Those keeping an eye on the hospitality industry are well aware that many of today's trends can turn into tomorrow’s standard practices. It is why staying connected to these trends and nurturing an awareness of what is playing out in the industry is so critical. Not every one of today's trends will find itself entrenched in the future of the business, of course, but it can provide insight into what to be aware of. Here are some 2020 hospitality trends to note:
1. The Continued Evolvement of Food Delivery Services
The war between room service and food delivery service is over. It was crushed by $18 toast and coffee and lack of variety—and the fact that room service universally loses money. While that is not news, 2019 saw the battle begin to move more between hotels choosing to work with established third-party providers like DoorDash and GrubHub or move toward their own platforms. For 2020, hospitality trends will continue to see hotels like Wyndham, IHG, Marriott and others experiment with delivery and payment options along with attempts at including loyalty programs in the food delivery process.
2. Extending Business Stays to Accommodate Leisure Travel
Mixing business and leisure is no longer a secret. A 2019 survey conducted by La Quinta Means Business shows that 64% of business travelers have extended their business travels to accommodate personal or vacation travels. They have done this without telling co-workers or even their boss. Those in the hospitality industry can take advantage of this trend by making it easier for these guests to extend stays through attractive rates and other incentives. Offers of multi-day early check-in or check-out days may even help inspire such travelers to extend stays.
3. Environmental Responsibility and Sustainability
This is a multi-year trend with legs. It can save money, materials and help build a brand's image as a sustainable company with environmental ethics. Well-placed, thoughtfully worded signage can encourage guests to reuse towels, minimize laundry services and to reuse and recycle for everyone's mutual benefit. Sustainable alternatives to plastic straws still make an impression. Electronic communications with guests should be noted as part of your green initiatives.
Before guests even check in, they may be considering the carbon footprint of their travels. Eldad Boker, Ed.D., Johnson & Wales University Providence and online professor cited 15 ways travelers can mitigate their impact, including traveling by land instead of air and picking eco-friendly destinations.
4. AI, Facial Recognition, In-Room Voice Assistants
Consumers have proven to have little fear when it comes to advancing technology. This fact is being embraced in the hospitality industry. Wider acceptance of technology like AI, facial recognition and even in-room voice assistants enhance the hospitality experience. Staff members can immediately identify guests and greet them accordingly. AI can anticipate guests needs and interests. In-room voice assistants are replacing 55” HDTV's as in-room “oh wows.” Entire rooms can be controlled by a virtual assistant, and it can serve to extend stays, report issues, and request services.
Rex Warren, Ph.D., Johnson & Wales online hospitality professor stated that outside the hotel room, facial recognition can be key in overall guest service and even security.
Read More: Hotels Go High Tech
5. Accommodations to Directly Compete with Room Sharing Apps
Room sharing apps like Airbnb have been taking a bite out of hotel chains' business and 2020 hospitality trends will include many of these chains biting back. Some resorts are offering off-property living space with access to the full amenities of the resort. Marriott is getting into the home rental business and even allowing users the ability to earn loyalty points in the process. “Standard rooms” are beginning to be replaced with more unique accommodations that are still provided by and backed with brand names. And according to Katie Davin, JWU hospitality professor, it only makes sense for future hospitality professionals to embrace this trend as the new reality.
6. Catering to Gen Z
While much talk in the last few years has been about catering to Millennials, 2020 hospitality trends should include conversations about those in Gen Z, the eldest of which are reaching their mid-20s. Even parents of Gen Zers have vacation and hospitality plans altered at the wishes and suggestions of Gen Z. So what do those born between 1995 and 2010 seek in a hotel stay? In one word: technology. Seamless, high-speed, no-buffering, multiple device-capable internet access is a start. Gen Zers place a higher value on experiences rather than possessions but still want value. They prize social media and social activities, so group activities and group areas are appealing to them. Dining opportunities are appreciated as are visible attempts to be sustainable. Use of natural light, energy-saving devices and outdoor green space will be noted.
7. A Focus on Localization
One of the appealing aspects of room and home sharing services is that they are viewed as a more immersive option when it comes to local experiences. One of the growing hospitality trends 2020 will see is hotels better embracing the aspects of their local community. Guests have a desire to note differences in the hotels they stay at in differing cities, while maintaining the comfort the brand provides. Hotels can do this through artwork and décor, both in common areas and rooms. It can also be accomplished by posting a local “Calendar of Events” in elevators, coffee areas, and business centers. Professionals and guests alike will see hotels maintain their branding while better embracing the uniqueness of each individual location.
8. Virtual Tours
Virtual tours are more expected than ever. They are also more affordable to produce. There's a major difference between reading you have a state-of-the-art fitness center as opposed to showing attractive, young people using it. Friends gathered around an outdoor fire pit demonstrates so much more than a static image. Video spanning a city's skyline is much more valuable than simply stating you have city views. 2020 hospitality trends will include making more use of virtual tours and promoting the social aspects and “wow factors” a hotel wants to communicate.
Hospitality is an ever-changing, challenging and interesting career. If you are considering an undergraduate or graduate degree in hospitality, Johnson & Wales University offers a wide array of hospitality degree programs. Whether you are interested in casino management, event planning or another aspect of hospitality, discover your options today. Complete the “Request Info” form on this page, call 855-JWU-1881, or email [email protected] to learn more.