you're not gonna try and appeal to everybody. You again, you're try and appeal to a specific few, having a blast. Gonna get it on the Boostly podcast.

[00:10:11] Bruce Lee led Bruce Lee cuz it's so hard on the tee is loose leaf making up those rhymes.

[00:10:16] Vanessa: Don't write it, just do it loosely.

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