The world is moving faster than ever, as new technologies, shifting social attitudes, and economic and demographic changes all drive seismic shifts in the ways we live, work and do business. Nowhere is this more evident than in hotel industry trends. With new approaches, new consumer requirements and new hotel technology, the industry is changing fast — and your business needs to change with it.
9 Hotel Industry Trends to look out for
Some hotel industry trends may come and go, while others become permanent fixtures. It’s vital to stay on top of industry trends in order to reap the benefits of early adoption. Here are nine hotel industry trends that are set to become increasingly relevant in the immediate future.
1. Smart Hotels
Smart hotels are hotels that incorporate the Internet of Things (IoT) into their operation, using smart devices and systems to streamline the day-to-day running of the hotel, make things more efficient and improve guests’ experience. A smart hotel might use internet-enabled HVAC systems to fine-tune the temperature and ventilation in each room for maximum comfort and minimum energy waste. Smart hotels may also allow guests to use technology such as phone apps or voice control to operate heating and cooling, lighting and entertainment systems more easily. As more and more people make use of smart technology in their homes, smart hotel rooms are likely to see higher demand.
Video: 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”.
Sustainability has become one of the more popular hotel management trends in recent years, as today’s environmentally conscious customers demand choices that are in line with their personal ethics. At the minimum, modern consumers often require that their hotel be as energy efficient as possible. Increasingly, however, consumers are searching for hotels where eco-friendly planning is a core feature. From ecologically friendly construction materials to passive heating or cooling and renewable energy sources, the eco-hotel trend looks set to be with us for a long time. Fortunately, this trend is good for hotels too — eco-friendly initiatives often mean lower running costs in the long term.
Video: 10 Eco Sustainability Hotels
Customers don’t like to feel that they’re just another anonymous statistic on a hotel’s balance sheet. Greater personalisation in a hotel’s marketing makes consumers feel valued. It’s also more effective, targeting individuals with the precise offers that are likely to be most interesting. Personalised marketing can be directed towards specific users — for example, a guest who had previously spent their summer break at a hotel can be contacted the following year to suggest they book another stay — or it can be aimed at consumers who fit a certain profile and meet a particular set of conditions.
Video: Personalisation by Nicole Martin
You can read more detailed information and examples about personalisation in the article “5 Ways Personalisation Marketing Can Benefit the Hospitality Industry”.
More and more hotels are incorporating robots in some capacity or another. These range from Conny (the robot concierge “employed” by the Hilton chain) to other types of automation, such as mobile robot servers and robot-staffed check-in desks. A particularly notable example is Japan’s Henn-na hotel, which features a front desk staffed by colourful robot characters such as an animatronic dinosaur. As well as offering a quirky talking point, automation can help improve the smooth running of a hotel by taking some of the pressure off human staff. Robots can transport luggage or provide information for guests.
Video: Alibaba’s ‘Future Hotel’ Uses Robots
Find more detailed information and examples about robot use cases in the hotel industry in the article “8 Examples of Robots Being Used in the Hotel Industry”.
5. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence is one of the most important hotel industry trends right now, transforming the sector in subtle but important ways. More and more businesses are using AI to handle some of their customer service, with simple but powerful chatbots providing support, fielding queries and even taking care of the entire booking process. Combined with machine learning, these bots can be very effective in improving customer experience. Other applications of AI include data analysis, making sense of information about customers and formulating marketing strategies. AI can deal effectively with large amounts of data that would overwhelm human analysts.
Video: The Impact of AI on improving hotel booking rates
Find more detailed information and examples about artificial intelligence use cases in the hotel industry in the article “How to use Artificial Intelligence in the Hotel Industry”.
6. Bleisure Travel by Millennials
The under-40s tend to be a fairly frugal demographic with a work hard, play hard approach to life. These traits have driven one of the most talked-about hotel industry trends to date: so-called bleisure (business/leisure) travel. Combining business and work with leisure travel, bleisure travel represents the best of both worlds. Whether they’re extending a work trip to take advantage of the possibilities offered by a destination or just squeezing in a little sightseeing before or after work, Millennials are finding savvy ways to explore the world without taking time off work. Online work makes bleisure travel even more popular.
Video: The State of Business Travel — Bleisure Benefits
7. Virtual Reality
Once a niche technology, virtual reality is becoming an established part of everyday life. VR as entertainment is increasingly popular, with theme parks and amusement arcades offering VR games and experiences for visitors to enjoy. VR can also be very useful for customers who want to explore their destination before they commit to a trip. VR hotel tours can be a very powerful hotel marketing tool, giving customers a chance to “walk around” your hotel and experience some of its features before they visit. Because they’re so effective, VR hotel tours have become an important hotel industry trend.
Example: Atlantis Dubai Virtual Hotel Tour
Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your hotel in the article “How Virtual Reality (VR) can Enrich the Hotel Industry”.
8. Healthy Food & Drinks
Modern travellers are increasingly health-conscious. A trip for work or leisure is no longer treated as an excuse to ditch healthy eating habits. Instead, today’s consumers are looking to hotels to provide healthy food and drink options. This is often combined with another of the top hotel industry trends today: local cuisine. Locally sourced produce is very popular with consumers today, as are regional recipes; this can often make for culinary experiences that are both healthy and very enjoyable for your guests. A healthy drinks menu should include sophisticated non-alcoholic options, as these are increasingly in demand.
Video: Organic Holiday in Italy
9. Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is a close cousin to virtual reality. Where virtual reality replaces the real world with audio and visual input to create an immersive experience, augmented reality simply adds virtual elements to the real world. This could mean, for example, a smartphone app that displays listings, opening times and other information over the business or attraction that a visitor is looking at. Hotels can use AR to provide interactive maps and information about services such as spas, gyms, restaurants etc. Hotels are also using AR games to make their guests’ visits more enjoyable and memorable.
Video: Example Augmented Reality Within the Hotel Industry
Find more detailed information and examples about how augmented reality can benefit your hotel in the article “How Augmented Reality is Transforming the Hotel Industry”.
Some hotel industry trends can seem baffling or intimidating at first. In many cases, though, they’re actually very accessible and can be implemented without major changes in the way your business operates. Adopting the latest hotel industry trends is the best way to ensure that your hotel remains competitive in a changing world.