The hospitality industry is competitive, and businesses need to keep up with the latest hospitality trends to avoid being left behind. Additionally, keeping pace with the industry as a whole is a great way to ensure your business delivers the kind of customer experience people want and expect. However, the needs and priorities of customers have also changed due to COVID. In this article, you will learn about both the COVID and more general related trends to be aware of.
- Why is it Important to Keep up With the Latest Hospitality Trends?
- Factors Responsible for Upcoming Hospitality Developments
- 15 General & COVID “Connected” Hospitality Trends
- What Are the Biggest Hospitality Trends Related to Marketing?
- What Are the Biggest Hospitality Trends Related to Technology?
- Learn About Hospitality Trends Through Hospitality Courses
Why is it Important to Keep up With the Latest Hospitality Trends?
The most successful hospitality companies are constantly evolving, but if you are going to achieve this, you need to continuously keep up with the very latest hospitality trends. This includes everything from marketing efforts and hospitality processes, to embracing the latest technology and responding to global events.
With marketing, keeping up with the latest trends will give you the best possible chance of reaching your target audience and conveying what you want to convey. Embracing new technology, meanwhile, can help to make a business more efficient, while in other cases it can assist in improving the overall customer experience.
On the other hand, a failure to keep up with the latest hospitality trends can have some serious negative consequences, such as providing rival companies with a clear competitive advantage over you. Worse still, it can lead to your business failing to deliver the kind of experience customers might have come to expect.
Factors Responsible for Upcoming Hospitality Developments
The term ‘trend’ describes a shift in behaviour or a more generalised change of situation. With this in mind, hospitality trends may include changes in the way customers behave, new ways of providing hospitality services, or general moves towards adopting new hospitality technology. Trends are typically influenced by a range of different factors.
For instance, the rise of technology like artificial intelligence has led to a trend where machine learning is used more regularly, and AI technology is deployed more frequently for customer service purposes. Meanwhile, the emergence of virtual reality technology has altered the way many hospitality companies promote their products.
Often, wider global events can influence hospitality trends too. A good example of this can be seen with the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced businesses across the hospitality sector to place a greater focus on hygiene, cleanliness, safety and local markets. Similarly, climate change concerns have caused companies to focus on eco-friendly solutions.
The hospitality industry is diverse and includes everything from hotels and other accommodation types, through to restaurants, bars, travel agents and tour operators. Adopting the latest hospitality trends in response to the changing behaviour of customers, due to the corona pandemic, is essential. Still, most trends are emerged out of more general changes in consumer behaviour.
Below, you can see a rundown of both general hospitality trends, along with trends that act as a reaction to the coronavirus pandemic and related changes in customer behaviour.
5 Hospitality Trends Being Accelerated by COVID
Below you find 5 hospitality trends accelerated by the pandemic. Although COVID accelerated these trends there is a good chance these trends stick around.
1. Safety & Hygiene
There are a number of hospitality trends that can be broadly described as being related to safety and hygiene and these have become especially important with the emergence of COVID, as the world adjusts to the virus and efforts to contain the spread. It is essential that these concepts are a priority for hotels, restaurants, bars and cafes.
Measures here may include the provision of hand gel, increased cleaning of areas where customers will be, implementing policies related to wearing masks or other protective equipment, and ensuring social distancing rules are respected. Any special rules need to be made clear ahead of time and need to be enforced to make people feel safe.
Moreover, your hospitality marketing efforts also need to emphasise the safety and hygiene steps you are taking. Explaining these steps could be the difference between generating bookings and having customers look elsewhere.
In the article “Hygiene is the New Marketing Message for Hotels” you find tips to highlight safety in your marketing & guest communication messages.
2. Contactless Payments
Many of the biggest hospitality trends are concerned with reducing friction and contactless payments have been one of the biggest examples of this. When contactless payments are accepted, customers save time on sorting through cash or entering their PIN. The emergence of things like Apple Pay and Google Pay also remove the need to even carry a wallet.
Aside from removing friction and improving the customer experience, the coronavirus pandemic has also increased the demand for contactless payments. Many customers and staff members feel uncomfortable handling cash and providing the option for contactless payments may be seen by many as a necessity rather than a luxury.
Video: Contactless Payments
Below you find a video that shows how contactless payments works.
Read “Contactless Payments Are Becoming More Important Within Hospitality” for more information.
3. Voice Search & Voice Control
The use of voice search is becoming increasingly common among customers searching for and booking hotels and restaurants, so you need to respond to this change in behaviour and make a clear attempt to capture these customers. This means, among other things, structuring your website content clearly, so it features properly in voice search results.
Beyond this, voice control can also be used to control devices within hotel rooms, enhancing the guest experience. For example, smart speakers can provide guests with answers to questions and can also respond to voice requests to turn on lights and devices within the room. This can also reduce the number of surfaces guests touch too.
Video: Hotel Search on Smartphone with Voice
Check out “How Can Voice Control Benefit the Hospitality Industry?” for further details.
4. Enhance F&B Delivery at Home
Many restaurants and establishments offering food have adapted to the COVID situation by increasing food and beverage deliveries, allowing customers to enjoy something akin to the restaurant experience at home. Often, this means accepting telephone and online orders, delivering quickly and offering contactless deliveries.
A key part of hospitality management in the COVID era is finding innovative new ways to impress customers. In terms of food and beverage delivery, bars are exploring ways to bring drinks to customers’ houses, while restaurants are increasingly offering extras, whether that means including candles, free food, or QR codes with Spotify playlists.
Of course, takeaways do produce more waste, so try to use suitable packaging, that can be ethically disposed of.
5. Robots in Hotel & Restaurant Settings
Automation ranks high up on the list of hospitality trends to be aware of and robotics is a good example of this being taken further. Hotels, restaurants and similar businesses can use robots to greet customers and provide customer information, while they can also play a vital role in security operations too.
Within the hotel setting, robots have been used to offer room service and perform cleaning and other housekeeping chores. Meanwhile, restaurants can potentially use robots to carry out aspects of food service. This can be especially useful when dealing with restaurant customers who are trying to reduce close contact with people as much as possible.
Video: Example Robots Helping Out in Restaurant
Take a look at “Hotel Robots: An Overview of Different Robots Used in Hotels” and “Examples of Robots Being Used in the Hospitality Industry” for further reading.
10 General Upcoming Hospitality Trends
Below you find 10 hospitality trends based on the way customers behave, new ways of providing hospitality services, or general moves towards adopting new hospitality technology.
Chatbots are another of the major hospitality trends linked with customer service and can be especially useful for delivering swift responses to questions, even when human staff are unavailable. In many cases, this can lead to first contact resolutions, but the chatbot can also gather information and pass it on to a human rep if required.
Those in the hospitality industry need to get to grips with the increased number of questions customers will have about coronavirus and restrictions within accommodation and restaurants too. Chatbots will be able to answer the most fundamental questions in this area within seconds, helping to reduce stress levels for all involved.
Read “Reasons Why Every Hotel Needs a Hotel Chatbot” to learn a whole lot more.
7. Virtual Reality Tours
Virtual reality ranks among the most exciting hospitality technology trends, providing the means for potential hotel guests or restaurant diners to experience what their surroundings will be like, all from the comfort of their own home. This can be crucial for moving these people from the planning stage to actually committing to a visit.
Virtual tours/ 360 videos can help some customers to better understand the facilities available. Offering this service also gives you a clear edge over any rivals that are not yet capitalising on this particular hospitality trend and the web-based nature of modern VR tours means they should be easily accessible on many devices, even without a VR headset.
Video: 360 Virtual Tour for Holiday Inn Express Adelaide
Video: The West Restaurant 360 VR Tour
Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hospitality Industry” if you would like to know more.
8. Mobile Check-In Service
Primarily associated with hotels and other forms of accommodation, offering a mobile check-in service is one of the most useful hospitality trends for reducing the need for human-to-human contact and this is an especially important concept within the context of the COVID pandemic and the associated efforts to contain the virus.
With that being said, even in more normal times, mobile check-ins can allow customers to benefit from self-service and will make the arrivals part of the customer experience much faster. For this to be successful, you will need to provide customers with access to an app. Include a link on your website and provide QR codes on business literature.
Video: Mobile Check-In Service for Hotels
Our “Mobile Check-In App for Hotels: What Are The Benefits?” post explores this hospitality industry trend further.
9. Local Experience
Another trend that those in the hospitality industry are getting to grips with is the desire for tourists or travellers to enjoy local experiences. Many people do not simply want to experience a life similar to their own, but in a different location. Instead, they want to experience an authentic way of life in the location they visit.
Businesses in the hospitality industry are responding to this, in order to cater to these demands. Hotels might provide local products, while other options like Airbnb and farmhouse accommodation can offer a more authentic guest experience. Moreover, travel agents and tour operators can help travellers to take part in local activities.
Video: A Local Travel Guide of Amsterdam
Video: Food Travel Vlog about Local Food in Hong Kong
10. Healthy and Organic Food & Drinks
In the past, a substantial section of the hospitality industry was made up of fast-food restaurants and bars selling sugary alcoholic drinks. However, there has been something of a cultural shift, with people becoming more aware of the things they are putting in their bodies, leading to healthy food and drinks trends.
For restaurants, this has meant re-vamping menus with healthier options, including gluten-free, dairy-free, low fat, vegetarian, vegan and organic options. However, the trend for healthy food and drinks extends to hotels, catering services and even holidays as well, with healthier room service options, as well as healthier drinks sold behind bars.
Video: Organic Holiday in Italy
Increasingly, customers are concerned with environmental issues and want to know that the businesses they deal with are behaving ethically. For this reason, sustainability has been one of the most noticeable hospitality trends of recent times, with a growing number of hospitality businesses promoting their eco-friendliness.
Examples of this range from restaurants promoting their vegetarian and vegan options, to hotels that make use of smart light bulbs and smart heating to save energy. Within the accommodation sector, there are also decisions to be made about using more sustainable materials for things like towels and bedsheets.
Video: A vision for sustainable restaurants
Across almost all industries, the need for personalisation is a major trend, and the hospitality industry is no different. This is primarily driven by the rise of big data. Meanwhile, a growing number of hotel guests want to be treated as individuals, rather than just another anonymous customer.
Personalisation can be deployed in a variety of ways. Within hotels, for instance, returning customers can be automatically provided with similar services to last time they stayed, while they can also be personally greeted by a member of staff upon arrival, using GPS technology and booking data. Furthermore, with the rise of smart devices, hotel guests can also be enabled to use their own devices and accounts on entertainment platforms.
Video: Personalised Marketing by Nicole Martin
You can read more detailed information and examples of personalisation marketing in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing Can Benefit the Hospitality Industry”.
13. Smart Hotels
In simple terms, a smart hotel is a hotel that makes use of internet-enabled devices, which are capable of sending data to one another. Smart hotel designs are tied in with the idea of the ‘Internet of Things’ and have emerged as a more popular concept since smart speakers and smart hubs became popular consumer products.
A smart hotel might, for example, allow guests to control the heating or air conditioning from their phone, or turn on the TV by giving a voice command to a smart speaker. In many cases, smart rooms also automatically adjust things like the brightness of light bulbs, or the temperature of a radiator, in order to maintain optimal conditions.
Video: Example Smart Hotel
You can read more detailed information and examples about how smart hotel rooms can benefit your hotel in the articles “Smart Hotel Room; What Are the Benefits for Hotel Owners and Guests” and “7 Ways to Transform a Hotel Room Into a Smart Room”.
14. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence plays a number of different roles within the hospitality industry, but the main one is to improve customer service. One example of this is AI-powered chatbots, which can be used for online customer interactions, removing lengthy waiting times and providing swift, intelligent responses to questions.
However, there are additional uses for artificial intelligence technology too. For instance, some hotels have introduced AI and voice-controlled customer service or tourist information hubs within their hotels. Meanwhile, AI can also be used to sort through data, automatically make adjustments to processes, and so on.
Video: Restaurant Table Booking Chatbot
Video: Example Hotel Chatbot
Find more detailed information and examples of artificial intelligence use cases in the hospitality industry in the article “How to use Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality Industry”.
15. Augmented Reality
Finally, augmented reality technology is similar to virtual reality technology in many ways, but rather than creating a new digital environment for users, it is concerned with enhancing real-world environments through graphical or informational overlays. Unlike VR technology, it also usually requires nothing other than a smartphone and an app.
Augmented reality apps can be designed so that users can point their phone at a restaurant and see reviews, or opening times. Hotels and other accommodation types can also use augmented reality to provide interactive tourist information maps within their properties, or to create fun opportunities to create user-generated content.
Video: Menu AR – menu of restaurants in augmented reality
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your business in the article “How Augmented Reality is Transforming the Hospitality Industry”.
When it comes to hospitality trends related to marketing, there are a number of general trends to be aware of. These include the increased focus on local and voice search, increased use of virtual reality tours to sell hospitality products, a greater emphasis on personalisation, and the growth of influencer marketing.
Read “Hospitality Marketing Trends: Discover The Latest General & COVID Related Trends” to explore these hospitality trends in more depth and to learn more about hospitality marketing as an overall concept.
Many of the most crucial hospitality trends to keep pace with are related to the use of technology. In particular, some of the most significant trends in this area include the ever-growing use of voice control, the rise of contactless and mobile payment methods, the use of robotics, and the continued improvement of artificial intelligence.
Hospitality leaders who fail to stay up-to-date with the latest technology trends risk giving their competitors a head start when it comes to delivering a great customer experience. To find out more about hospitality trends linked to technology, check out our “The Latest Technology Trends in the Hospitality Industry” article.
Learn About Hospitality Trends Through Hospitality Courses
One of the best ways to learn all about important hospitality trends, while also improving your own career prospects, is to take a hospitality course. These courses may be generalised or may focus on a particular area of the hospitality industry, and there are options for management, marketing and various other career paths too.
Read “Hospitality Course: An Overview of Courses & Hospitality Educators” for a much more detailed look at the options available here, along with explanations of the benefits. At the same time, you will also be able to access a list of websites for exploring hospitality courses and a list of educators who actually provide these courses.
An Overview of Channels for Finding Hospitality Jobs
It is worth noting that one of the key hospitality trends related to job seeking has been the growth of job search websites focused squarely on the hospitality industry. This includes hospitality job boards and hospitality recruitment agencies. Of course, it is also possible to find jobs by visiting employer’s websites, or through social media sites.
Read the “Hospitality Jobs: Overview of All Channels to Find Your Next Job” article for a closer look at the various channels available for job searches, alongside a list of some of the best websites to try.
It is important for those in the industry to keep up with the latest hospitality trends, so that they do not fall behind competitors. While the hospitality industry itself is diverse, the ten trends cited in this article apply to many different aspects of it and can help to improve the customer experience.