The rise of alternative accommodation sites such as Onefinestay and Airbnb have seen hotels struggle to draw travellers, who now consider hotels a rather old fashioned choice.
To woo guests back, hotels are leveraging on their strengths – using technology – rather than cutting prices to compete with new players, reported the Straits Times.
Guests at various local hotels, such as Orchard Hotel, W Singapore, Dorsett Singapore and Hotel Vagabond, can use the hotel’s mobile phones on which they can surf the internet and make free local calls.
The Pan Pacific Singapore hotel’s mobile phone features even allow guests to make free overseas calls across 15 countries.
Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel, on the other hand, launched a mobile app that enables guests to seamlessly check in and out, as well as chat with hotel staff.
To offer better value to guests, hotels have also partnered with other organisations like attractions and tour companies.
Australia’s QT Sydney hotel, for instance, teamed up with tour company My Detour Sydney last June to provide guests tailor-made tours of Sydney that bypassed usual tourist destinations.
Last year, the Four Seasons Hotel Singapore also partnered French skincare company L’Occitane to launch its first spa in Singapore, while offering guests promotional rates to the spa.
Hotels also cater to niche groups, like Muslim travellers and families.
Orchard Hotel, for example, offers halal breakfasts that are served in bento boxes, while Furama RiverFront Singapore introduced its family rooms and theme rooms in 2016.
While most hotels do not plan on slashing prices, as home rentals become even more cheaper, at least one player intends to compete using that strategy.
Adler Luxury Hostel in South Bridge Road plans to launch a no-frills, lower-priced accommodation property later this year. Guests at Adler Hostel can get a bed for $30 per night, which is over 30 percent cheaper compared to Adler Luxury Hostel.
“In this new economy, it is all about providing travellers with options at difference price points,” said the hostel’s owner, Adler Poh.
Although the fight to win guests back will be tough, Ngee Ann Polytechnic Senior Tourism Lecturer, Dr Michael Chiam, believes that hotels can win “part of the market back by providing more personalised and authentic experiences”.
“But they may not be able to win back everyone, especially those who want a high degree of interaction with the host,” he added.