While you do not have to be an expert in human psychology to be a successful hotel operator, it helps to understand what your hotel guests want. It is also of vital importance to be on the leading edge of technology and use all of the different tools at your disposal to attract new and repeat visitors to your property.
Trends in the hospitality industry do not happen in a day, a week, or a month. They usually begin slowly and then gain popularity. Hotel owners and operators who identify such long-term trends usually benefit the most. Those hotels that are slow to react to the new trends will usually see a decline in occupancy and revenue.
Successful hotel managers are always interested in techniques and ideas that will make their property attractive to guests and improve their financial numbers. Executives keep up with the latest trends in the industry by attending trade shows, commissioning surveys and listening to feedback from their guests. Analysis from industry insiders, based on enormous amounts of research, is pointing to some major trends. What is the buzz and in which direction is the hotel and hospitality industry heading for 2013 and beyond?
1. 2013 Top Trends Hospitality Industry
In the hospitality industry, the market is divided into a number of different segments based on both price and the type of property. In order to be most competitive and fill their rooms, it is imperative to understand your market. No hotel can be everything to everyone.
There are certain things that all hotels can do no matter if they are charging $50 or $500 for a room. Every guest will appreciate a warm friendly greeting from the hotel staff and every guest deserves a clean room.
If a hotel is best in its category, it will have an advantage over other hotels that charge the same basic rate. Doing little extras like providing fresh baked chocolate chip cookies or a complimentary newspaper does not cost much, but will leave a positive impression on hotel guests.
Upgraded dining options, well-equipped gyms and a business center are expected amenities in an upscale property. If you are charging high room rates, you better be sure that service is on an equally high level. Hotels that go above and beyond guest expectations will score points and help encourage repeat customers.
It is no longer good enough for hotels to simply provide a clean room with a shower and a comfortable bed in which to sleep. While guests may come to town to visit area attractions or attend a business function, they also want their hotel to be a part of their experience.
This can range from such things as providing in-room movies and a bag of microwave popcorn to an on site restaurant where guests can enjoy a fabulous steak dinner. Hotel operators need to think creatively and outside of the box to come up with little extras that guests will enjoy.
- A boutique hotel could hang the works of local artists on their walls.
- A chain hotel could stand out by offering a free gourmet breakfast.
- A resort can offer cooking lessons.
- A casino hotel can offer a free class on how to play blackjack. [top]
In recent years, the hotel industry has relied on independent online travel sites to help them sell their hotel rooms. Consumers know that they can search for the best deals on hotel rooms at such online travel sites like Priceline and Expedia.
When a hotel agrees to be listed with these travel and hotel sites, they benefit by getting more guests to book rooms and help increase occupancy rates. At the same time, most of the rooms that are booked are at the low end of the price scale and hotels are charged a fee by the travel site each time they send a guest to the hotel.
While many people will continue to use online travel sites to book hotel rooms, the trend in the hotel industry is definitely moving toward getting more online bookings through a hotel’s own website.
Hotels can cut out the middleman and save the fees they must pay to online travel sites by having customers reserve their room when they visit the hotel website. In order to entice customers to book through hotel websites, the hotel must have some thing that will shift the traveler’s current behavior.
Hotels will focus on improving their booking interface so it is simple and more convenient than ever before. They can offer a guarantee of the lowest price when people book directly through their site and also provide the best customer service. Most travelers already prefer to deal directly with the hotel they are staying at, so, the hotel has an advantage from the start.
As more and more of the traveling public are becoming very used to doing almost everything with their mobile device, hotels need to take advantage of the growing trend. While there are still those “old-timers” who are attached to their desktop computers, anyone under thirty or forty is more likely to connect to Facebook or other social media sites using their smartphone.
In order to benefit from this very real trend, marketing plans must be aimed at mobile device users. One can expect an increased number of APPS from major hotel chains where a touch of the button will bring up a page where a hotel can be booked.
Guests should be connected to the hotel through their mobile devices. Whether it is free wireless service, the ability to reserve a room from anywhere around the world or enabling a guest to make reservations at the hotel’s restaurant, should be as easy as picking up your smartphone and pressing a button. [top]
A significant increase in the number of international travelers is expected in 2013 and beyond. Hotels that can go the extra mile to make visitors from certain countries or areas of the world feel more at home will quickly develop a reputation as a good place to stay.
As the standard of living grows in such countries like China and India, more people can afford to travel. Foreign visitors normally stay longer than domestic travelers. An average stay might be a week to ten days. Foreigners also spend more per day than most domestic travelers.
Do your absolute best to quickly fix any minor problems. It is not acceptable for a guest to go to their room and find no remote control for their TV or a burned out light bulb in the bathroom. Have a regular checklist of small maintenance problems and make sure that someone attends to them promptly. [top]
Trends are emerging in room design. Today’s guests are more into health and physical fitness. People who travel often for business or pleasure want a hotel that will fit their lifestyle. The trend for new hotels is larger guest rooms with a separate space for guests to be able to exercise or maybe do yoga while they are away from home.
Healthy and natural food, locally sourced, is another important trend in the hotel industry. Whether it is dining in the hotel’s restaurant, or room service, guests want more healthy and nutritious choices.
Finally, hotels need to do more to sell their property as a vacation experience. Creating flashy videos that present the best features of the hotel is good. Engaging real guests and getting them to share their thoughts or personal experiences is more convincing. Video can be presented through many different channels including the hotel’s website and social media sites. Encouraging guests to post their videos is also a possibility. [top]
The future for the hotel industry looks bright in 2013. More people will be traveling and staying at hotels than last year. Hotels must pay attention to the preferences and habits of travelers so they can tailor their properties to them. Those hotels that create aggressive marketing campaigns and increased their focus on customer service will do the best in 2013 and beyond. [top]