The trends shaping hospitality in 2018 and onwards
A significant portion of consumers in the travel market belong to the generation of millennials. These people, born between years 1980 and 2000, differ drastically from the earlier generations in their consumer behaviour and their proportion of the market is rising fast. These travellers are born into a digital world, and see technology not as a luxury, but as a given.
So, what do consumers want in the coming years?
Curiously, this globalized, digital generation does not seem to think global when travelling. They desire authentic, local experiences such as traditional events and places untouched by large corporations and chains. However, they still hold personalized and smooth experiences to high regard.
Hotel guests have increasingly voiced their demand for better communication with hotel staff. Minor things, such as special linens or a dinner in hotel room, should be communicable with ease. No guest wants to go to the front desk for an issue that should be handled by a simple instant message.
AccorHotels, Trivago and more have named several more trends to keep an eye on:
- Smoother mobile payments
Although mobile payment has become more prevalent in recent years, it still is not as good as it should be. Many hotels have trouble integrating new payment systems into their existing ones. Consumers, particularly the younger ones, are not satisfied with cumbersome payment systems. Solving this problem will surely bring more satisfaction to hotels' guests, increasing the value mutually. As mobile payment systems become more sophisticated and easier to integrate, the costs of payment processing should also decrease considerably. One of Hotelway's goals is to provide an all-around smoother experience and better mobile payments is surely one of them.
- Booking more than just a hotel room
Airbnb realized a crucial thing about the hospitality industry. It is not just about a room. It is all about the experience. As such, more and more hotels are offering tours, activities and much more. We at Hotelway want to provide a full experience, ranging from the smooth hotel stay to providing city information, special offers for local restaurants, events and more.
- Sustainable travel
As the global population is becoming increasingly environment-focused, the problem of 'overtourism' has raised its head. In Europe for example, particularly large and popular destinations such as Amsterdam and Barcelona have been affected by strains on local infrastructure, rising rent prices and general overcrowding. Many sustainability-conscious travellers have taken a stance against this by choosing to travel to more suitable locations and being generally more mindful of their impact on local communities while travelling. A hotel might find a competitive advantage in this by emphasizing their beneficial - or at least non-damaging - practices for the community.
Emerging technologies have already had a disruptive effect on the industry
How will new technologies, such as virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence shape the future of the industry?
We are not talking about just the future, this is already happening. Chatbots that incorporate AI technology have already taken their first steps. Without a doubt, all hotel and service booking will be handled by AI soon. It is as simple as sending a message to a chatbot, telling it your personal requirements and preferences and the rest is automatic. This makes every customer experience highly personalized. An AI can book your room, order your meal and buy tickets to an event, all with a few clicks of a button.
VR is also quite interesting in this context. With VR you can for example get a real-life look into a hotel room while booking it or take a virtual tour around the neighbourhood if unsure about the location. This gives marketers additional tools to help get services to people and engage them more in the process.
How can hoteliers react to these profound, inevitable changes? What gives an edge?
At Hotelway we see these changes as an amazing opportunity to incorporate high tech into the growing demand for authentic experiences. Our technology makes the frustrating parts of travel, such as check-ins and checkouts, easier. Easier communication is also important to us, which is why we have instant messaging with staff included in our service.
We want to ensure that guests can thoroughly enjoy the things that matter. The key to success in this market is to digitalize, personalize and localize. Make hotel stays smooth - and local experiences accessible, meaningful and memorable.