A shift in behavior or a more extensive alteration in the environment is called a trend. In this sense, trends in the hospitality sector could refer to modifications in consumer behavior, fresh approaches to providing services or broad tendencies toward the adoption of new technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence, IoT, etc.
As the hospitality industry in general has faced major drawbacks since the pandemic, many of its traditional establishments are being revised and restructured. Even before the pandemic, the hospitality industry was experiencing a decentralization of accommodations - there are popular apps and websites like Airbnb, various multiple service providers like Booking and Hostelworld and since cheap travel is becoming more and more popular, Couchsurfing is still a popular practice for some. Many of today's tourists and travelers are Millenials or Generations X and Z, and they are a force that cannot be ignored.
They want things done their way, and hospitality providers are doing their best to please them. The display of privilege and extreme wealth, overt materialism in general are sometimes off-putting factors for young people who are sensitive to social and environmental issues. The urge to make a positive difference has led to the rise in the popularity of new, personalized travel experiences. This is where the whole story around sustainability, wellness, personalization and other types of specialized tourism comes into play.
As consumer guilt about travel increases, there is a great opportunity for travel and hotel brands to rethink their offerings. One of the trends that will define the travel and hospitality industry in 2022 and beyond is the new “luxury“ consumer, who demands a move away from wasteful extras like sewing kits, slippers and brochures, among other things.
One of the biggest actualities in the hospitality sector is a general drive towards more sustainable and eco-friendly travel options. As younger generations are aspiring to achieve some impact, they are turning to solutions that are enabling better water conservation and more ecological waste management, solar energy implementation, hospitality vendors who apply no plastic policy, different vegan food options and a whole wide array of different interconnected sensors.
That's why the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes intertangled with global hospitality sociological trends. Eco-friendly switches, ethical and organic bedding, better controlled energy consumption using smart bulbs and smart heating – the possibilities are limitless if you want to dive in.
2. Wellness / Wellbeing
Another actual trend is closely connected with sustainability – it's Wellness or Wellbeing tourism. In light of recent happenings, people are searching for travel options that empower them to take better care of their health or their habits.
Because guests don't want to give up their workout routine while traveling, hotels are investing in fitness programs that their guests already know and practice and lending them their favorite fitness equipment based on past experiences and data collected. In addition, hotels might consider offering meditation, yoga and pilates classes, as well as other similar activities. New technology advancements and appliances allow guests to explore hotel offerings before they even arrive. This is implemented through Virtual Reality (VR) systems that can help customers decide whether hospitality vendor offering suits their personal needs regarding any aspect of their lifestyle.
To remain competitive, forward-thinking hotel and hospitality businesses are moving beyond the traditional model of simply offering an "overnight stay" with the usual ancillary services such as breakfast, etc. These traditional elements will continue, but accommodated within a broader focus on the overall guest experience.
Apart from their health and overall well-being on the vacation, people are searching for different experiences. They want something authentic, localized, or tailored to their specific needs and wishes.
Here, experiential travel as a buzzword enters the equation. It's a sort of immersive travel experience such as yoga retreats, surf camps and animal encounters that often offer unique activities and accommodations. Today, there are several specialized forms of tourism – art tourism, war tourism, cannabis tourism, culinary tourism, coffee tourism, sports tourism... There are also theme park hotels for people with small children. Pet tourism is also becoming more popular as more and more people travel with their (mostly) fluffy companions.
Big Data is a big technological thing nowadays, and hospitality vendors can benefit a lot from it if they use it in the right way. One of the trends considered to be a standard is a broad personalization effort of the hospitality industry.
Nowadays, the only standard is personalization, as is the fact that travelers from different markets will behave differently and won't inhibit the same preferences.
Personalized offers for all visitors, knowing the habits of your guests and better adjustment to their needs is something that allows you to stay relevant after you've successfully and clearly identified who your guest persona is and what trends and desires apply to them. And not only that: user-friendly software and mobile apps are making everything much easier.
A deeper understanding of personalization allows your hospitality vendor to be more seamless regarding reservation management as it allows contactless payment which greatly speeds up the traditionally tedious process of checking into hotels.
The status of arrival of visitors returning to their previously visited vendors now can be tracked with GPS, and a whole offer can be tailored similar to their previous visit.
It is becoming increasingly important to personalize and tailor services to the needs and preferences of travelers. As we explained earlier, customers demand both extreme personalization and unique experiences, but not only that – they are expecting something more. Hospitality outlets could do just that without too much effort – incorporating food & drinks deliveries, offering extras like atmospheric candles, QR-code playlists or unexpected freebies – the options list could be pretty long.
4. Remote work
Even though pandemics served as one of the biggest challenges and adaptability testers of the whole hospitality industry, some of the major problems stayed unsolved here even now when the industry is slowly getting to pre-pandemic numbers.
But, as the story goes, when mankind encounters a problem, it pushes us to reinvent and reimagine our way of life. Workforce shortage, staff fluctuations and low-season problems are centuries-old issues in the hospitality industry. The thing is – some changes in our relationship with work, technological advancements, and societal trends, potentiated during the pandemic, made those problems mutually solvable.
Most of the time, lower-level employees are students or young people who are at the beginning of their serious career paths. They mostly do cleaning and housekeeping jobs or provide receptionist services, and due to the nature of these jobs and the seasonal needs of hospitality outlets, large-scale employee turnover occurs periodically. Aside from that, many of the repetitive tasks that were previously manually done, today could experience data-driven automation. This relieves employees of time-consuming tasks, allowing them to work on some other, more human and fulfilling jobs.
The other part of the equation is low season. When hotels experience periods of lower activity, during the summer season or some other periods, the need for the workforce is automatically lowered.
Some unused spaces, such as hotel lobbies and bigger, conference rooms, maybe even entire floors, during low season could become remote and coworking hubs, even occasional and temporary office spaces, as remote working is becoming a frequently used employment model. It is estimated that in 2022, almost 16% of worldwide companies are fully remote. That number is considerably higher in the US, where 58.6% workforce is remote. As it seems now, remote working is not a trend that will pass, as 78% of respondents in this survey are expecting this occurrence to continue.
In this way, hotels can tap into new revenue streams, strengthen their competitiveness, modernize their brand appeal, and provide a much-needed offering to the community.
From traveling business people to digital nomads, from local freelancers to small startups that need a space to work, there are different customer groups that hotels can attract. And as it could solve low season issues, it could also increase the whole-year-long necessity for the working cadre who can now work with a more streamlined, automatization experience.
In this capacity, a modern and adequate hotel management system (HMS), properly scaled and fully integrated with various third-party apps, could prove to be more than useful. As it is the case during low season in some of the hotel chains or specific hotels, HMS could warn its owners about the state of the metrics like RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room) and ADR (Average Daily Rate). Then, proactive hotel management will enforce its optimization tactics to remain fully booked, be it the periodical rebranding as remote working hubs or branding itself as a premier conference venue. This way, a hotel can minimize their losses (or even make a profit) and solve their staff-shortage problem during the low season.
If you need a reliable partner in your quest for modernization, or you need help in building completely new hotel management software, feel free to reach out.
Trendy Buzzwords in Hospitality Industry
As trends and novelties are happening real-time and industry-wide, some new trendy buzzwords are popping out. We'll take you through them!
Revenge travel - People were deprived of traveling for some time and many of them now want to make up for the lost time being unable to experience traveling during the strict pandemic measures.
Staycation - A type of vacation when travelers are experiencing (little) known destinations in their own country rather than going abroad – it can also be a day trip to some local sights and locations. They were practically prevalent in times of pandemic, and between 2020 and 2021., the percentage of staycation bookings rose by 18%. In a low season, these kinds of local travels and experiences can help the sustainability of hospitality businesses.
Bleisure – The portmanteau of the words “business“ and “leisure“ and it's exactly what this combination of words is implying – the merging of business trips with relaxed, leisure travel models.
Glamping - Another portmanteau of the words “glamorous“ and “camping“, describes a type of camping with benefits and, in some cases, more expensive and luxurious services not usually associated with "traditional" camping.
Trip stacking – Travelers book two or more trips in case one of the trips is canceled for various reasons.