If you’re in the hospitality industry, you know that things change constantly. To keep your guests happy, it's important to stay atop all the latest trends and technology innovations in the industry. If you don't, your competitors surely will. Many of the 2022 hospitality trends are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Others involve new technology and evolving consumer preferences. To help you keep abreast of what your guests are looking for, we've put together our list of 12 hospitality trends to look for in 2022.
1. Check-in Automation
While check-in automation may not be a “new” trend, the last two years with the pandemic has made this type of "no-touch" technology much more popular and preferred. In fact, not having this option might be a reason for potential guests to bypass your property in favor of a hotel that offers automated check-in.
Automated check-in allows guests to complete the check-in process without having to interact with a person. Accomplished via a self-serve kiosk or via an app on a smartphone, check-in automation has become preferable in a pandemic environment. It also helps guests arrive and settle into their rooms more quickly and, for hoteliers, requires fewer staff members at the front desk.
2. Smart Rooms
Technological advances are prevalent across industries, and smart rooms are sweeping the hotel industry. Smart rooms are hotel rooms that make use of interconnected internet devices (a concept sometimes referred to as IoT or Internet of Things) to perform tasks like presetting the shower temperature to your preference, ordering room service or local food deliveries via voice command, presenting convention event schedules on a mirror, and giving guests the ability to control lights, entertainment, and temperature via voice commands.
For guests, smart rooms are convenient and help overcome some of the hassles of staying in hotels. For hotel owners and managers, smart technology can help control energy and water waste and help staff anticipate repair issues.
3. Optimize Your Website for Voice Search
Currently, only four percent of businesses are set up to handle customer inquiries via voice commands. However, this is something that hotel customers are asking for. They’re looking to make reservations, check availability, and ask questions about a property using voice rather than multi-click and manual commands.
4. Focus on Employee Retention
Hotels and hotel restaurants, like businesses in other industries, are experiencing staffing shortages. It’s in your best interest to ensure existing employees are happy and stay with your company. In addition to increasing wages and benefits, you can improve employee retention by creating a culture that nurtures employees while helping them develop their careers.
Historically, the hospitality industry has an extremely high turnover rate, as high as six percent of employees each month. This translates into a huge expense in recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and training new employees.
The rise of sustainability efforts expands across many industries, with more employees and consumers focused on reducing the carbon footprint and protecting our environment. Consumers are increasingly looking to support and remain loyal to businesses that are committed to sustainability. Hotels of all sizes can conserve energy, prioritize recycling, and reduce food waste in their food and beverage operations. Larger properties may consider installing solar and wind turbine power systems to supplement energy usage and utilize rainwater collection systems to reduce municipal water consumption.
We've already talked about using automation for contact-free check-in and enhancing a guest's in-room experience. Hotels may consider additional automation efforts with digital room keys ("keys" that are sent to the guest's phone via a QR code or similar technology) and artificial intelligence (AI). AI technologies can "learn" a guest's preferences during their stay and complete tasks such as opening the drapes in the morning, waking the guest up at a certain time each day, and delivering the latest news. Hotels may also offer a mobile concierge app to provide guests with dining options and transportation.
7. Blockchain Solutions
Blockchain technology is best known as the power behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. However, this technology can be used to make sure that guest information remains secure while offering an increasing array of smart services. Blockchain also can safeguard your database by decentralizing data to ensure your systems do not go offline. Blockchain technology also reduces cyberattack vulnerabilities. Advertising that you use blockchain technology in your transactions gives savvy customers an additional measure of trust in your operation and could be the deciding factor in picking your property over a close competitor.
It is also very likely that hotels will start accepting cryptocurrencies for payment via blockchain technology, although that move is still probably a few years away. Look for it in the next two to five years.
8. Personalized Guest Experience
Greater use of smart hotels and smart technology allows hotels to better personalize the guest experience. The guest's preferences are stored online and can include everything from their favorite room to how they like their coffee for breakfast. Other examples of personalization include stocking the mini-bar with their favorite beverages and snacks and offering personalized in-room entertainment options. Stay ahead of your competitors by keeping their preferences in mind and creating a truly memorable experience.
9. Data-Driven Decisions
Savvy hotel owners and managers are increasingly using data amassed from smart functions and reservation data to forecast and better anticipate things like occupancy levels and staffing needs. Data-driven decisions can help you anticipate what services your guests require, thus empowering you to market these services appropriately and attract and retain clientele. For example, you may want to see how many of your guests are typically local versus from other states or, depending on your location, U.S.versus international travelers. Each subset will have unique needs — when you create a personalized and memorable experience, you will create consumer loyalty and set your hotel apart from others.
10. Virtual Reality
Hotels will use virtual reality (VR) technology increasingly in the future. This technology is already making life-like hotel tours available to people with VR headsets that they can access directly from their living rooms or offices. Possible future uses include using VR in the booking process to allow guests to seamlessly move from booking flights to seeing the hotel room they are booking to experiencing attractions.
Virtual reality can also be invaluable to properties when booking group events. The event planner can tour the meeting and banquet rooms and see if the facilities will work for what they have planned without having to travel to the hotel for an in-person tour. This saves time and resources for both the event planner and the hotel.
11. Hyper-Targeted Advertising
With all the data available to hotels today, it's easy to target specific customers with online, email, and text advertising. You can, of course, tell whether they've stayed with you before, but you can also drill down to specific demographics, such as married women in their 40s with children who travel for pleasure more than twice a year and live in the suburbs of a city near you. Hyper-targeted advertising is more likely to catch your target's interest. For instance, using our example, you might want to make sure they know about your hotel's excellent children's program or your "kids eat free" promotion.
12. Unique Experiences
Hotel guests are always looking for something a little different when they travel, and this trend is likely to continue well beyond 2022. Nature tours are a perfect unique experience, but if your property isn't located on the ocean or in the woods, you can still offer something memorable and unique. Consider partnering with a local chef to offer cooking classes using local ingredients or offer ghost or history tours if your property is older with rich and enticing stories. Is your hotel located in a city center? Why not host a formal high tea? The key is to identify the unique and differentiating aspects of your location, both your physical property and the surrounding area, and create an experience to highlight those features.
Earning your degree in hospitality with Johnson and Wales University
Johnson and Wales University offers a variety of Bachelor of Science degrees designed especially for the hospitality industry. These degree programs include hotel & resort management, food industry compliance management, hospitality management and tourism, and hospitality management. All of these are four-year degree programs that prepare students to lead teams in the dynamic and exciting hospitality industry. These programs feature courses in management strategies, business planning and marketing as they apply to the restaurant and hotel industries. To make it easier for students, most of these degree programs can be completed entirely via online learning.
If you’re interested in a career in the hospitality industry, earn your hospitality degree online from JWU. For more information, complete the Request Info form, call 855-JWU-1881, or email email@example.com.