As for everything else these days, a business’s ability to understand their consumers’ intent and efficiently positioning themselves along the way can make or break the bank. With the paradigm shift that the ever-evolving hospitality industry undergo – the five key factors that we reckon will determine the hotel industry in 2020 are:
Google is eyeing on the travel and hospitality industry, tapping into its gigantic trove of usage data to deliver highly relevant information to users across all various stages of their trip planning. Although it recently shut down its Google Trips app, many of its features will live on in Google Search and Google Maps. As regular OTAs continue to challenge the hotel industry, Expedia has been expanding its global presence and focusing on “brand-agnostic customers” through more relevant local offerings and content strategies. Expedia Collections has had a different approach, and provides a better solution to experience-focused travelers. Through its categories, travelers can select their preferred types of travel experience without deciding on a destination right off the bat. Google Flight and more recently Google Travel also offer the Explore feature to empower travelers to explore without first selecting a destination. While more traditional hospitality players are rethinking their brand portfolio, brand architecture and individual brands’ unique value propositions, they should gain inspiration from both Google and Expedia and keep travelers’ travel intent, occasions and hobbies in mind.
Undoubtedly, we are familiar with the vast amounts of data and statistics that point to the market edging ever closer to a recession. While other industries and their corresponding companies’ share prices will feel the brunt of this economic correction, hotels will inevitably get caught up in the tsunami if not already. The trend of record low unemployment coupled with record highs in the stock market will not last forever. In order to be better prepared for lessening the blow and catch up, one must know their contacts better than their competitors while meeting and anticipating their desires. It is a seemingly simple concept, but when you master it you will see the wins on the top line of your P&Ls. It’s a matter of listening and proactivity before the next downturn hits us.
Every generation — Z, Baby Boomers and Millennials has a unique skill set but different mindsets. All of them can benefit any hospitality business but in different ways. Thus, it is crucial to do some research and determine the strongest and weakest qualities of every generation before making strategies. Millennials are people born between 1981-1997; who are good with technologies, have quality education, and are ready to embrace and accept diversity. Moreover, they become the fastest growing users in the hospitality industry, so it is wise to keep an eye on this audience. It is imperative to pay close attention to different generations. Millennials can thus specially contribute so much to the hospitality business.
Growth of alternative accommodation
With the success of such accommodation especially AirBNB, traditional hospitality players should learn and adapt their modus operandi. Addition of new features like Airbnb Plus and following the acquisition of Luxury Retreats in 2017, Beyond by Airbnb accounts for the group’s premium line, gathering the platform’s highest-end homes. Airbnb Collections and a revamped Superhost program makes the stay more customized. The launch of a pilot Superguest program is also underway and making steps towards building loyalty for its consumers. In addition to these new developments, the recent acquisition of last minute booking app – HotelTonight, proves how the San Francisco-based disruptor is venturing even further into the realm of traditional hospitality.
Digitalization/ Artificial intelligence
Whether online check-in or digital guest maps – many innovations are often treated negligently and skeptically by hoteliers. However, digital guest communication and becoming receptive to the bots is the key to counteracting staff shortages, relieving the workload of employees and meeting guests’ expectations along the entire guest journey. Hoteliers should evaluate which digital solutions bring advantage to their business and how they can be integrated in a useful way. In times of digitalization, the question is not whether to digitalize guest communication, but when and with which tools. Hoteliers should focus on solutions that help to design the digital guest journey and make stay of guests even more pleasant. Processes should be optimized and personnel relieved so that hoteliers can concentrate on the centerpiece of their business: taking care of their guests.