The 2022 Global Hotel Summit was packed full of interesting and insightful hospitality data and inspiration – not least in the Let’s Get Digital segment featuring our very own Matt Welle.
In just 15 minutes of talking time, Matt covered a huge range of trends and topics, and you can rewatch the whole session as live. If your time is limited, however, we’ve put together the highlights in this following article so there’s no need to feel as though you missed out. Here are some of the hospitality trends for 2022 that we think you need to look out for.
1. The need for a central system
We’ve seen a lot more inbound interest in general, but specifically revolving around Mews as a central system that connects to every other piece of vital hotel software. There’s been an acceptance in our industry that to work effectively and flexibly, cloud software is essential, and products like Mews Open API and Mews Marketplace are at the heart of this.
This change in attitude is felt keenly by our API team, who are seeing a lot more demand in verifying new connections. A hospitality cloud like Mews gives hoteliers the power to quickly connect to new integrations and test them. If you’re not pleased with the results after a couple of months, you can switch them off. It’s like downloading something onto your phone from the app store; there are no servers or training required, just a few clicks.
2. Guests want a better user journey
When’s the last time you tried to book a room at your own property? It’s a great exercise to see what your guests have to go through. Our expectations have changed massively over the last few years, and you may not even realize you’re behind the times – so book a room and see if that experience is what you want in 2022.
Other industries like airlines and retail have got us all used to seamless user journeys and instant payments. Even the older generations are embracing online check-in thanks to the effects of Covid. Our own data shows us that 33% of guests who book direct will go on to check in online.
3. Staffing shortages
For the short to medium term, learning how to operate effectively in a world with Covid (and specifically the Omicron variant) should be at the top of any hotelier’s list. A huge part of this is staffing shortages, which have met a perfect storm in combination with other issues like Brexit, salaries and industry abandonment thanks to reskilling.
Many long-term employees with years of experience have left, creating a knowledge gap that can be difficult to bridge if you’re working with complicated or legacy technology. Automation will help you here, while it’s also important to think about your own employee staff experience. Employer branding can play an important role here, something we covered more at Mews Unfold in our Five Trends in Hospitality session.
4. Digital nomads and flexible working
We’ve already written extensively about digital nomads and how to attract remote workers to your hotel, so we won’t spend too much time here talking about it. But yes, travel and working patterns and habits have changed. Many people have more freedom to work remotely, and choose to combine work and leisure in the same trip.
If you run a chain of properties, make it easy for guests to move between them. Or if you don’t have that option, consider teaming up with other local hotels or similar brands in other cities and offer guests the option to hotel hop. Providing working spaces is probably easier than you think, and it brings in a whole new revenue stream.
5. Changing demographics
The guests you welcome this year may not be the same as the ones you welcomed two years ago. Attitude changes in travel combined with fluctuating restrictions mean that many guests prefer to holiday closer to home – for instance, we’ve seen a shift towards Europeans taking more European holidays.
This should mean a slight change in strategy for your marketing. With international markets slower to recover, focus your advertising on local markets. Tools like Pace and Revinate are particularly invaluable in bringing back guests as they use algorithms based on current data to inform your strategic campaigns. Learn more about The Modern Guest.
6. Digital door locks
A big advance in hotel door locks has been on the cusp for years, but the pandemic has invigorated this area once again and it finally seems to be breaking through to the mainstream. Door lock technology has seen a huge improvement, while guests are happier – eager, even – to access their rooms without the need to carry physical keys.
7. Modern payments
When’s the last time you took money out from an ATM? Many of us don’t carry cash anymore, and digital wallet payments are growing in a big way. Yes, it can vary per market, but we’re reaching a point of critical mass. Take Germany, for instance. Traditionally they were a very cash heavy demographic, but now they’re at the forefront of digital payments.
People shouldn't have to talk about payments and cards and bills – it’s an ugly, transactional part of the guest journey. Guests are embracing digital, although there are many parts of the puzzle that need to be cleaned up, like OTAs and virtual cards that are slowing things down. You can learn much more in our guide to modern hotel payments.
One of the silver linings of the Covid situation is that it’s encouraged plenty of hoteliers to think outside the box. This is a good thing. Our industry has been slow to evolve, but now it’s clear to see that a new wave of hospitality tech is changing the way guests and hoteliers operate. Here’s to an exciting 2022.
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