What do the hospitality industry’s thought leaders and experts see coming down the line this year? Here’s a look at some of the biggest hotel trends tipped to take shape in 2018.
Home-Sharing continues to reshape the hospitality Industry
More travelers will continue to look for alternative accommodations in 2018 and more vacation rentals will be available on more hotel distribution channels. Websites that were created for vacation rentals will start to show traditional accommodations and website created for traditional accommodations will start to show vacation rentals. As the idea of vacation rentals becomes more mainstream, we expect more consumers to flock to the idea of alternative accommodations. Just like hotels and other traditional properties, vacation rentals come in all shapes, sizes, and price points.
Millennials make the decisions now
55% of millennials say they extend business trips into a little extra leisure time. The relationship between leisure and business travel has never been closer. Today, meeting and event professionals are getting wise and expanding the ways they engage with millennial attendees at professional events. They’re doubling down on more smaller meetings, planned and executed with shorter turnaround times which make it possible to take advantage of a destination’s cultural offerings. At the same time, millennials love the Airbnb experience, even during business travel and when they travel alone they are more interested in some kind of public, shared space and relevant guest experiences.
Customer experience is key
Your property has more to offer than a bed. Tell people about it. Sell them the story – an experience, the character, what makes it unique, people who serve. These stories will get you the bookings. Travellers today look for native experiences when they travel. From exploring the local culture to ticking off the bucket list. They want to experience everything, but in a different way. It is important for properties to partner with local vendors and travel companies to meet their needs. Think of out-of-the-box ideas to entice your guests and keep them engaged.
Mobile is everywhere
Customers can do practically anything on their phone, from checking in – to ordering room service – to unlocking their room door itself. In fact, one can plan an entire trip without ever talking to a live human. Hotels are feeling the pressure to provide the ultimate customer journey on mobile devices, making hotel websites and booking pages optimized for mobile. The use of mobile technology extends beyond efficient acquisition of guests to delivering an excellent customer experience.
Chatbots and conversational marketing on hotel websites
Chatbots represent a way for hotel operators to easily interact with audiences in conversational ways that don’t involve real people. Instead, the bots are set up to respond to commonly asked questions and to interact with audiences as if controlled by real people. Facebook is leading the way with its Messenger in this area, but Google and Amazon are not far behind.
Internet of Things is coming into the rooms
Many properties want to offer a tech-forward experience to their guests, beyond in-room iPads and Wi-Fi access. We’ll see more Internet-of-Things-inspired hotels rooms in 2018, with guests unlocking their rooms, adjusting the lighting and temperature, and streaming their Netflix favorites on the TV with their smartphones.
Customer data helps you make the right decisions
Travelers leave digital footprints at every touchpoint, right from their first visit to the hotel website to the post-stay survey. Taking control of your data is the first step to creating better strategies for everything from staffing to rate management. In today’s world where nearly everything happens online, it’s essential to take a look at the data that matters most to your business. Big data is great when you can use it to take action. However, the biggest concern around big data and the necessary data harboring is the safety around it. Because you’re at the mercy of these data companies and the malicious hackers, it’s important to be careful who you trust with your property’s most precious data.
Blockchain technology becomes more prevalent in day-to-day life
It’s hard to ignore the hype around Bitcoin. If Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies become more prevalent in day-to-day life, it might be time to start looking for a payment processor that accepts bitcoin or other new-age currency types.