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  • Writer's pictureAnu Metsallik

Hotel Digitalisation: A Sustainable Strategy To Cut Costs And Improve Efficiency

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

We've all heard that the future of hospitality lies in digitalisation and sustainability. Let's talk about how hotels can embrace digitalisation to lower operating costs, boost efficiency, and encourage environmentally sustainable travel.

Online check-in and check-out

Go paperless by encouraging your guests to use their mobile phones to check-in, fill in all their personal information and submit document copies (if required). A sophisticated online check-in software sends all guest info automatically to the hotel's PMS eliminating completely the need to print out registration forms, make photocopies of passports and ID cards, and manually enter guest data.

Similarly, letting your guests to check out online and receive their invoice electronically is wonderful way to reduce unnecessary paper waste and gives you also a good excuse for asking for their feedback or providing them with a promo code for a discount on their next stay.

Archiving guests' private information digitally reduces paper usage and streamlines record-keeping, while also improving data security and accessibility.

Direct environmental impact and operational cost saving:

❌ No registration forms to be printed out

❌ No passport / ID card copies made

❌ No invoices to be printed out during check-out

Additional benefits

✔️ Saved reception working hours

✔️ Less queues at the reception

✔️ Smooth arrivals and departures

✔️ Secure record-keeping

Digital room keys

Take your guests' digital experience a step further and delight them with the possibility to open doors, parking gates and elevators with their mobile phone. Digital room keys are becoming increasingly popular for their convenience as they offer quick and easy entry without requiring guests to stand in line at the front desk or deal with a physical key cards that may be misplaced, lost or damaged. Digital keys can be encrypted and securely stored on guests' mobile devices, reducing the risk of theft or unauthorised access to hotel rooms.

The turnover of plastic key cards can be surprisingly high as they get damaged, become ugly or are simply lost and not returned by the guests. By eliminating the need for physical key cards, hotels can save on the cost of managing these cards and reduce plastic pollution.

❌ No plastic key cards to be bought, managed and disposed of

✔️ Better customer experience

✔️ Enhanced security

Digital room directory

Reducing the amount of paper used in hotel rooms is another strategy to promote sustainability. Digital room directories are becoming more and more common since they are more practical and easily modifiable according to your offerings.

Modern customer experience management tools make it simple to segment your customers and present each guest with daily specials and personalised offers tailored to their interests and travel objectives. While a couple may prefer to enhance their stay with some spa treatments or a bottle of champagne upon arrival, a travelling family is likely to book tickets to an amusement park or ready to upgrade to a more spacious family room.

In addition to more personalisation options, switching to digital room directories also eliminates the need to regularly monitor and replace stained and ruined pages. Lets be honest: How often are the stained pages changed in hotel directories? Finding some coffee stains, grimy fingerprints or previous guests' children drawings in a room directory is more common than you might think!

❌ No paper hotel directories in the room

❌ No printed special offers or promotions

✔️ All info is always up to date and easily modifiable

✔️️ Clean and professional looking room directory

✔️ Easily personalised based on guest profile

Furthermore, offering your guests a way to chat with the reception further eliminates the need for printed room directories as most guests would rather get a quick response to their question than start browsing a lengthy guest directory in search of the one thing they need.

Virtual hotel tours

Virtual hotel tours have becoming more and more popular. Instead of using traditional brochures, hotels can use digital tools such as 360-degree virtual tours or videos to showcase their property and amenities. Virtual hotel tours allow potential guests to engage with the hotel and get a better sense of its layout, amenities, and overall ambiance. This can reduce paper use while still giving guests a rich experience and boosting upsell rates.

❌ No printed hotel brochures or marketing materials

✔️ Interactive experience for the customer

✔️ Increased upsell rates

Smart resource management

By implementing energy-efficient practices like intelligent room temperature control and light sensors, water-saving measures like installing low-flow shower heads, toilets, and taps, and waste-reduction practices like limiting single-use plastics, composting food waste, and recycling materials, you can cut operational costs and lessen the environmental impact.

Many hotels are already asking their guests if they need their room serviced daily. In fact, most guests are happy to skip a daily towel exchange if they see how their actions can contribute to a more sustainable future. It is a win-win not only for the hotel who has a lower laundry bill, but also for the environment due to the water and electricity savings.

❌ No more dripping and leakages

❌ No more daily towel exchange

✔️ Lower utility bills

Paperless internal operations

Using digital communication tools eliminates the need of printed memos or meeting notes and improve collaboration and productivity during meetings. Paperless internal operations may include also switching to cloud-based file storage systems to systemically store and access contracts, important documents, reports, or policies online reducing the need for printed copies and improving data security, accessibility, and sharing.

Hotels have also seen that the use of digital housekeeping and maintenance software helps eliminate printed check-lists and improves real-time communication between departments.

❌ No printed housekeeping checklists

❌ No printed meeting memos

❌ No printed onboarding manuals

❌ No printed contracts and policies

✔️ Improved data security

✔️ Improved communication between departments

Overall, digitalisation can be a powerful tool for hotels to contribute to the environment and promote sustainable travel while improving operational efficiency, and enhance their reputation among environmentally conscious travellers.


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