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The future of the hospitality industry is something we all contemplate three years after a global pandemic struck, changing the way we travel and the way we live. We’ve all had to adapt to this new reality, showing that resilience is without a doubt in our DNA. At the heart of this resilience is innovation and technology, which helps us better face these changes and to help us prepare for the future.
As the world slowly recovers and gets traveling again, modern hoteliers must stay on top of the trends that are shaping the future of the hospitality industry. In this article, we will take a look at what those trends are to better prepare your hotel for the future. Keep reading for more insights.
Top trends shaping the future of the hospitality industry
As businesses change their focus away from the past events, towards the future, it’s important to consider priorities. Hotels must change the way they provide services to a more flexible model, capable of adapting to the needs of an ever-changing market. They must craft experiences that meet those demands, putting a special emphasis on hygiene and safety. Let’s take a look at some of these trends.
1. Personalized attention and human hospitality
What is necessary to remember is that we are, and always will be, a people-focused industry, and we need to always keep that fact at the forefront of everything we do. When a guest arrives, he or she wants to be welcomed, and the best way of doing that is not by being greeted by a faceless screen, which doesn’t have sufficient empathy to make one feel at home. Despite prophesies issued by a certain strand of technologists, I strongly believe that kiosks and faceless terminals are not the answer.
Technology should be a tool that we can use to monitor, measure and enhance our service levels, and we shouldn’t treat it as a means of removing the personal touch and the mark of human hospitality. As economists Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAffee write in their brilliant book "Race Against the Machine," which analyzes technological progress and the effect it will have on our economies, we should think about how technology can help those areas where humans do a much better job than computers.
A robot still can't take your luggage upstairs and won't show you how to use the amenities in your room; a welcome screen won't replace a smiling receptionist who is willing to chat with you about what your hobbies are and if there is anything you need to make your brief stay more comfortable. Learn how AI is changing the hospitality industry.
2. Increased use of technology
Still, there is a lot of technology can do for our businesses, and these improvements happen on the back end to facilitate the work we do, and improve processes, so we can provide a better and more agile service. For example, we can make sure that we upload our real time availability and rates. We can check guests in online and take their credit card details before they’ve even set foot in the hotel (also making sure that the pre-authorization process is handled online, and not by the reception desk).
With tablet-based or cloud-based PMS systems, we can use the reception area for something more homely and welcoming rather than a stuffy desk. We can set rates according to clever algorithms, which do the work of a thousand revenue managers. And so much more. Along with all of this, we can be better for guests by offering more personalized services and better care, sharing key information so that customers always leave happy.
3. Smart mobile technology
I’m proud to see a bright future for the hospitality industry, enabled by smart mobile technology, and I’m proud to say that we’re a part of a number of companies trying to make these processes easier for the hotelier. The promise of this new technology has also been translated into our industry, and rightly so: we are and have been in the business of connecting people to their new surroundings.
Mobile technology like mobile check-ins provides the chance to enhance customer satisfaction by making check-ins and check-outs more efficient. This service is one of the ways to empower guests and make them participants in their hotel experience, which is key to bringing your hotel into the future.
4. Rise of sustainable and eco-friendly practices
As climate change accelerates, many conscientious travelers will prefer hotels who prioritize sustainability and eco-friendly practices. Whether it be through sustainable amenities, communicating more about what your hotel is doing to be more environmentally friendly, sustainability will without a doubt be at the forefront of buyer’s minds when it comes to choosing a hotel, and the hospitality industry must do its part to participate in this movement.
5. Increased emphasis on safety and health
Health and safety post-pandemic have moved from a “nice-to-have” to a must. Guests want to know what you are doing to protect them, whether it’s carrying out regular disinfecting of all surfaces, providing antibacterial gel dispensers throughout the hotel, or offering complimentary masks upon check-in, implementing hygiene strategies is an important part of taking your hotel into the future.
6. Digital nomads are here to stay
The pandemic taught everyone that remote work was possible, and has opened the doors to a new wave of people who travel and work at the same time. By attracting remote workers to your hotel, you are opening up to a new market segment that will continue to be more and more important as a target group for your hotel’s marketing purposes. Digital nomads are likely to consume more in the hotel, boosting ancillary revenue.
7. Bleisure continues to thrive
Bleisure travel is another important new market segment which will become more and more prominent in the future. Bleisure travelers mix leisure and business travel, extending work trips into the weekend, so they can explore the destination in their free time. This trend is expected to continue, and hoteliers must be up to the challenge to incentivize this opportunity by offering convenient and comfortable settings for both leisure and business travelers.
In this article we’ve looked at the future of the hospitality industry, including top trends like personalized attention and human hospitality, increased use of technology, smart mobile technology, the rise of sustainable and eco-friendly practices, increased emphasis on safety and health, as well as the rise of digital nomads and bleisure travel. Hoteliers can capitalize on these trends by adapting their services to meet these changing demands.
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Richard founded Mews in 2012 and has since become one of hospitality's true innovators and thought leaders.
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