By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky
For numerous aspects of society, they say that COVID-19 didn’t rewrite the playbook but only accelerated what would have occurred anyway, albeit over a much longer timeframe. With this as a prelude, it’s important for every hotelier to dwell on the concept of creative destruction which has existed ever since the invention of the wheel started putting farmhands out of work. It is inevitable for nearly all practices; it’s just a matter of when.
That ‘when’ could be two to three years or a couple of decades. It all depends on your organization’s needs at the moment and what will grow revenues or cut costs the fastest. Given that we are all a tad impatient to get on with our hectic days during this current travel recovery surge, here are four factors to consider that stand a good chance of affecting your business within the next 24 months.
1. Hotels continue to stay lean. The pandemic was a moment in time that allowed senior executives to rethink their organizational structure and really ask, “Do we really need all these layers of supervision and middle management?” It’s daunting to pose this because a negatory answer can result in jobs lost and families upended. And yet, it is called creative ‘destruction’ for a reason. Technology is reaching a point where the multitude of rich integrations allows hotels to cut out the middlemen, and this ‘progress’ will only continue as owners seek to protect their bottom lines.
2. Guestroom renovation planning. Advents like IoT and in-room exercise programs were both widely known prior to the pandemic, yet post-covid guest demands may force them to shift from value-adds to expectation. The growth of extended stay and remote work requires a rethink of the office space as well as how you help travelers stay active while abroad. Then there’s the burgeoning movement around sleep science and wellness, with guests seeking hotels that meet these modern needs. And there’s a role for IoT to play in all this, especially as it may help enrich guest profiles for further personalization and loyalty as well as further reduce a lot of that middle management cost.
3. Public space remodeling. Similar to the guestroom, social distancing forced many hotels to rearrange their lobby furniture. Look deeper, though. With the interconnectedness of technology to facilitate express check-ins, mobile check-outs, kiosk-dispensed keys or digitally secured keys, hotels are already well on their way to eliminating the front desk. While this move may not be for every brand, it’s nevertheless a way to meet the modern demand of a frictionless experience while also reducing staff requirements and freeing up space. What that space becomes is up to you; a simple example would be a welcome refreshment station to augment the arrival experience.
4. Wellness and longevity. This is the next big thing, so start reading up on it. The pandemic caused many to rethink the rat race and strive for a better work-life balance. Concurrently, new scientific research is homing in on treatments and lifestyle choices (nutrition, exercise, supplements, sleep, spa and so on) that can prolong the good years one has on this planet. What this means for you is that guests will be looking to incorporate wellness and antiaging components to their travel, selecting hotels that meet that need and excluding all others.