Hotel Trends to Watch
Early adopters of technology, especially Millennials and Centennials, are shaping the hotel industry like no other generations before. As they increase their travel related spending annually, hotels are increasingly looking for ways to accommodate this tech-savvy generation in the best way possible. These young guests are not shy about sharing about their experience in hotels, restaurants, and clubs online either on review websites like Yelp or directly to their network on their own social media pages, and their peers rely on these reviews to make purchasing decisions. So, it’s very important for the hotel industry to keep up with these new demands and generational tastes. Hotels are no longer able to rely on competitive rooms rates alone to garner the attention of would-be Millennial and Centennial guests. There is now a more direct focus on creating an unforgettable user experience before check-in!
It’s clear to see how young travelers are affecting the industry; just look at the latest hospitality trends:
1) Interior Design
Top notch interior design is essential. Guests today expect a certain level of thoughtful décor and design no matter the price or location, putting pressure on lower end hotels to deliver a higher standard and on higher end hotels to separate themselves by implementing the best in cutting-edge, high quality design. Designers are re-introducing rich and saturated colors to catch the attention of potential guests. On busy travel booking websites, photos need to be eye-catching, and the best way to do that is by adding brilliant pops of color. Millennials are also taking selfies and photos of everything they see. This means that even lower end hotels need to offer a desirable setting for capturing memories via online check-ins. By not providing a pleasant background for this sort of online sharing, establishments could miss out on this type of free shared publicity, or worse, end up with a bad review.
Technology demands don’t start and stop with simple in-room Wi-Fi access (which is basically now expected as part of the customer experience anyway). Young professional travelers expect their entire hotel experience to be easily accessed from the palms of their hands. Guests appreciate the ability to use hotel apps and mobile websites to book rooms online, check in remotely, and keep track of their loyalty points. With that in mind, remember millennials are connected to their smartphones 24/7, so they need to have plenty of power outlet options spread throughout the hotel to keep them charged and connected. These power demands include convenience outlets in lobbies, banquet or meeting rooms, bars & restaurants, and in-room options that are clearly visible and accessible
3) Customer Service
A+ Customer Service is a must-have in this new hospitality landscape. Millennials and centennials are very impatient and appreciate fast and efficient problem resolution. While face to face contact is still at the heart of great service, hotels are now also investing in agents to respond to claims left on social media. It is important to tackle all issues from every front with speed and accuracy to keep loyal customers satisfied. The new social media frontier opens new lines of communication that, if fielded correctly, can lead to building positive relationships and reinforcing the brand experience. If concerns that are posted publicly online are not addressed in a timely manner, it could create a negative impact on the perceived overall public impression.
These are the main basic trend shifts we are seeing now in the hospitality industry. Remember, our younger guests love to incorporate technology into every step of the hotel experience, and the more their demands can be met, the more likely they are to share their experience and become a long term customer. They are very vocal with their feelings about products and services, so it is very important to cater to their basic desires: innovative interior design, easy-to-operate apps and websites, and excellent customer service that extends beyond the desk clerk or the concierge and recognizes the power of online communication.