As 2018 draws in towards its close and the New Year rolls around, within the hospitality businesses and amongst hoteliers, we’re expecting to see a number of new trends happening. It’ll be important for managers and owners to stay ahead of the latest trends, so as to provide the most optimal experience for the latest demands. This article will explore some of those trends, particularly in regards to hotel policy and services.
Additional Fees for Urban Hotels
The concept of a ‘resort fee’ has been around for some time now, particularly in the US and other countries. This is essentially an extra fee that the resort might choose to charge above and beyond the room charge, which is common in large hotel complexes like those of Las Vegas or Florida. With 2018 being a test year for the inner city equivalent ‘urban fee’ we can expect to see more of those added to the bill at the end of the stay, even in urban hotels, as the practice becomes normalized. In Europe or Australia, the legislation still holds that this practice is unlawful.
Cancellation Fee Enforcement
In 2016 there was a large change in cancellation policies across hotel platforms, and this appears to only become more strict. We can see then, that hotels will start to incur cancellation fees beyond the two days in advance limit that they are currently working from. Yet, the policy is still open to the individual hotel’s decision and it should be closely attended because it can be quite a potentially off-putting policy to some customers.
Direct Booking Acquisitions
Online Travel Agents were a popular platform for many companies within the hospitality industry, but in response to this, hotels have updated their websites and direct booking options, taking back a larger share of the acquisitions. More direct marketing, member bonuses and perks for those booking through the website of the hotel itself will gradually develop to encourage more customers to come through native channels. In the longer run, the benefit of organically acquiring the guests will outweigh the cost of creative initiatives to gain those acquisitions.
Local Food and Drinks
The tide has turned from people being interested in fine-dining, innovative cuisine amongst their hotel restaurants, and instead, consumers are more interested in being able to experience something unique and local to the area of their chosen hotel. Customer is looking for something simpler, more rustic and wholesome. Furthermore, there’s an increasing demand for fresher produce that comes from local growers or the hotel’s own produce gardens. Upscale hotel chefs are having to adapt to this task so that they can produce something to meet new customer demands, and not have the same menu across hotels in different regions, or even internationally. The same goes for the demand for local produce drinks such as wines, beers, and spirits.
With improvements in accessibility to faster and more up to date tech, particularly digital technology, it is in higher demand from customers. The expectation is to have high-speed internet service around the hotel, which can be an expensive endeavor to provide, but it is worth it. Other trends to justify this investment include smart appliances in rooms, integrative hotel mobile apps, and connection with already established hotel services, like bedroom televisions, to customers’ personal devices.
Social Media and Photography
One of the best ways to utilize modern viral marketing is to provide unique spots for happy customers to photograph or film, and upload to their social media platforms and Instagram channels. Common ideas would be ‘instagrammable’ niches or crafted scenes around the hotel with online hashtags of the hotel readily available. Many resorts are also organizing excursions to nearby locations, galleries, and experience which are also great for social media and Instagram promotion of the hotel and its implicit opportunities.
Original, Simple and Local Decoration
One of the major factors coming up in hotel fashion is the demand for a direction change of internal design. The customer now wants to feel that their stay is in an original room, customized to fit their needs, so their experience will never be repetitive. Therefore, the expectation is for a difference in both furniture, wall art and room organization within the hotel itself. Also, building on the local food trend, people are wanting the feel of their stay to be more in touch with the local region, implying a greater emphasis on furniture and art that rings true to its surroundings, and the simpler the better.
The previous years have been about focusing on the multi-generational experience at hotels, but this is all set to change with a stronger emphasis on couples and adults-only getaways. Therefore, there is an expected trend towards having adults only policies in hotels, or at least children free zones or areas of the hotel that allow those guests that wish more mature privacy to have it.
Local Experiences Off The Beaten Path
Many travelers of large city destinations have seen the major tourist attractions and the demand is raising increasingly towards something different. Something that speaks of the place that is likely to be best known about by insiders only. Customers want a taste of the real thing and less of the curated, and they want to experience it hands-on. Nowadays, people come to a place to be culturally immersed, as much as admiring the lifestyle from a tourist perspective. People are wanting foodie events and local wine tastings, opportunities for excursions to local craftsmen and places where they can get truly unique souvenirs and gifts.