by Joseph Zarrahy
Though it may only be November, the new year will be here in the blink of an eye. The hospitality industry is constantly evolving, and you better believe plenty will change and evolve in 2017.
Due to the rapid pace of technology advances and social media, it often seems that hotel owners struggle to simply keep up with the changes. Yet, to be truly competitive in an increasingly competitive market, keeping up with trends isn’t always good enough – you want to strive to be ahead of the trends.
No one can predict the future, but based on data from 2016, you can likely expect these hot hotel trends to take root in 2017 – hint – this is your chance to be ahead of the curve!
Hot Hotel Trends
Take The Millennials (Very) Seriously
Known as the group of people currently between the ages of 18 and 34, the millennials are quickly becoming the group with the largest purchase power. Not only are the millennials the biggest generation yet, they also happen to LOVE to travel. This bears good news for the hospitality industry as a whole, but it means your team needs to be researching the nuances and details of what this group enjoys and expects from hotels. This can translate into serious revenue for your hotel, but only if you take the millennials seriously and deliver an experience they resonate with.
Stay on The Waste Reduction Train
We wrote a few blogs over the course of 2016 detailing why decreasing waste is essential and how it translates into increased revenue. This is a trend that is going to continue to intensify, especially considering the millennial generation are passionate about the environment. If your hotel continues to deploy waste reduction strategies resources will be saved, and if you market your hotel appropriately, you’ll draw in more revenue from appreciative guests.
Mobile is King.
This might just be the most important trend of all. Guests, particularly of the millennial generation, are increasingly using mobile devices for bookings, and everything else. According to David Chestler of SiteMinder, statistics show that 8% of booking are currently made on mobile devices, but within a year or two that figure will rise to at least 35%, if not more. Not to mention that millennials are used to being able to accomplish tasks instantly on their phones – Uber being an excellent example of this.
What this means trend-wise, is that above all else, your hotel website MUST be mobile friendly. But that is just the beginning. The more mobile practices your hotel can adopt, the better. A few examples of mobile-forward strategies you might want to consider are:
- Mobile Check-In
- Ability to request room items via an app – i.e. more towels, extra blanket, etc.
- Mobile Rewards Program
Or get creative. Creativity goes a long way with millennials, and being the first to introduce new ways of using mobile devices to accomplish hospitality needs will set your hotel apart from the competition. The bottom line is, this affects your bottom line – a lot. If your website isn’t optimized for a mobile experience, then you’ll lose out on direct bookings from mobile customers, plus it will risk your reputation because no one likes to interact with stone-age websites. Additionally, millennials are still looking for brands to become loyal to, and if they enjoy the experience at your hotel, you have a chance of converting them to a brand loyalist.
Have Fun With Geolocation Technology
Anything your hotel can do to enhance the guest experience will always translate into more revenue. If you want your hotel less dependent on OTA’s, then you need to focus on building long-lasting relationships with guests and converting more guests into loyal brand followers. One way to do that is to be… fun! Geolocation technology affords many opportunities to be fun. If your hotel has an app, integrate geolocation and then partner with nearby restaurants, tourist companies, shopping centers, etc. to offer guests incentives to interact in the community. Imagine how excited your guests will be if they are able to get discounts on all the tourist sites because your app geolocates deals nearby.
Up Your Social Media Game
No longer are you considered “trendy” just for being involved on social media. Every hotel is on social media. Now the trend is to find better, more effective social media strategies. Hotels are well positioned to be very successful on social media. Why? Because you’re in the travel industry, which is what most millennials are passionate about! Tell your story, tell the story of your city, town, state or country. Share your insider knowledge. Be useful, interesting and unique and the followers and interaction will come. The hospitality industry is fun, it’s about pleasure, never forget that! Here are some social media trends you might want to adopt:
- Create your own Snapchat Filter – People, especially millennials, love Snapchat, and will be more than happy to promote the hotel for you. Happy guests will “Snap” frequently while on vacation and if there’s the option for a branded filter, you better believe they will use it!
- Create Pinterest Boards – You have a serious opportunity to be helpful on social media. Create boards about the best places to see while visiting. Is your city famous for a certain type of food? Create a Pinterest board around the best restaurants to eat that food. Does your hotel have beautiful wedding reception spaces? Put together Pinterest boards about planning a wedding.
- Consider Hiring Social Media Influencers – Figure out which social media influencers are relevant to your hotel and consider hiring them, or inviting them to your hotel, to feature you on social media.
There’s no reason why 2017 can’t be your hotel’s most profitable year yet. Yes, the competition is fierce in the hospitality industry, but there’s plenty of revenue to be had. Your hotel can get a nice, big, sweet piece of the revenue pie as long as you’re asserting your hotel as trendy, current and fun. Make catering to millennials a priority since that is where much of the revenue will come from, especially with each passing year. To keep everything simple, think of it this way – hospitality trends are going to reflect millennial trends and passions. Right now those passions are – instant gratification, the environment, technology, and unique and new experiences. Focus your strategies on those trends, and success will ensue.