A hotel room with a door tag that says "2021 A Year In Review"

A year in review – What 2021 taught us about staying connected

By now most of us have heard every possible descriptor about 2021, a rollercoaster of a year during which we learned to operate with leaner staffing, mutable budgets, and an increase in brilliant tech innovations. 

As we move forward to everything from increased business bookings to longer travel stays and more meaningful experiences for guests, we thought we’d do a quick recap of the most important lesson the hospitality industry learned in 2021: the importance of staying connected. In the year that passed we found new ways to connect with each other, with staff, and with guests in residence and when they’re back home again.

Making guests feel safer, not obsessed

If there was a single takeaway from 2021, it would be achieving the ideal balance between communicating safety protocols to guests without leaving them feeling panicked or overwhelmed. 

Hotels learned that guests now expect the highest levels of disinfection and cleanliness standards possible. What guests didn’t want though was to endlessly discuss the daily disinfection processes. Hotel staffers understood that they had to regularly update and inform guests about corona safety protocol and then allow guests to enjoy their stay in a clean and safe environment. 

Staying connected to hotel guests in 2021 meant informing them in all ways possible about your dedication to Covid cleaning protocols. It also meant remembering that at the end of the day, the hospitality industry is there to comfort, pamper and host guests, not cause them added stress. 

Keeping remote staff connected at all times

Due to disruptions in the hotel industry, the panic button mandates didn’t roll out quite as expected. On some level that’s a good thing since it allowed (and still allows) hotels in some states to spend more time researching all options

Having more time to set up a system of panic buttons also allows better and more personalized training for staff in the best use of their associate alert devices. It also allows for a better guest experience since staffers can be fully engaged with their work and the customer experience.

At Relay, we’re proud that our devices connect distanced workers and empower them through the use of a panic button and a completely connected cellular network. Contact us to find out how to empower your staff and clientele through connectivity with a device that alerts anyone to potential danger.

Creating a connection to nature

A trend many guests grumbled about on social media was being stuck indoors at home for months and then faced with an almost clinical pursuit of cleanliness in hotels. While it’s crucial to keep your entire property clean and disinfected, the challenge becomes avoiding creating what feels less like a hotel and more like a sterile or clinical experience. To combat that, many properties amped up their connection to nature within their hotels and throughout the grounds of their properties. 

Going beyond traditional floral arrangements in lobbies, many hotel groups began experimenting more with the inside/outside experience in hotels. Plants in guest rooms and even fully grown trees in lobbies echoed the themes of a more nature-based or eco-friendly commitment. These thoughtful nature-based details also allowed guests to remain connected to the outside world even as they lounged in their rooms or common areas of the building. The Banyan Tree Mayakoba hotel in Riviera Maya boasts a soaring ficus maxima in their two-story lobby. It’s a visual cue to guests that they’re somewhere unique in the world.  

Home away from home

A notable trend in the past year was the commitment to giving hotel guests touchpoints beyond typical hotel amenities. With the increase of long-stay travel and remote working, hotels became home bases for many. Sometimes creating an environment that was part home while still a hotel meant special sections available only to long-stay guests. We’ve also heard of quirky extras like a guests’ favorite food added to a private room service menu, or guest birthday celebrations becoming part of the hotel’s daily announcements. 

Staying connected after their stay

Travel plans weren’t always reliable in 2021, that’s why it was so critical for hotels and resorts to stay connected to guests beyond their reservations. That meant and still means anything from sending out birthday messages or follow up thank you notes, to small gifts on special occasions. It also allows for the opportunity to create hyper-personalization in messaging reminding hotel guests that while your hotel might have specific policies overall, each and every guest matters to you.

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