Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the hospitality industry is becoming an opportunity for hotels to streamline their operations and provide the best customer service possible. For example, chatbots on your websites can assist guests by instantly answering basic questions that would otherwise be dependent on your staff to answer during business hours.
Understanding Hospitality Technology
Twenty years ago, technology upgrades took a backseat to global expansion for hospitality executives. When COVID-19 impacted the travel industry, many hotels struggled to keep up with stricter cleaning regimens, reduced staff, and changing guest expectations.
To compete in a post-pandemic environment, industry leaders have now shifted their focus to providing excellence in service and operations — along with the tech needed to support their efforts.
Current trends in the hospitality industry mirror this focus; technology is the centerpiece from which hotels can promote unique guest experiences, utilize efficient management strategies, and increase their brand’s reputation. To make sure your hotel exceeds guest expectations, it’s crucial to understand current hospitality technology and travel trends, as well as what to expect for 2023.
Traveler expectations are changing and demand a flexible hotel management strategy that prioritizes guests during every step of their reservation experience. The Solonis State of the Industry Report (SOTIR) found that the daily room rate increased by 34.8% from June 2021 to May 2022 — but the quality of service did not change. This is a key factor in why guest satisfaction fell eight points since 2021. Guests expect that with inflation and higher rates, hotels should provide a higher quality of hospitality as well as personalized experiences.
Mobile Check-In and Contactless Payments
One way to meet guest expectations for superior service is by offering contactless check-in and online payment options. These offerings provide guests with the ability to manage their reservations without having to call or visit the front desk.
Advancements in technology have allowed for some property management software to have comprehensive payment and mobile check-in capabilities all from the same platform. Self-reservation management is one of the biggest hospitality trends for 2022, and its implementation may help improve customer satisfaction ratings across the board.
Chapter 2: 2023 Rising Trends in Hospitality
Hotel technology is changing the industry for the better. Through faster payment options, efficient communication channels, and advanced marketing tools, hotels can provide personalized, positive experiences for every guest. Here is what you can expect for travel trends in 2023.
Contactless Services on the Rise
Whether you run one hotel or several, contactless services — such as direct online booking — are a must in today’s hospitality industry. Guests will expect the ability to make reservations, cancel or reschedule reservations, check in, check out, and pay for their stay online.
A mobile-friendly website caters to this trend and will make your hotel stand out. Since self-service is already relevant this year, we’ll likely see demand for countless services become the norm for 2023.
The “work from anywhere” culture is expanding. Digital nomads are combining work with travel, and their expectations for their stay go beyond good WiFi.
Functional meeting spaces, office desks, and a quieter atmosphere with fewer interruptions can attract these guests to your hotel.
Wellness Promotion in Hospitality
Wellness tourism is expected to bring in revenue for hotels that follow this trend. Guests are starting to focus on mindfulness and will look for hotels that boast a positive mental and physical atmosphere. Appealing to these guests may involve some creative offerings such as:
- Products from wellness brands
- Spa services
- Elevated dining experiences with health-conscious options
- Wellness activities and classes
With wellness promotion at the forefront of your growth strategy, your hotel can appeal to a wider audience and provide the foundation for an impeccable reputation. A stress-free hospitality management system that allows guests to add wellness activities and other options to their reservations can convert wellness-minded guests into loyal fans of your brand.
Travelers are starting to take their pets with them everywhere they go. In fact, 52% of travelers value accommodating their pets when making travel plans. Hotels can take several steps to provide pet-friendly options including:
- Providing a safe, fenced-in area for owner-supervised play
- Having waste-removal stations conveniently located on the property
- Offering clear rates and guidelines for all pets
- Selling basic pet toys, blankets, and food bowls in the hotel’s store
A tidy room and a few local activity pamphlets may have been the expectation pre-pandemic, but guests now want to enjoy their stay both inside and outside of your hotel by making the most of their whole experience.
From themed rooms to partnering with local vendors, you can invite guests to explore the culture and traditions of your locale.
Marketing tools within a robust management system can help connect your themed offerings to interested travelers.
This includes offering loyalty programs to guests who have finished their first reservation with you on a high note.
As hospitality technology continues to evolve, you can stay up to date with the changes by incorporating the following upgrades and trends into your hotel operations:
Hotels are trending toward simple website designs that enable visitors to access the desired information in three clicks or less. Links to your hotel's social media pages, embedded directions, and easily visible contact information can help maximize your bookings by providing website visitors with what they want when they want it.
Staff who are trained to use hospitality technology can confidently streamline daily operations. Since tech trends are always emerging, it’s logical to keep your team updated and ready to use new features and upgrades to your system and operations as they appear. You can keep your staff updated by routinely sending newsletters to communicate technical updates or new tech implementations.
Ideal training opportunities include:
- Software training sessions
- Demo videos
Your property management service provider may offer many comprehensive training opportunities for you and your staff to maximize the use of your software across all hotel management operations.
Chapter 5: Building a Powerful Digital Presence
Building a digital presence for your hotel starts with internet users being able to find you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can help your website pages show up on Google searches — above your competitor’s pages. User-generated content can also help draw in online users and keep them involved and committed to your brand. Lastly, knowing where your target audience is can help you deliver compelling content to guests who would be thrilled to book with you.
Website Loading Speeds
The speed of your website can improve SEO and provide a positive user experience.
According to a study by Portent, conversion rates for websites whose pages load in less than one second are five times that of sites that load in ten seconds.
Providing guest reviews on your website — and responding to them — has proven to increase bookings. HotelTechReport stated that “81% of travelers always or often read reviews before booking their accommodations.”
Aside from an optimized website, your brand should be visible and available online across all channels, including Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and social media.
If you do some research to find out which social media channels your target audience commonly visits, you can tailor your marketing efforts for maximum results.
Share images and invite guests to share their experiences on your pages. Social media is a free and efficient tool to help build your online presence and reputation.
QR codes have become a popular way for customers across all industries to connect with their favorite brands. Bringing QR codes into the fold of hospitality technology can give your hotel the edge when it comes to connecting and learning from your guests. For example, you can provide these codes that invite guests to leave reviews inside each hotel room.
Providing mobile key options instead of traditional plastic keys is a great way to show guests that you care about guest convenience and sustainability.
Guests can communicate with your staff through direct messages and email via robust property management software. Within a cloud-based platform, guests can send requests, ask questions, and receive information on events and room upgrade options — all without leaving their room.
Technology Will Lead Your Hotel to Success in 2023
Digital transformation efforts have rapidly increased post-COVID-19. HospitalityNet reports that technology has become a “critical player in accelerated innovation in the hospitality industry.”
These efforts have brought hospitality technology trends into play that can benefit your hotel inside and out. Keep up with the trends by leveraging the innovative tools and features of a robust hotel property management system.
When you communicate with your guests on their terms and provide personalized and memorable experiences, you’ll elevate your hotel’s reputation and become a transformative beacon within the industry.