Few industries change with as much vigor and dynamism as the hotel industry.
This makes it a challenging sector to serve – particularly if you’re an independent hotelier. But if you consider changes in the way guests book their stay and the experiences they expect upon arrival to be inconveniences, you’re missing opportunities to differentiate your business.
With the summer fast approaching, we thought it would be a great time to look at some of the most important hotel industry trends heading our way this year.
The Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal and impending GDPR legislation has placed an even tighter focus on the use of public data by businesses and public organizations. Hotels already collect significant amounts of information about guests, and with data protection being such a hot topic, it’s likely guest expectation for their data privacy will continue to rise this year.
It’s therefore vital that you get to know the new legislation (the GDPR will impact your business if you’re a U.S. hotelier), and demonstrate to guests throughout their booking journey that you respect their right to data privacy with clear requests for consent and unambiguous explanations of how you intend to use their information.
When Apple redesigned its retail stores last year, it placed an emphasis on creating virtual ‘town squares’ where members of the public could come and work, meet clients and generally hang out.
This desire for common spaces is likely to head the way of the hospitality industry too, with hotels that engender the feeling of a social club likely to attract non-resident customers who simply want to sample the facilities and have a change of scenery. While you may already allow this in your restaurant or bar, there’s clearly a burgeoning market that will help you maximize the profitability of other areas within your hotel.
Simply adding iPads, Wi-Fi access and smart TVs to your hotel rooms is no longer enough for the modern traveler.
Smart rooms are expected to be the next big thing, with elements such as lighting, temperature and the TV all made controllable via the guest’s smartphone. Voice will start to play a big role in tech-savvy rooms too, thanks to the integration of systems such as Amazon’s Alexa, which will offer guests the hands-free personal assistant experiences they’re likely already enjoying at home.
Millennial-influenced hotel design
If your hotel is overdue for a makeover, you might want to look to the millennial generation for inspiration.
As previously noted, common spaces are going to play an increasingly important role in hotel business models, and with millennials likely to show the most interest in such spaces, opting for pared-down modern decor will set your property out as the place to be.
Local experience packages
Guests increasingly want more than just a room. The word ‘experience’ is touted a lot in the hotel industry, but for good reason. With Hilton launching their Unforgettable Experience packages that include destination-specific experiences within the room rate, there’s increasing pressure on independents to adopt similar offers.
If you can partner with a local attraction or tourist hot spot and include admission within a room package, both your occupancy and average room rate is likely to rise as a result.
Are you ready?
Adopting all of the hotel industry trends we’ve covered in today’s blog is clearly going to be challenging for most independent hotels, but by taking a bite-sized approach to the opportunities on offer, you’ll start to differentiate your offering from that of the competition.
Are you ready to welcome the new generation of hotel guest?