Hoteliers who have an eye to the future should take note of the following trends. Some of these trends are still emerging but will be fully influential in three to five years. The common thread among these is connectivity—whether the digital kind or interdependence with one’s surroundings, the industry is starting to realize the impact of peoples’ lifestyles on each others’ lives. Read on to learn more things that have greatly affected the hospitality industry in the past few years.
Technology plays a big part in the visitors’ experiences
Perhaps the most impactful trend on current consumer experience, digital will continue to permeate all aspects of the hospitality industry. Oracle’s nearly 200-strong hotelier panel reports having ‘fully embraced mobile,’ focusing on two axes: organizational readiness and experience delivery.
Internally, management in various top chains has adopted digital platforms to communicate with employees via mobile apps. These companies also strive to make their brands accessible, by revamping their digital media strategies. The adoption of augmented reality, chatbots, and artificial intelligence in their operations help companies interact richly with customers in real-time.
International travel continues to be the biggest draw
Today, with the rise of the travelling middle class and ‘bleisure,’ or business-leisure trips, more people are seeking international destinations. The most significant growth is from the Asia-Pacific region.
Even so, today’s consumer seeks personalization. Cognizant says that luxury brands have led the way in ‘experience orchestration,’ or tailoring individual guests’ experiences. Four Seasons, for instance, hosts behind-the-scenes tours and tastings at local distilleries. Wyndham offers loyalty members immersive cultural trips like street food tours and desert safaris.
Sustainability makes its mark
The average guest today is aware of how their own spending impacts the environment. Knowing this, hoteliers are now incorporating sustainable ways of running their businesses.
For instance, Cognizant reports, IHG distributed water-conservation kits to its branded hotels in California, to combat the water drought in the state. This reduced water consumption by 5 per cent in the state from 2014 to 2015. Marriott, on the other hand, has a global sustainability council and has decreased its energy consumption across chains by 13.2 per cent and water consumption by 10.4 per cent in the past decade.
In the coming years, more brands will lean on their companies’ stories because they remain the most effective way to connect with people. Hotels recognize that visitors stay with them because of the emotions they associate with the brand and have taken steps to align their online characters. With the rise of vacation rentals and home-sharing, the hospitality industry has to work on making immersive experiences that deliver the same personalised stay. Traditional hotels have embraced reliability and curation. These trends are definitely worth watching and will inform hotel experiences for years to come.
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