One of the most exciting and sometimes intimidating aspects of the hospitality industry is how fluid it is, how it responds to what’s happening in both local and global markets and to the shifting consumer expectations that influence them. In the same way, the industry has been and will continue to be driven by innovation to meet guests where they are – balanced by ensuring stability and trust.
This coming year will be a transformative part of that journey. Here are 7 hospitality industry predictions of what next year will look like. All of them have technology implications that will help set conversations between industry leaders and innovative technology providers. So, let’s take a look.
Prediction 1: Experience Travel will deepen
People don’t just want a home away from home when they travel. They want to tell stories about themselves out of their usual context. They want to try new things by going off the curated path a bit more. After a few years of feeling restricted, travelers want to inject new life into all of their activities.
Hotel and restaurant locations in every region will have the opportunity to be staging grounds for experience travelers. Hospitality groups will be positioned to augment experiences that reflect a unique and authentic sense of place. Strategies to support that will be integral to success, and those who are best able to nurture relationships via guest profile functionality, events planning, and beyond will be ahead of the game.
Prediction 2: Investments in contactless and mobile will continue to be essential
Today’s hospitality guest is fiercely independent, seeking more control and customization. It isn’t too much of a surprise that mobile technology will continue to play a central role in how that’s delivered to them. Development of precise and intuitive ways to grant easy access to current pricing, availability, ranges of upgrade options, check-in processes, and more via multiple channels, all managed at guests’ fingertips, will be critical next year and in the coming years.
In restaurants, the self-serve kiosk will continue to be a mainstay. QR scans on websites, ads, and in-store to allow that same easy access to menus will reflect the most current pricing, daypart information, and seasonal offerings just as they’re displayed on a physical menu board. As for third-party ordering apps, predicting that those integrations will continue to be vital hardly even counts as a prediction.
Prediction 3: Hospitality groups will enhance connections with local regions and communities
With the staycation becoming more common in the last few years, hospitality groups will continue to recognize the significance of investing in local properties as community destinations. In part, this will help to draw a distinction between the hotel industry and the international travel industry, as important as that connection will also continue to be.
This will also mean that events management and planning will not only continue to be crucial to raise the profiles of hotel properties, but also restaurants, and casino locations, too. All of these can be prime settings for unique local events and experiences that will help create connections and generate value to their communities. That will help hotel properties become foundations for fruitful relationships in their immediate areas.
Prediction 4: Hospitality businesses will continue redefining their spaces for wider uses
Creating diverse offerings and being creative while doing so will continue to be what modern guests will find most engaging. Hotel groups will redefine the roles of guest rooms and function spaces beyond the traditional and continue to adapt them to a wider spectrum of uses, including private one-night dining rooms, temporary workspaces, single spaces made for one big event divided into segments for smaller ones, and more.
All of this is drawn from the lessons the industry has learned about leveraging as much value out of a property as is feasible. Creating new ways to engage markets by rethinking the use of space and turning those spaces into more diverse sets of assets will help organizations nurture a range of guest relationships. They’ll be tracked via profile management in events platforms and through hotel PMS, too. Robust revenue management platforms will measure growth and opportunity to help keep the momentum going.
Prediction 5: Streamlining the restaurant ordering process across multiple channels will be an emphasis
The restaurant group that will make strides in the next year will do so on the basis of superior guest engagement across multiple ordering channels. From mobile ordering to in-location points of access to menus like kiosks and traditional POS terminals, this focus on diversifying while also streamlining restaurant ordering processes will create greater alignment with guest expectations for greater clarity, convenience, speed, and accuracy.
This will mean a renewed focus on the essentials as enabled by well-designed and scalable integrated restaurant POS and related operations solutions. Increased user experience benefits that will come out of that will help deliver greater empowerment to guests and employees alike. This will empower them to place and customize orders easily while enhancing throughput, increasing potential check sizes, and building brand confidence as they do it.
Prediction 6: There will be a renewed commitment to training and talent development
The past few years has seen an unprecedented shake-up in the industry on the labor front. Hospitality groups will continue to rethink the way they approach the workforce. They’ll do this in part by investing in technology to help make for leaner operations and more empowered hospitality workers. But the long-term value of talented employees and the importance of retaining them will not be ignored, either.
Hospitality groups will invest in training programs and e-learning platforms to enable their workforce to get a better understanding of the inner workings of the business and the industry itself. It will actively involve their best talent in the evolution of where the industry is headed, and what it means to be successful within it. Getting employee buy-in by investing in them will mean greater retention, and a more robust talent base needed to meet a new era.
Prediction 7: Partnerships with technology providers will become even more important
In the coming year, the importance of collaborative long-term technology partnerships will only increase. As the relationship between consumer culture and digital technology deepens, striking that essential balance between stability and innovation will continue to be a central mission. No single company will be able to navigate this alone.
Luckily, so much work and investment has already gone into all areas discussed here. Technology providers are ready to work with hotels and restaurants to help them evolve their platforms to meet goals and existing and emerging challenges. It’s a question of combining strengths while doubling down on focus – for each party to concentrate on what they’re good at to get the best results for everyone. All of that makes next year one to anticipate with optimism.
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