In the previous blog we talked about the emerging trends in this niche, so, let’s continue, again! Technology is advancing at a faster pace than ever before, and this is changing both the expectations of patrons as well as the way in which the hospitality industry conducts its business. Some of the trends in industry are leading to great improvements and savings for hospitality industry companies; while some are changing how hotel developers plan their buildings, infrastructure, management structure and staffing requirements.
The evolving nature of the guest experience and keeping up with guests' needs and expectations is a huge focus for the hospitality industry. For a hotel, managing the customer relationship is one of the most critical elements of gaining and increasing loyalty, and yet can be the most difficult for hotels to master, as customers interact with them via a burgeoning number of contact points: email, mobile, social media, at the front desk and throughout the hotel property.
Never before has technology played a more important role in improving what is ultimately the human experience of hospitality, both in terms of curating and providing it, but also in the way that customers express their gratitude for that experience in the form of loyalty. So, here are the remaining 5 emerging trends (continued from the previous blog) in the hospitality industry.
1. Social and online presence matters
Let’s hear something from the best players in the market- According to Forrester - 60% of the guests in a hotel are social travelers and they love to stay online most of their time. So, it can be easily deduced that social media is an unavoidable platform to retarget your guests. Most of the travelers nowadays are millennials and they demand better connectivity with their surroundings and friends, so the hospitality industry can easily reach out to them, here!
For example, the latest information on any ongoing offers and introduction to new amenities of your hotel can be shared directly on your social media page(s) so the guests can follow and know more about them. Utilize social media to its fullest potential to render a better guest experience to the millennial travelers. Various social media platforms like Twitter can be utilized for better connectivity with guests. A guest can directly tweet their issues and it will be taken care by the respective department of the hotel. You can also invite guests to join your FaceBook page (upload their emails), and ask them to post pictures of the hotel and their trip.
2. More emphasis on the eudaimonia
Guests today are taking charge of their health; hotels are responding with well-equipped fitness centers, pools and spas. Increasingly, travelers are expecting innovative wellness options. In addition to healthy food options, growing trends include lighting that energizes, air purification, yoga spaces, in-room exercise equipment and even vitamin-infused shower water.
Give your guests adequate options for everything like food and other resources. Invite them to your spa and ask them what they feel about your amenities? Also, ask for reviews and feedback and the things that can be improved in the hotel and what other services should be incorporated during their stay in the hotel.
“Society has become much more health-conscious and there is a bigger demand for wellness, whether physical or mental,” says Marko Vucinic, Senior Vice President and Acting Head of Hotels and Hospitality Group at JLL Middle East and North Africa. “While conventional spas are still very popular, a facility that is positioned as wellness- or medical-focused has the implication that it can improve your life – which has a positive effect on the guest’s stay.”
3. Utilize the untapped potential of staffless hotels
The staffless hotels will cut your costs to a great extent and you can easily employ voice-based solutions to boost your brand recognition and bookings hassle freely. The voice-based solutions understand the guests; priority and needs, thanks to AI and they respond accordingly. With these, your business is now available 24*7 and you don’t have to rely on employing customer representatives to solve guest queries. Moreover, you can employ the staff for rendering a better human-touch whenever possible and with chatbots you can easily skyrocket your revenue and business (better customer engagement & experience with fewer staff members).
Also, staffless hotels are super-easy to manage! If a guest wants to know something, they can easily ask it over devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa. The Cocoon Hotel of Germany claims that they are the world’s first hotel to go staffless and the new hotel won’t employ any staff to help guests with checking in. According to a press release, the Munich hotel allows the guest to book their room, check in and out, and pay from their mobile phones, using a ‘cloud-based hotel management platform’.
4. Say ‘Hello’ to AI-enabled robots!
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotics are for real. AI is a fast-moving technology that enables machines to perform tasks that could previously be done only by humans. Robots will have an impact on some area of the guest or associate experience in 2018. One of the benefits of robots will be the data they provide us as guests utilize the services. The Residence Inn LAX uses a robot named Wally to retrieve items for employees and guests. Maidbot has developed a housekeeping robot, Rosie, and Hilton has Connie the Concierge. Hotels will use the robots just as much for customer service and excitement as it might be doing for ultimate savings on labor costs.
While there is a threat to workers whose jobs are “routine,” AI will not cause mass unemployment. It might, however, have a positive impact on net income as a capital expense replaces a labor cost and at the same time may require many workers to learn new skills. The overall result of mechanization in the past has actually created new jobs. As we know, only time will tell!
With robotics in the hotel, the in-room experience will be vastly different than it was at the turn of the century. Today’s guests expect the in-room entertainment experience to be better than or at least as good as they have at home and they want it on demand. Gone are the days when “Free HBO” on your marquee will build hotel business. The times have changed and it’s the high-time for all the hoteliers to adopt these technologies in their businesses to beat their contemporaries in the competition.
5. Utilize lobby-space for recreational activities and work-purpose
As discussed, getting smarter is the key to survive in this cut-throat competition of hospitality sector as the main challenge lies to increase your happy and returning customers. One emerging trend is that many hotels are utilizing their lobby-space for several activities. Hospitality brands are reinventing their communal spaces and lobbies to accommodate a range of activities centered around work, relaxation, and play. A hotel’s front desk, concierge stand, business center, restaurant, lobby, and lounge have typically been treated as distinct spaces. Increasingly, hotels are moving toward a more integrated lobby model that addresses all of these needs, offering a comfortable, convenient space in which to congregate, enjoy food and drink, socialize, and conduct business.
The multi-use lobby is typically Wi-Fi-enabled and features a mixture of furniture types and spatial configurations—lounge seating for relaxation, semi-private pods for meetings and social gatherings, and work stations with charging capabilities. We’re seeing hotels use technology to encourage guests to spend more time in the lobby, too.
The Wyndham Hotel Group’s Tryp Hotel in New York, for instance, connects hotel guests through the LobbyFriend app, a virtual tool that, in addition to functioning as a digital concierge, promotes networking and new social encounters. Virgin Hotels hosts a nightly social hour in its Commons Club, a hybrid bar, lounge, restaurant, and study; and other brands are looking at the lobby as a venue for cultural programming, from live music and DJs to art gallery shows.
So, now you know what you have to do! Trilyo thrives to redefine your customer experience by rendering the best guest engagement solutions and by improving your already set norms of brand relevance. Go for a free trial to explore the magic of the voice and chat-based solutions for your business and know how can it make your guests ‘HAPPIER’.
PS: To read our previous blog, click here.