The hospitality industry, driven by customer expectations, is constantly changing on a global scale faster than ever before. With new technology emerging on a daily basis and more travelers becoming tech savvy, hoteliers are constantly having to adapt to stay competitive.
Let's take a closer look at some of the key trends affecting the hospitality industry in 2018.
Online booking sites
The days when booking a hotel could only be done through your travel agent are slowly becoming a thing of the past. Travellers today can use various aps to book directly with hotels or through third party sites like Booking.com or Expedia and compare the market for the best deals. Then we have Airbnb - the hottest new homestay accommodation site bypassing the traditional routes altogether –with guests choosing to stay directly in a person's home, sometimes while they are still there! Proving the market is changing and the quest for authenticity and competitive pricing are opening many new opportunities.
As travelers are becoming more self-sufficient and tech savvy so too are the options available to them. In many cases, pretty much all aspects of hospitality from recruitment to room service can be managed via a mobile phone app reducing the need for human contact dramatically. Looking for chef jobs in Sydney? There are plenty of recruitment apps, job boards and specialist hospitality recruitment agencies at your fingertips. Need a midnight snack? In a few swipes, you can arrange an electronic delivery right to your door!
Many hotels are now offering mobile check-in and digital concierge services and aps like ResDiary and OpenTable are allowing customers to book their favourite restaurants at the touch of a button.
Even payment of your hotel experience has undergone huge transformations. With cashless payments such as Apply Pay - in theory you could complete your entire holiday without speaking to a single human! – A scary but realistic prospect!
As the population becomes more environmentally conscious, the responsibility falls on suppliers in the hospitality industry to follow suit. An increasing number of luxury eco resorts, retreats and hotels are being powered with solar and wind energy and being built with renewable resources and inhouse water treatment systems are being constructed to protect local ecosystems. No more plastic straws and having your towels laundered daily.
With all these changes, the dynamics of the traditional ‘holiday’ are changing, creating a whole new sector of experience/ adventure travel options. Operators are incorporating these changes into their services and offering various tours and experiences such as; orangutan or elephant rehabilitation, gorilla breeding, turtle research education trips. Others offer extended hiking and group touring to remote locations with basic accommodation -these types of environmentally friendly ‘experience trips’ are becoming the way of the future.
As an alternative to dining out, an increasing number of people are enjoying eating at home. Website finder.com found Australian’s are spending $2.6 billion each year on food and drink delivery. Third party services like Menulog, UberEats and Deliveroo are changing the dining experience and for smaller boutique hotels without onsite restaurants this offers a way to appeal to a greater market.
An increasing number of Millennials travelling has also had a significant impact on the hospitality industry. This tech savvy generation with high expectations and spontaneous nature have prompted the introduction of extensive technology changes within hotels from Wi-Fi connectivity and phone charging stations, to interactive screens and concierge apps. Cafe’s are extending their hours and offering all day menus. Hotels, resorts and restaurants can thank them for extra publicity through their social media profiles like Facebook and Instagram promoting their brand. On the flip side of this benefit – hospitality establishments need to act swiftly to rectify complaints as Millennials will take to social media damaging their reputation if they are not satisfied.
Technology is also changing the way hospitality jobs are filled. In addition to the aps and job boards touched on earlier, some recruitment agencies are employing digital recruiting methods, involving software that search key words including; relevant skills, company names, computer systems or industry terms or phrases to narrow down the pool of suitable candidates that match specific jobs in hospitality. Making the process faster and more efficient for recruiters and their hospitality clients.
Yes, there are many brilliant, yet terrifying technological and innovative changes ahead for the industry – often eliminating human interaction altogether - however the very nature of the hospitality industry has always been about people and service. Warmth and personality combined with knowledge and experience are no match for digital technology and machines. Combining human interaction and more advanced technology will be the key to a successful hospitality business in years to come.