Talking about future hospitality trends and paths to success is very much a trend in itself.
In the hotel industry, they often detail how quickly advancements are progressing and what new technology might take over, or how people are adapting the way they travel.
In reality it’s one of those situations where the more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, in the next five to 10 years much will change in hotel marketing and hotel technology, but the core values of the hospitality industry won’t.
In essence, travel industry trends tend to stay the same, it’s just the way hotels will capitalise on them that will be different.
Here are five trends happening right now that will deliver continued success for your hotel in the future…
Hotel Industry Trend #1
Enhancing the guest experience with humanisation
One thing for sure is that generic or impersonal hotel companies will struggle to survive.
Your hotel must have a personality that connects to both existing and prospective guests. It’s a vital ingredient for travellers who are looking for a unique travel experience. Obviously this personality must be conveyed via your staff and the property itself.
Every hotel room and human interaction should reflect what your brand represents. You can make many interior design and decorating statements to support your message.
This personality should also permeate your online presence. To humanise your hotel online, tell hotel branded stories, anecdotes, funny moments and most importantly, have empathy and compassion for your guests.
Hotel Industry Trend #2
Maintaining the immediacy of social media
On top of craving personalisation, travellers want things now – and they want them on-the-go.
Social media platforms will cater to these desires so you must move with them, enabling your property to be always available for customer service requests and provide instant updates.
The obsession people have with possessing the very latest information via their mobile devices may mean the days of scheduling content take a back seat to a more agile approach.
Messaging apps and chatbots using artificial intelligence, two current technology trends in hotels, will play a key role here. The more advanced your messaging system is, the more likely it is that guests will be satisfied with your service. Ensure your guest wifi is good quality so they can interact with you and feel more connected.
Facebook will likely remain at the top of its game, but with Instagram performing so strongly, among other platforms such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, and Snapchat, it’s a good idea to diversify your strategies and where you place your advertising budget.
The more platforms for you to promote content, engage customers, and build relationships – the better.
Hotel Industry Trend #3
Adapting to hotel storytelling and marketing changes
Digital media and the unhalting march of technology means the way you present your hotel business and get people interested will be different to the past.
The increasing popularity of video marketing and the rise of virtual reality (VR) will give guests a whole new opportunity to guests when researching travel and exploring the hotels they want to stay with. To this end you need quality content to host on these platforms and show off the unique selling points of your property.
Video marketing is a great way to go behind the scenes of your hotel to give guests more insight, make great advertisements for your rooms and services, and generally create exciting, varied content.
With VR guests will be able to have a virtual tour, transported through the VR headset to your reception area, dining area, kitchen, amenities, and to their rooms where they would stay. Through this technology the opportunities are endless for your hotel to showcase its features, or promote events and upcoming attractions.
It adds more pressure for you to differentiate because guests will have much more visibility on what your property is like before they arrive, but it’s worth the challenge.
In any case, it’s what travellers are starting to demand.
Hotel Industry Trend #4
Expanding guest convenience with hotel technology
More and more millennials are travelling nowadays, with 72% reporting in 2016 they had travelled more than in previous years. Even more pertinent is that it’s expected they’ll make up 50% of global travellers by 2020.
This market is extremely tech-savvy and they’re teaching other generations too. The result is that most travellers will be all for any technology that makes their life easier, meaning your hotel must respond.
Things like mobile check-in and mobile keys are close to being perfected and have the potential to really streamline and take the hassle away from both guests and staff.
Smart in-room technology is really taking off, with guests able to control everything via their smartphone including lights, temperature, TV, music, blinds, their bed, the list goes on. As we mentioned earlier, messaging services are improving meaning hotels can be in better contact with guests about room service, bookings, requests, feedback, and anything else that needs quick attention.
There are so many devices travellers now use. From desktop, to laptop, to tablet, to smartphone they can switch at will and perform different actions on each. However, your hotel can ensure one thing across all devices: make the experience user-friendly and keep your website up-to-date.
Guests need a seamless online experience and for their expectations to match reality.
Hotel Industry Trend #5
Keeping health and wellbeing top-of-mind
Travellers are certainly becoming more health-conscious, and wellness travel has seen an increase in recent years. Technology is helping people keep a closer track of their health, with many apps and devices providing daily, even minute-by-minute updates on blood pressure, sleep, calories etc.
There’s no sign this won’t continue so hotels should be doing what they can to enable those guests who are seeking wellness to stay fit of body and mind while travelling.
This might include changing your hotel menu, upgrading amenities, putting on classes, or renovating rooms to give guests the freedom of choice they want, and the ability to stick to the same routine they have at home if they choose to.
What binds all these trends together is the combination of personalisation and data. The better you know your market and eventual hotel guests, the more precise your offering can be to make each customer happy. No one wants to be put in the same basket as anyone else so if there’s one thing you should strive for, it’s a personal connection with your guests.