Recent years have been marked by a fervent pursuit of progress and an urgency to re-align with global standards — “a return to this” and “a return to that” dominating media headlines.

In 2024, “returns” are redundant — this year is a year to take the metaphysical bull by the horns and make the best of all the tools we have at our disposal. Success hinges on a deep understanding of the rules and intricacies of the game and leveraging them to win while being thoughtful about the use of technology, adapting people to multiple roles and monetizing different areas.

The hospitality landscape has returned to normal, and those who lead with curiosity will emerge as the vanguards of the hotel management industry.

The rules for 2024 are being shaped by a multitude of factors. Here are a few that will have a positive impact on the industry.

Resurgence Around Group Bookings

It has been well established that travelers seek purpose in their travels. According to Embark Beyond, a whopping 61% of Americans are seeking to travel with extended family or small friend groups this year. Similarly, MasterCard emphasizes that business travel spending is expected to surpass 2019 levels. Emerging victorious will be those hotel management companies that will be able to transform this widespread resurgence into an opportunity beyond conventional expectations.

The key lies in transforming this widespread revival into an opportunity that transcends industry standards. Rather than fixating on what has "returned" from the pre-pandemic era, forward-thinking hotel management companies should focus on anticipating the evolving future needs of travelers, using the current landscape as a baseline. Guests today expect more than traditional offerings, and a prolonged fixation on past impediments may jeopardize the necessary progress needed to meet these elevated expectations.

Associated Food & Beverage

Various types of food and beverage services, along with their diverse execution methods, are saturating the hospitality sector. From convenient grab-and-go amenities to self-pick-up and AI-driven delivery, the possibilities seem boundless. Most crucial will be a thorough evaluation of what is most efficient, cost-effective, and drives guest satisfaction levels in the long term — acknowledging the impossibility of having it all.

Customizing these services and experiences to yield optimal long-term results for specific properties and individual spaces empowers hotels to operate at their highest point, steering clear of underperformance due to an overloaded system of perceived choice.

The Future of Hospitality

The previous shift in work preferences toward fully remote and highly flexible roles steered recent high school and college graduates away from the hospitality industry. This is no longer the case, and job seekers are eager to build their careers in travel and hotel management.

The industry has successfully overcome the battle to draw professionals back, and now, leadership must focus on retaining new talent, nurturing it and keeping recent graduates enthusiastic about their long-term opportunities within the industry. The hospitality industry is a space with boundless opportunities as soon as one graduates high school, and a space where employees can advance and rise in the ranks regardless of experience level.

This requires thoughtful integration of technology to provide flexibility, action-driven diversity and inclusion, and integrating the graduating generations' unique skill sets and insight into forward-thinking outlets and long-term planning. This approach ensures sustained engagement and growth of new talent but also positions management firms to proactively lead ahead of emerging trends and predictions, ensuring a dynamic, stable and future-ready workforce.

2024 is going to be a grinder. Continued increases in insurance costs, higher adjacent business expectations and significant headwinds in operational costs will prove challenging. Seeking out new ways to do business and finding innovative solutions that focus on the future and take advantage of current trends with a positive long-term trajectory will separate the wheat from the chaff.

*This article was originally publised on Hotel News Now.