The hospitality industry has undergone massive transformation over the years so as to exploit the opportunities and overcome the challenges facing the industry. It's undeniable that the hospitality industry is tremendously dynamic and for players to survive and thrive in the industry, they must keep an eye on the latest trends. With the unprecedented entry of Covid-19 into the world scene, hotels, bars, restaurants, travel agencies, and other players in the industry are compelled to adjust to these changes to avoid being left behind.
Apart from the impact of Covid-19, there are many other factors that necessitate keeping an eye on hospitality trends going into 2021. Everything from changing consumer needs and technology advancements to stiff competition and going green, it’s important to prepare for the changes.
In this article, we’ll look at the key hospitality trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2021. Particularly, we'll explore the trends on and around personalization, on-demand consumer needs, status, and concierge.
Safety and hygiene
As the world continues to battle with Covid-19, all the different sectors of the hospitality industry are expected to put measures in place to protect their employees, customers, and contain the spread of the novel virus. Recreation businesses, accommodation facilities, event organizers, hotels, travel and tourism agencies, and other sectors must upgrade their sanitization and cleanliness standards. Some of the measures that the players in the hospitality industry must put in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 include:
- Proving their employees with face masks and other protective equipment
- Ensuring social distancing rules are adhered to
- Providing sanitizers for employees and customers
- Frequent cleaning of surfaces such as counters
- Disinfect their rooms regularly
These measures must be communicated ahead of time and need to be enforced to make employees and customers feel safe. For instance, putting notices at strategic places asking everyone to wear the masks, practice social distancing, and sanitize their hands can help to prevent the spread of Covid-19. For as long as Covid-19 is here with us, all players in the hospitality industry must adjust to keep their employees and customers safe.
The hospitality industry is very competitive and going into 2021, it's only players who offer personalized experiences for customers will be able to survive. Today, customers are looking for unique experiences, be it in the tourism sector, accommodation, or food & beverages. The personalization of communication will be more important than ever as it gives businesses insights into their customers’ preferences and intent through data. It also allows hospitality businesses to offer tailored experiences. Businesses in the hospitality industry can easily personalize communication through their apps. By allowing customers to book services through an app, you'll streamline their experiences. In addition, hospitality businesses can keep track of what their customers order and ask through personal chats and phone communication. However, personalization of communication can be complicated for larger hospitality businesses. With the help of a reliable PMS and CRM system, large businesses can manage data more effectively and prevent the loss of valuable information.
Consumer trends are ever-changing even before Covid-19. Therefore, adopting sustainable measures in response to the changing behavior of customers is important. Here are the key consumer trends to anticipate in 2021:
- Appealing to next-generation travelers
Millennials (those individuals born between 1982 and 1997) are more adventure-seeking and it’s anticipated that they’ll account for much of business travel spending in 2021 and beyond. Hospitality businesses can attract millennials in 2021 by providing exciting opportunities, discounts, and incentives that will appeal to their budgets. Millennials are consistently connected to technology, so offering conveniences like mobile check-ins, digital payment options, and chatbots are increasingly crucial for hospitality businesses.
- Local travel is increasing
Although the pandemic has prompted a decrease in local travel, it’s evident that an increasing number of people prefer visiting local destinations. This is a perfect opportunity for hospitality businesses to target customers looking for exciting local experiences through blogging and social media. Businesses can also leverage social media to display their offers to a wider audience.
- Transformation of corporate travel
More and more companies are embracing working from home in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19. This means corporate travel has significantly reduced. Therefore, hospitality businesses specializing in the corporate travel sector and related services should be prepared to deal with the inevitable loss of revenue. The best way hospitality businesses in the corporate travel sector can survive is to target local markets.
- Shifting booking trends
Due to the uncertainty caused by Covid-19, consumers have changed the way they travel and perform their travel searches. With the uncertainty surrounding travel restrictions, closure of some hospitality businesses, and many other inconveniences relating to covid-19, people are opting to travel locally to avoid large crowds. Hospitality businesses should monitor their data and take actions to match the changing booking needs.
Another consumer trend to expect in 2021 for the hospitality industry is a growing middle-class looking for exciting experiences. Therefore, hospitality businesses can use their data to find out what the preferences of the middle-class look like and adjust their services to provide great experiences.
Concierge video chat
Video concierge is a platform that conveniently enables guests to communicate with hotel staff and front desk in real-time. Users only need to scan a QR code and be able to talk, text, or video chat hotel staff. This technology makes it easy for guests to make room reservations, place their orders, and book services. It also provides better convenience for hotel staff as they can handle requests quickly and effectively. In 2021, hospitality businesses need to embrace this technology so as to save time and serve customers more effectively. Besides, more hospitality businesses will embrace voice-activated controls in 2021 for convenience purposes. This technology is already being utilized by some businesses but it will become more common in 2021. Voice-activated controls help guests to request services from the comfort of their rooms.
There you have it.
These are the top trends in the hospitality industry for 2021.
-Rupert Runewitsch - Founder, VISTA