In the competitive industry of hospitality, finding ways to stand out from the crowd and stay up-to-date with hospitality trends (e.g. hospitality apps) is more important than ever. Whether you lead a management team at a five-star hotel, or are a server at an up-and-coming vegan restaurant, here are the top five hospitality trends to pay attention to in 2020.
1. Bleisure is Booming: Use Digital Tools Cater to Millennial Travelers
As millennials continue to be a hot target travel demographic, the hospitality industry is working hard to cater to this customer base. This year, expect to see a continued interest in ‘bleisure,’ also known as business travel mixed with leisure activities. For better or for worse, apparently 66% of travelers engage in work-related activities while on vacation.
For young professionals, bleisure is the perfect opportunity to take an extended vacation after a week of mandatory meetings and networking mixers. Not only do these extended vacations help keep hotels full and dinner reservations booked, but a happy millennial in vacation mode is also more likely to spend money on other amenities and upgrades while staying at your property.
Appealing to the millennial traveler certainly requires an investment in mobile technology, but did you know that employee experience directly impacts guest experience? With staff retention a challenge in the already attrition-heavy hospitality industry, cultivating and sustaining employee connection and satisfaction is an absolute must.
Using an operational communication platform keeps your employees connected and engaged with each other and with management, in real-time across locations and departments.
Meanwhile on the guest-facing side, everyone (not just millennials) expects minimal barriers to entry across the board when it comes to their consumer experience with your hotel brand.
Mobile technology for your hotel staff streamlines guest requests so your employees can get them what they need faster. Combined with digitally-savvy, informed hotel staff, this creates a win-win for both the employee and the guest experience.
2. Smart Rooms for Operations Automation
With more people using voice-activated devices in their homes, it’s a natural application to use these same devices in hotel rooms to improve guest experience. The lights, temperature, and other features in a hotel room can be difficult to figure out and smart rooms alleviate that nuisance.
Adding a voice-activated device like a Google Home or Amazon Echo can eliminate the risk of a poor Yelp rating or a middle-of-the-night complaint to the front desk. Some smart rooms can even be paired with digital technology such as a guest’s phone, allowing the guest to control specific functions of the room, just like at home.
According to The Wynn Las Vegas, over 4,700 of their rooms will be equipped with an Amazon Echo to help guests control things like lighting and temperature with ease. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing rooms with “smart” beds that can determine whether or not a guest is asleep or awake and heat or light a room accordingly.
3. Renewed Focus on Recruitment and Retention
To combat the labor shortage, we expect to see hotels invest heavily in recruitment in 2020. In an effort to fill open jobs, hotels are going above and beyond simply posting a job online to find new employees.
Here are some of the ways we’re seeing hotels recruit new employees:
- Hospitality job fairs
- Hospitality-specific recruiting agencies
- More competitive pay and benefits
With turnover in the hotel industry at an all time high, recruiting and retaining hotel employees will be crucial to the organizations operational success.
Understaffed hotels pose a serious challenge to customer satisfaction. Guests will have to wait longer to be served, which breeds frustration, which ultimately leads to negative online reviews. Once those one and two star satisfaction scores start piling up, your hotel’s online reputation will be ruined.
4. A Rise in Operational Communication
Perhaps once considered optional, investing in a centralized digital workspace has become a mission-critical tool fostering employee engagement across the hospitality landscape.
When the backbone of a hotel is rooted in a rich sense of purpose and positive company spirit, employees at all levels will be far more likely to provide a positive atmosphere for guests while simultaneously yielding high productivity levels within their respective workflows.
High turnover in the hospitality sector has been made even worse by the current low unemployment rates. With this in mind, investing in innovative ways to successfully manage and retain your hotel’s frontline workers is more important than ever.
5. An Increase in AI Presence
Depending on who you talk to, artificial intelligence (AI) is either met with excitement or skepticism and worry. While there are many industries that will eventually be dominated by AI, the hospitality industry isn’t likely to go full-automation, due to the power of the in-person interaction and the crucial role this plays in the guest experience.
However, many businesses within the hospitality industry have begun to incorporate some friendly robots to help out with some of the housekeeping and other tasks that don’t require a lot of face-to-face interaction.
For internal operations, AI integrations like Gustaf simplifies shift management dramatically. AI will ultimately help the guest experience by streamlining hotel operations, allowing for increased personalization of a guest’s stay, and even assisting with online booking.
Automation is not meant to threaten a booming industry but rather keep it streamlined, error-free, and doing what it does best: striving to make the best possible customer experience.
A crucial part in delivering exceptional guest experiences in any hospitality setting, hoteliers should continue to embrace new advancements in hotel tech to remain competitive and stay profitable.
Want more ways to keep your hospitality business thriving? Download our eBook, “Hospitality Industry Trends 2020,” to get started.