The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the hotel industry. It has set new standards in the sector and has led to faster changes than ever seen before. Besides the obvious negative effects, however, new opportunities and trends arose. Tourism Review brings you a summary of the top 7 hotel industry trends for the year.
Safety and Hygiene
Hygiene, cleanliness and the associated need for more safety and security are probably some of the most important factors and hotel industry trends of the year. The pandemic has ensured that cleanliness, which is standard in every hotel, came back into focus. In these challenging times, hygiene is simply a part of a carefree guest experience. Hotels should therefore do everything in their power to ensure that the guests enjoy a hygienic stay.
Hotels should accompany their guests at every step, from booking to arrival, and tell them what measures they have taken to ensure their safety. This is not primarily about cleaning more, as the hygiene standards in the hotel industry have always been high. It is about showing, saying, explaining, and illustrating to the guests exactly which steps are being carried out from beginning to the end.
Green and Sustainable Tourism
Sustainability has been one of the hotel industry trends for a number of years. Due to the coronavirus, environmental protection and sustainability have slipped into the background for a short time, as it initially seemed difficult to combine it with the new hygiene conditions.
Nevertheless, “green” tourism is still important for your potential guests. Protection of the environment is particularly important to Generation Z and the next generation.
Thus, it is nowhere near enough to just use stickers in the bathroom to indicate that guests should use their towels several times due to the environment. Green travelers want to spend the night at hotels that are committed to sustainability and have discovered environmental protection as a new business model. Green certification, sustainable action from the kitchen to the reception, solar energy, green electricity, water-saving and CO2 avoidance – all of this is important for travelers and will continue to be a trend in 2021.
Customization through Digitalization
A trend that will become more important than ever in 2021 is customization. However, this does not necessarily mean in personal conversation. It is much more a matter of creating a unique and individual experience for the guest. In order for the stay to be extraordinary, however, it takes more than just basic standards such as free Wi-Fi or a bottle of free water in the room. Guests want to be excited, both digitally and personally.
In this context, if you have digital helpers, such as the guest directory on the in-room tablet or a hotel app, you already have a lot of what you need for this. The greeting by name on the tablet here, the individually tailored service package there, which is easy to book, and accompanied by pictures, ensures the enthusiasm and satisfaction of guests.
Act Globally and Think Locally
Another hotel industry trend to keep an eye on in 2021 is the conflict between advancing globalization and local contexts. Globalization ensures increasing incomes worldwide. As a result, more people travel and spend longer vacations because they can now afford it. This is accompanied by the opportunity and challenge to accommodate a completely new clientele. Even if international guests are not to be expected in the first half of the year, they will return, and hotels should prepare for that too. Like domestic travelers, they are interested in local attractions and regional delicacies. Bring your surroundings to life and encourage your guests to become familiar with their local people.
In this context, it is necessary to stress the need for collaboration. Through cooperation, be it with regional farmers, local excursion destinations or with technology providers, you can create a network to meet the changing guest needs. In addition, this is the only way to create truly local experiences and at the same time generate synergy effects. Whole regions, guests and your wallet can benefit from more cooperation.
Despite the difficulties of 2020, the creativity and ingenuity of hoteliers was still evident. Conversions to coworking spaces have become popular, as well as renting hotels out as emergency hospitals or creating shelters for the homeless.
In addition to the classic hotel, a large number of new, alternative types of accommodation have developed on the market in recent years. Boarding houses, services apartments, co-living spaces for remote workers or single travelers are just a few examples of these alternatives.
Soon these will no longer be alternatives, but a part of the standard as well as classic hotels. Because one thing is clear, the longer hotels are empty, the more money is lost. And that is precisely why more and more experienced hoteliers are looking for creative ways to fill their hotel again and use the rooms for other purposes. This “alternative” hotel industry trend will thus continue in 2021, as far as it can be combined with the business and service strategy.
Another important hospitality trend in 2021 is the changed guest needs. Of course, guests also want fast and stable Wi-Fi connection, but the desire for digital experiences goes far beyond that. After all, many guests now prefer a digital check-in solution and other contactless processes, such as ordering room services at the push of a button.
Desired travel destinations are also changing. Currently, international air travel and global luxury cruises do not belong to the wish lists of guests. Tourists are now looking increasingly for more regional and national experiences. People want to go out and experience new things in 2021 as well, but not in Tokyo and Madagascar, but on the Baltic Sea or in the Alps.
In addition, the trend in the hospitality sector towards online bookings will continue. The uncertainty that currently prevails among guests when it comes to traveling has a significant impact on the travel destinations and travel arrangements. Last-minute trips and flexible cancellations conditions will also be increasingly popular in 2021.
Digital Experiences and Smart Hotels
In 2021, more than ever, hoteliers will be required to renew their IT structures, expand digital communication channels, and integrate new technologies. Because all digital helpers from the digital guest directory to intelligent room controls and smart hotel systems, hotel apps and check-in terminals have one thing in common: they will help survive the pandemic and at the same time open up new sale potential.
To implement these strategies, digital knowledge will be a necessity, as well as that of online marketing. Without this, it is becoming increasingly difficult for hoteliers to build a profitable business model. For this reason, knowledge in the field of digitalization will be the currency of the year 2021.
However, it is important to note that not every technical gimmick is suitable for every hotel and suits the clientele. Hoteliers should therefore look together with their employees to see which digital helpers offer real added value for guests and really benefit the operation of the hotel.