There were many changes for the hotel industry in 2016, from technological advances to millennials growing influence. So what hospitality trends can hoteliers expect in 2017?
Choice Hotels’ online survey shows some interesting travel trends for 2017. In terms of domestic destinations, it showed people are willing to spend more to explore new places. Also, regardless of destination, most would splurge on food and beverages while 30% of budgets would be spent on accommodations. With these results in hand, hoteliers have a lot of considerations to get a piece of the action. Below are the top 5 hospitality trends we think you should look for in 2017.
Texting and Chat a Mainstay in Customer Service
Guests seek out real time customer service and crave the human touch. Whether it’s planning a wedding, business function or an ideal hotel stay, they want prompt service and clear information to make choices. Working with a person, not a machine with robotic responses makes the guest feel welcome and cared for. Also, people want on-the-spot service when they need those towels or want to know what eateries are in the area. Texting hotel staff helps them get what they need during their stay and live chat gets them what they need to make the ideal stay or party arrangement. Both present opportunities for hoteliers to efficiently and effectively reach out to their guests.
Technology and Need for Information Security
Artificial intelligence (AI) is no longer just something seen in a sci-fi thriller. From maid service to concierge duties, hotels have expanded their use of AI for efficiency and service not to mention lowering labor costs. But with new technology comes the need for increased security. Hoteliers will have to factor in account security to protect data and guard against identity fraud.
Mobile Usage Continued Increase
Most searches are conducted on mobile and, according to eMarketer travel research, 51.8% will use mobile devices for their travel bookings and it’s expected to rise to 86.4% by 2019. Using a smart phone for bookings, check-ins and room service have begun to take over the traditional methods but hoteliers can expect it to become the norm.
Mobile Friendly Websites a Necessity
With the onset of Google’s mobile-first indexing, mobile friendly sites will become a necessity. With more searches happening via mobile, search terms will become more local so meta data will need to be tailored to include location. Speedy search results will also need to become a priority for hotel marketers in order to reap the benefits.
Millennials Leading Way to Future
Millennials are looking for unique guest experiences and are not driven by the same travel needs in days of yore. No packaged deals for this crowd! It’s all about living the entire experience from the time they begin their destination search to foodie experiences and throughout their hotel stay. So hoteliers will need to find ways to create shareable and unique experiences to appease the millennial appetite.
Cultural shifts, changing market trends and guest behavior will demand new strategies so as not lose out on any opportunities for optimizing revenues. Are you ready for 2017?