What future hotel trends can we look forward to? That depends on the consumer’s needs and behaviours as time moves forward. As seen in 2020, cultural shifts can happen from large events that shake up our worldviews. The pandemic brought about many negative factors, but it also drove the technology to move alongside the consumer, allowing new trends to emerge more quickly, such as touchless options for check-in.
The hotel industry needs to be especially interested in consumer behaviour. Since the hotel industry hinges on guest experience, to be successful, hoteliers need to follow new consumer trends closely and move with the trends to provide the best guest experience.
Recent Changes in Consumer Behaviour That Impacted Hotels
Simply put, a change in consumer behaviour impacts a hotel in every way. Since hotels are mainly concerned with guest experience, to continue delivering an exceptional guest experience, hotels must grow with their consumer base.
So, what does this look like in practice? What behaviour changes have we seen and what impact did they have?
Hesitation Toward Travel
The pandemic brought about hesitation toward travelling to new and unknown areas. Due to consumers’ concerns with public health and varying vaccine mandates, travel nearly came to a halt not long ago. Luckily, this halt was stopped by innovative technology and creative ideas which hoteliers used to pave the way forward.
This newfound hesitation about travel has a sunny side. It prompted new interest in technological developments in the hotel industry, such as:
- Touchless check-in and/or check-out
- Revised and improved cleaning and sanitation protocols
- Optimization of mobile apps and OTA integration
- Socially distanced activities and excursions
Although most hoteliers will agree that a global pandemic was not the ideal situation, it allowed the hotel industry to open a “pandora’s box” of new and exciting ways to keep guests engaged and satisfied.
Online For Everything
Since the 1990s, the world has moved increasingly online. With the advent of smartphones and easily accessible Wi-Fi, companies soon realized consumers were looking to do business online instead of over the phone or in person. This is especially true for hotels.
Before the boom of the Internet, hotels would take reservations over the phone or even by walk-in. In 2022, the worldwide market for online hotel bookings is set to exceed 174 million. It’s estimated that well over half of all hotel bookings in 2022 are done totally online. What’s crazier is that just 20 years ago, this was impossible.
The hospitality industry saw a clear opportunity when it came to the rise of the Internet. If people want to book online, hoteliers needed to find a way to make that possible, and not only make it possible but make it smooth and seamless for both the customer and the hotel management.
That’s where technology like OTAs (Airbnb, VRBO, Expedia, etc..) meets software hoteliers can use like PMS software and channel managers. By integrating bookings from the hotel across several OTA websites, hoteliers quickly understood they could satisfy guests more easily and make a whole lot more revenue.
This is not slowing down. If anything, the need, and use of property management software is increasing. Almost all large-scale corporate hotels have employed software to meet the needs of their online consumer base. Independent and/or small hotel chains will quickly follow suit to keep up. Sometimes, meeting the consumer’s behaviour changes is only half the battle. Small hotels may be trying to keep up with large competitors at the same time. That’s even more reason to be an early adapter of time-saving property software.
Looking Forward: How Changes in Consumer Behaviour Impact Hotels
The world is rapidly evolving around us, and as such, so are our behaviours and desires. It can be hard to predict what behaviour changes will happen or why, but there are a few clear trends emerging that every hotelier should be keeping their eye on right now.
The Rise of Remote Work
Figures from the Office for National Statistics found that 13.4 million people worked from home full time in January of 2022. What started as a temporary fix until people could safely go back to the office has quickly become a pillar of work/life balance and true freedom in one’s career.
For hoteliers, this switch to remote work is actually a very good thing. People will have more freedom to travel and work at the same time, allowing more travel for the remote and hybrid employees of the nation. For example, someone could take a vacation mid-work week and easily respond to emails from the hotel room or hotel bar.
As far as keeping up with consumer behaviour, this signals that hotels should put more thought into their amenities. Most people might not want to work in their hotel room all day long. This means offering Wi-Fi throughout the property and creating co-working spaces for guests to have a quiet space to work or take calls. Ultimately, hotels that offer such amenities will capture the increasingly large population of remote workers who are looking for a place to merge business and pleasure.
Greater Digital Adoption
Coinciding with the remote work rise, hoteliers will need to adopt more robust digital applications when it comes to successfully running their hotels. In addition to guests looking for on-site amenities, like high-speed Wi-Fi or technology-enriched work bars, they also have a higher standard for convenience now that tech has saturated their everyday lives.
For example, consumers will expect to be able to book a stay at a hotel totally online without ever needing to converse with a hotel representative. If a hotel does not offer online booking, most consumers will simply pick a nearby one that does. Regardless of how unique or luxurious your property is, if the tech isn’t there, you will lose customers. It’s really that simple in today’s day and age!
Technology has shortened our capacity for slowness. Guests expect to check in right when they arrive, regardless of the time. This means hoteliers need to keep up with guests' heightened expectations by employing technology that can expedite the functions of the property, such as cloud-based PMS software and mobile applications.
The guest experience is number one when it comes to the indicators of a hotel’s success. If the guest experience isn’t up to par, or more specifically if the guest experience isn’t keeping up with guest expectations based on the developments of the time. As such, it’s extremely important that prominent professionals lean into trends in consumer behaviour as quickly as possible.
This way, they can provide the most optimal guest experience, without missing a beat (or losing out on revenue)! In an industry so fuelled by consumer actions and trends, it’s both exciting and difficult to keep up to date with news and emerging trends in data, hoteliers can master the art of impressing guests and gaining new loyal customers!