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The hospitality industry has been undergoing tremendous changes over the last two decades. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, travel and tourism is currently one of the world’s fastest-growing industries. In fact, it accounts for 10.4 percent of global GDP and the creation of one in five new jobs.
In this post, we’ll share our thoughts on five emerging trends that are shaping the future of the hospitality industry.
Due to the introduction of new technology, hospitality businesses can provide guests with greater customization, convenience, and control than ever before. Technology is transforming the way customers interact with brands and the way guests interact with hotels – before and after their stay.
Chatbots, robots and other forms of artificial intelligence provide guests with on-demand information and personalized recommendations. Mobile keyless entry and IOT technology are opening doors. Smart room technology is connecting thermostats, lighting, TVs, and blinds in hotel rooms to offer ‘themes’ and improve the guest stay experience.
Of course, no list of hotel trends is complete without at least one mention of mobile technology. The last decade has been defined by the mobile device and this trend is expected to continue given the scope and flexibility it presents.
AUTHENTIC LOCAL EXPERIENCES
Another rising trend in hospitality is the desire for tourists or travelers to seek out local experiences as part of their trip planning. Many of today’s guests are looking for more authentic experiences in the location they visit.
Businesses in the hospitality industry are responding in order to cater to these demands. Hotels might partner with local adventure or tour companies to provide more ‘experiential’ guest stay packages, while other options such as Airbnb have launched their ‘Airbnb Experiences’ feature that offers activities designed and led by inspiring locals.
Across almost all industries, the need for personalization is seeing an upward trend, and the hospitality industry is no exception. This is primarily driven by the rise of big data and cloud based solutions. As a reaction to personalization elsewhere in their lives, a growing number of hotel guests expect to be treated as individuals, rather than just another anonymous customer.
Personalization within hotels can be utilized in a variety of ways. For example, return guests can be recognized and previous preferences used to improve their stay including receiving special offers based on their preferences and history.
Increasingly, guests (and consumers in general) are concerned with environmental issues and want to know that the businesses they deal with are behaving ethically. For this reason, sustainability is quickly becoming one of the most noticeable hospitality trends of recent times, with a growing number of hospitality businesses promoting their eco-friendliness.
Perfect examples of this include restaurants eliminating single-use plastics such as drinking straws and plastic utensils through to hotels that make use of smart light bulbs and smart HVAC to save energy. Mobile key and keyless guest entry is another way hotels can eliminate tons of plastic waste in landfills by retiring the plastic keycard. Hotel News Resource reports that, “eco-friendly practices” are becoming the norm in the hospitality industry. People now expect it.
HEALTH & WELLNESS
According to Hotel News Resource, the wellness tourism industry is currently estimated at $563 billion. Travelers are increasingly expecting more from their accommodation than just a comfy bed. Many vacationers seek out resorts and hotel properties that cater to wellness experiences by providing:
- World-class health spas
- State-of-the-art fitness centers
- Yoga retreats
- Private saunas
- In-room fitness equipment
- Air purification systems
- Healthy food and drink options
As these five trends reveal, the future of the hospitality industry is increasingly being shaped by global movements, industries, and guest expectations. Although each is unique and independent, all five trends point to a future that is more hyper-focused on the guest and their individual preferences and expectations. Technology will help get us there, and used appropriately will help us improve the guest experience while saving the planet at the same time.