Hospitality Industry in 2023: Responding to new trends — Photo by IDS NEXT

The practice of Stay home and stay safe is constantly being replaced by revenge travel and socialising. The new sense of freedom is encouraging a majority of people to step out and get the best of what they couldn't enjoy during the global pandemic. This passion for socialising is also fuelling new consumer expectations where guests seek convenience and sophistication from their favourite brands.

In fact, a McKinsey study revealed that around 75% of consumers tried a new shopping behaviour in the early years of the pandemic, and more than 80% of those intend to continue with the new behaviours. An experience-centric industry like hospitality needs to adapt fast, which means innovation is coming.

While the hospitality industry has embraced countless strategies over the last two years, let's look at the predicted top 7 trends gaining momentum globally and how the industry can respond to these changes effectively.

1. Customised accommodation for more RevPAR

Modern consumers are independent and prefer better control over what they purchase or experience. This is where Attribute-Based Selling (ABS) comes into play, offering guests the power to pick and mix the amenities they require over the standard room facilities. ABS lets the traveller define the nature of their facilities and the level of luxury they enjoy.

A Skift article states that 85% of travellers consider standard hotel rooms with pre-set amenities uncertain. In contrast, ABS allows guest to pick their own attributes when booking a hotel room and experience the stay they envisioned. Does the guest prefer a room with a city view? Perhaps, combined with a walk-in shower instead of a bathtub? Instead of the pre-set amenities, which the guest may not even use, ABS enables guests to enjoy facilities that they require for their vacation, with the option to pay for only what you use.

ABS can also benefit hoteliers through up-selling of rooms based on the demand for specific amenities, which in return, provides more revenue for room (RevPAR). Businesses can even prepare customised packages for guests based on previous purchases and entice them into repeat purchases.

2. Mixing business and leisure

Contemporary travel is a mix of business and leisure. Statista reveals 41% of respondents are planning to combine their business trips with leisure activities in 2023. Hospitality venues are facing the pressure to step up their game with blended accommodations that meet the needs of these bleisure travellers. It's time for hotels to upgrade and restructure their designs for wider usage than accommodating just leisure and rest.

In-room blended amenities can include on-demand equipment and furniture to accommodate the needs of business-work environments. Non-room spaces can include amenities beyond standard facilities, like charging docks, meeting spaces, temporary workstations and more.

Bleisure travellers have their own set of needs; a mix of finding the time to let go while meeting their professional responsibilities. Accommodating these blended needs will enable hoteliers to cater to a wider market and tap into ancillary revenue streams.

3. Smart front desk with mobile and contactless technology

Technology continues to revolutionise the world of hospitality. The pandemic led to a spike in mobile and contactless solutions by 66%, according to a report by Accenture, and these self-evolving technologies will only continue to rise in the post-pandemic digital revolution. Enterprise cloud solutions are now providing total contactless guest journeys from the time of check-in to check-out. Options like QR code scanning, self-check-in options, booking software and EPOS systems are providing solutions to the constant demands of the industry.

Contactless technologies accelerate the check-in and check-out process, personalise room services and enable digital access control in room doors via mobile apps, enabling guest journeys and making them sanitary, safe and effortless for the guests.

Implementing contactless and mobile technologies will ease operations with tech-powered workflows and give a competitive advantage, especially with todays challenges of labour shortages and increased costs.

4. Better guest experience with Artificial Intelligence

Joining in with mobile and contactless tech is artificial intelligence. AI is already making a change with solutions like ChatBots deployed by Marriott International's Aloft Hotels. The future of AI promises something bigger; think of AI-powered analytics that track, monitor, and predict future customer behaviour or even robot receptionists who can take over routine tasks.

Between chatbots that enable guests to request early morning wake-up calls and analytics tools that simplify the management of big data sets, hospitality is headed towards a sophisticated and smart future. Satisfying guests, tracking buyer behaviour and forecasting trends will keep the industry agile and ready for unprecedented changes.

These Innovative technologies will require the need for skilled workforce. A new thought for new investments for training employees to navigate the digital revolution better will be a must.

5. The death of PMS

PMS systems in the hospitality industry are witnessing the end of their era as more hotels move to operations platforms and cloud platforms. Full-stack centralised and integrated solutions, which include a suite of tools for check-in, check-out, cash settlement, contactless operations, housekeeping, point-of-sale and guest management, are today's requirements in hospitality. Cloud and mobile-first solutions also make it easier to use full-stack operational modules.

More sophisticated solutions are centralising all operations on a single platform, encouraging collaboration between multiple venues and departments, thus eliminating the usage of standalone systems.

Technology solution providers in the hospitality industry are now focused on Open API and all-in-one solutions that effortlessly work in unison.

6. Green is a responsibility.

Modern consumers do not settle for greenwashing. Hoteliers have no choice but to satisfy contemporary guests who are sensitive to social responsibility and committed to sustainability. The CCS Insights Predictions report on sustainability predicts that by 2025, a new green certification will be displayed by websites using low-energy design and code, indicating to guests what brands genuinely commit to their sustainability goals.

Eco-conscious efforts have also become cost-effective for big and small hotels alike. Digitised cloud-based solutions to reduce wastage are already preferred over traditional ones. Utilising technology already on hand, hotels can use mobile devices that track carbon footprints to align their processes with sustainable development goals.

According to Abhijit Sunil, a Senior Analyst at Forrester Research, environmental sustainability is forecasted to be a strategic imperative for businesses in 2023. Being a part of this green revolution is not a marketing trick anymore, but a responsibility for hotels.

7. Ethical labour

According to Hospitality Insights, 94% of hotels were understaffed, and 47% were severely understaffed in 2022. Contemporary hospitality employers are forced to reimagine staff management strategies as many workers have resigned during the last few years due to employee burnout and underpaid labour.

Ethical labour will be a focal address in 2023. Technologies like automation can free workers and let them focus on tasks that require human intelligence. A great example is housekeeping modules connected to cloud platforms that help workers stay connected to their task lists, avoiding missed responsibilities or overwork.

Most hoteliers are now focusing on new year goals, which focus on improving staff safety and welfare. This has led to most hotels on the lookout for safety solutions like panic buttons and other employee safety devices (ESDs) to help them alert relevant authorities if they are faced with difficult situations.

Looking at the highlights, 2023 appears to be an exciting year with possibilities for the industry; many new trends await to be implemented to ensure greater guest satisfaction levels. Hoteliers are left with numerous options for service enhancement and seamless guest journeys. However, a strategic approach is vital in implementing the right trend at the right time in the right place to maximise the benefits each innovation offers. As a customer-centric industry that always requires human touch in each of its services, an erroneous approach can leave an unhappy guest and a bad reputation on the entire hotel ranking system.

Planning for the right equilibrium in modern hospitality services will help businesses envision the right path for them in the upcoming year. Incorporating both innovation and traditional methodologies will maintain a familiar feel that ensures personalisation, adoptive accommodation, just the right amount of technology, green revolution and empowered labour and will enable hoteliers to provide the ultimate guest experience. As new trends continue to flourish and meet guest demands, hoteliers will continue to innovate the sector with bigger and better solutions to satisfy the continuous market fluctuations. 

About IDS Next

Founded in 1987, IDS Next became India's largest hotel software company in its first decade of operations and Asia's largest in 2009.

Today, IDS Next is the leading provider of smart hotel software across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Africa, and Oceania, serving over 6,000 customers in 45 countries with $10 million in daily transactions and 300,000 daily check-ins.

With the goal to redefine the way hotels operate through smart software solutions, IDS Next has been a trusted technology partner and preferred supplier to the international hospitality industry.

From contactless check-in, front desk, guest request and housekeeping management to payroll, finance, inventory management and procurement, IDS Next's award-winning software automates and streamlines front and back-office hotel operations, making sure all departments are covered.

With an open API approach, IDS Next integrates with over 100 of the world's leading, best-in-breed technology partners to ensure hotel operations run smoothly and securely to complement a hotel's existing systems and solutions.

Available in single modules and as an all-in-one solution, IDS Next's smart hotel software is designed by hoteliers for hoteliers through the company's in-house development team comprising 135 hospitality technology professionals and supported 24/7 by 90 customer services agents in 30 languages.

With all software PA DSS certified, front-of-house solutions GDPR compliant, and the business ISO 27001 certified, IDS Next's smart software solutions are accredited, certified, and compliant with the industry's most stringent standards for data protection and security.

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