The new year is approaching fast and the hospitality business is moving right along with keeping up with the trends. The hospitality business is focusing on what the guests want as times are changing and individuals refocus their energy on new and exciting things. In 2017, start looking for these trends to pop up at your hotel.
Soliciting Feedback from Travelers
No matter what business you are in, customer responses and reviews are incredibly important to your business. A guest review can make or break you. With the increase in use of technology, more and more people decide to stay at a hotel or eat at a restaurant based on the reviews they read online. Hotels have focused on Trip Advisor reviews for a few years now and making a point to have their staff respond to reviews in a timely manner to show the guests we not only appreciate their feedback, but that we care and we have taken action to fix and issues you may have experienced. Reviews are incredibly important for General Managers to read to know exactly what the guest is experiencing. This helps us find the negative trends and focus on those issues as well as find the positive trends and keep doing what we are doing with these. For hotels, the increase in solicitation of reviews will come in one of two ways, your inbox or verbally as you check out. Hoteliers are looking for more reviews to increase their online scores resulting in more nights booked. Next time you stay at a hotel, listen for your guest service agents to ask you to review your stay the next time you visit or look for that email from the hotel you stayed at, and share your experiences with others.
If you haven’t heard, technology is kind of a big deal. Most people probably use technology the majority of their day. Whether its your phone, computer, television or video game, we can’t escape it. As time moves along, your mobile phone is increasingly important to your day to day life. The hospitality industry has noticed and are focusing a lot of energy on making everything mobile friendly. When I say everything, I don’t just mean the ability to book online, I mean the ability to summon an Uber from your hotel app, and even use your phone as the key to enter your hotel room. Marriott and Hilton are both working quickly to have most of their hotels up and running with mobile access. I am certain the majority of their hotels by the end of 2017 will have the ability to check in and enter your room without ever having to talk to a guest service agent.
The increase in the need of brand loyalty somewhat goes a long with technology. Hotel brands are tirelessly coming up with ideas to convince the consumer to become rewards members and book direct. Towards the end of 2016, brands like IHG, Choice, Marriott, and Hilton all created a “member rate” for hotel loyalty. If you are a member of, for example, Hilton Honors and you are logged in as you are searching for a Hilton hotel on Hilton.com, you will receive $5-$10 off each nights stay just for being a reward member and booking direct. Becoming a member does not cost you ANYTHING, you only have to deal with one more password in your life, but with technology these days, we have the ability to save passwords so it really isn’t an issue. There are a few reasons why hotel brand loyalty is so important to the brands that they are willing to knock a few bucks off your stay. One, this tells the brand that you will most likely book with them again. Two, this makes the brand more money because they are not having to pay commission fees to online travel agents like Expedia or Booking.com. Three, when you book direct and need to cancel, it is a lot easier for book keeping as well as you, the guest because you can now cancel direct within 24 hours of your stay and not have an unnecessary charge. As a hotelier, I will give you a little advice, become a loyalty member of whatever hotel brand you stay with. Cancellation is easier, you receive points that add up to free night stays, you are randomly upgraded depending on how booked your hotel is, and you normally get a free snack or drink at check in.
As we reach 2017, millennials and the health craze grow stronger and stronger. People are worried about their health and starting to cut back on greasy foods, gluten, and anything else that is delicious. Hotels are right along with you on this journey and are making it a lot easier for you to enjoy a healthy meal at your complimentary hotel breakfast or on site restaurant. Not only are hotels changing the food options, they are also on the verge of adding more fitness centers in hotels and building hotels that offer fitness classes and yoga. Now you don’t have an excuse to break your diet when you travel.
2017 is going to be a great year for the hospitality business. With the new trends hotels are embarking on as well as the willingness of guests to want to enjoy their stay, there is no better time to travel and enjoy a nights rest in a hotel.