With the global effects of 2020 still lingering as 2021 progresses, multiple industries continue to face unprecedented challenges. One such industry is that of hospitality, which had fortunately already embraced emerging technology trends relatively better than most. Still, where many see adversity and hardship, others see innovation and opportunity. In that context, wider digitalization may begin simply; with useful apps that enhance day-to-day operations, down at the individual level. With that in mind, let us delve into the industry’s gradual transformation and suggest 5 must-have apps for hospitality businesses.
The hospitality industry in 2021
The World Economic Forum dubs the post-COVID era as the “Great Reset”. Andrada Paraschiv, Beekeeper Head of Hospitality, prefers to consider it “The Dawn of a New Age in Hospitality”. In either case, the industry sees unique, unprecedented circumstances. Statista notes that, worldwide, over 100 million people in the travel and tourism industry lost their jobs in 2020, so that’s by no means an overstatement.
Indeed, such circumstances call for an accelerated digital transformation, not unlike earlier trends. Increased efficiency and streamlined workflows, better resource and staff management, and plain convenience now overlap with necessity. Coupled with the advent of an increasingly mobile-friendly, tech-savvy customer base, turning to apps for hospitality businesses is only natural.
Apps for hospitality businesses: from point solutions to everyday conveniences
Within the above mindset, technology offers a wide array of tools and assets. Must-have apps for hospitality businesses range from proverbial point solutions to everyday conveniences that all work toward the same goal. That is, an increasingly customer-centric approach to business that secures customer satisfaction, enhances communication and quality of service, and inspires loyalty. Within the current global state, customers’ loyalty is an imperative; customer retention is a coveted goal across all industries. Acquiring new customers is often far more costly than retaining existing ones, and that’s what many apps can help ensure.
5 must-have apps for hospitality businesses
Having discussed the general benefits apps can offer as consumer behavior changes, let us identify five impactful ones. These must-have apps for hospitality businesses all cover different needs and concerns, so their focus will differ substantially.
#1 QuickBooks Online: accounting software
As the name suggests, QuickBooks offers an app alternative to financial books. It provides a wide array of functionalities that can ensure business finances are accessible, organized, and in order.
It’s noteworthy that the app offers plans for self-employed workers and small businesses. As such, larger businesses may need to look elsewhere to ensure they meet their needs. Still, business.com ranked it the best accounting software application in 2020, so it may well be worth your time.
QuickBooks offers a plethora of features, including:
- Invoicing; create and send invoices, set recurring invoices and payment reminders
- Inventory; manage and track inventory, create orders
- Reporting; create reports among built-in options, set frequently used ones as favorites for easier access
Lastly, it offers competitive pricing, with plans ranging from $1 per month for the self-employed plan to $45 per month for the Advanced 25-user plan. Coupled with third-party integrations and a mobile-minded, intuitive interface, QuickBooks can be a valuable asset.
#2 Duolingo: a language-learning platform
Duolingo is a widely acclaimed language-learning platform, so it rightfully earns a spot in many lists of must-have apps for hospitality businesses. While it won’t substitute for a complete language course, it can offer immense help to hospitality professionals across the globe.
Among other reviewers, PCMag rated it “the best free language-learning app you can find”. Of course, both they and The New York Times stressed that “language apps simply can’t get someone to level C2”, which should always be a given. However, with 106 courses in 38 languages and 300 million registered users, it should remain valuable. Furthermore, the app is free, albeit ad-supported, with only the premium Duolingo Plus version costing $12.99 per month.
Duolingo offers a tight learning structure with orderly modules on specific topics. Completing lessons unlocks new, more advanced modules, while old material reappears for future revisions. Still, all past modules remain accessible for practice, and the app encourages doing so through graded coin icons. Finally, the app primarily focuses on translating, a boon for hospitality professionals in times of need.
#3 Typsy: a training video library platform
Staff training is an ever-present challenge for hospitality businesses, one that can strain managers’ workloads and schedules. Typsy addresses this concern by providing an online, video-based employee training platform.
As a testament to its contribution to the hospitality industry, DynamicBusiness reported that Switzerland’s Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) backed Typsy. Now, after impressive year-on-year sales growth, Typsy offers its app; a training platform for hospitality employees. The platform provides an array of educational videos, ranging in subjects from culinary to service and marketing skills. Through it, managers may direct employees to watch specific videos on mobile, and in turn, gain certificates and skill credits. This service comes for free or with a $99.99 fee/year for Typsy Premium, and it can be a tremendous asset toward enhanced, innovative staff training.
#4 Bamboo HR: an online HR system
Training aside, the hospitality industry is no stranger to HR woes. Bamboo HR tackles these concerns by providing a well-rounded HR system for onboarding, applicant tracking, appraisal, and more.
As with most HR systems, Bamboo HR comes with an array of functionalities that seek to assist HR departments. More thoroughly, these include:
- Employee database and profiles
- Applicant tracking
- Management tools for recruitment, payroll, compensation, time off, performance, and time and attendance
- Onboarding tools and a self-service portal
These features come with a relatively high per-employee, per-month price, however. For the Essentials package, it starts at $6.19, while the Advantage package starts at $8.25 per employee per month. Nonetheless, Capterra’s reviews by hospitality professionals alone should make this solution worth your consideration.
#5 Headspace: a productivity booster through meditation
Finally, the hospitality industry is prone to everyday pressure – which the ongoing COVID pandemic only exacerbates. In response, Headspace offers a handy mobile source of calm that can relieve stress and enhance productivity.
The Independent reports that Andy Puddycombe, a former Buddhist monk, launched Headspace in cooperation with Richard Pierson in 2010. Thus, given the former’s expertise, Headspace focuses on mental health and wellbeing through guided meditation, including breathing and visualization techniques. The app currently has over 45 million users, whose reviews attest to its immense psychological benefits. Finally, the app comes with an alluring $12.99 monthly fee or a discounted $69.99 annual fee after its free trial. Should you need such an asset, Headspace may be worth your and your employees’ time.
Guest post by AZ Moving Pros