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Hotels business to go contactless post pandemic

While the hospitality industry awaits the full easing of the lockdown, many hoteliers are beginning to be creative on how the business would go after coronavirus is curtailed.

Many are forecasting that the business would move from its physical position to space. This implies that going forward, many hotels will go digital in order to stay in business.

Some industry experts are saying that the new normal in the hotel business is contactless service, and hospitality outfits that cannot adjust to the new normal will close shop.

Speaking recently at the BusinessDay Digital Dialogue series, Adedotun Itebogun, divisional head, retail business, Wema Bank, noted that the hospitality industry is among the worse hit by the impact of the lockdown. But while hoteliers are eager to open their doors to the public, potential guests are thinking differently.

The banker maintained that instead of the usual star rating and quality of the facilities, health and safety would be the new criteria for lodging in a hotel.

Ken Esere, a business executive, noted that would-be guests are now giving priority to health and safety because they would be sharing facilities in the hotel with other guests, who may have come in contact with someone who is positive to coronavirus without knowing it.

The new normal is the business, according to him, is going digital in most services and offerings.

“No matter how you isolate yourself, there is no way a guest will stay without having contact with other guests. If you avoid other guests, what about the waiters who have contact with other guests”, Esere said.
The need to ensure social distancing has also impacted the business. However, technology companies are coming up with solutions and contactless initiatives that will enable hotels to stay afloat in the face of the pandemic.

Horeca Cloud, a hospitality solution & software company, is offering home-based solution to hotels and restaurants in Nigeria.

With its hotel management software, hotel owners can manage their hotel remotely from the cloud and while hotel managers have two-tiered access to Cloud and On – Premise combined.

Explaining the product offerings, Ijeoma Ugamah, co-founder of Horeca Cloud, said the outfit is offering hotels two solutions; My Guest and My Menu because the disruption caused by coronavirus is huge and requires new approach to remain in business.

Speaking further on how the software works, Ugama said, “When hotels signup, they get customized dashboard and from the dashboard their guest can perform many activities including; mobile check-in and check-out, request room service (without touching the physical menu), request laundry pickup and housekeeping cleaning, on-time real-time live notifications and it sends guest welcome and departure emails with a link to review their stay”.

On the other hand, My Menu is a contactless menu ordering solution for restaurants. My Menu restaurants can list their menu online and link up with a delivery partner.

Moreover, with My Menu solution, restaurant owners can create their menu online and manage in–dinning reservations, which allows guests to book reservations and allows the owner to plan properly to ensure the restaurant is not filled thus sticking to the social distancing rules.

The solution also offers guest discounts and signup customers in their point-based loyalty scheme.

There also many apps out there that proactive hotels can acquire to fashion their services in line with the new normal.

Monica Abana, a hotelier, who has engaged a technology company to create a contactless app for her hotel, noted that hotel business would not be the same again as the new normal has come to stay.

“What I see now is the use of technology in our business. We have to learn, acquire the skills and migrate to the digital space in order to remain in business’, she said.

As well, Esere disclosed that the era of high returns on hotel investment is gone as contactless business has limitations, specifically avoiding huge number of guests at a time, and impacting revenue flow.

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