LATEST TRENDS IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
Hospitality and tourism is one of the most dynamic industries today. It is one industry that is always undergoing changes. So what are the trends that have been changing the shape of the industry? What does the future of the hospitality industry look like? Let’s have a look.
1. Technological Trends: With something new being invented every day, it’s no wonder that technology has taken the hospitality industry by storm. Here, you can find some of the most unique ways that technological advancements have impacted the hospitality sector:
Robots: Ever dreamt of going to a restaurant and being served by robots? Technology has made your dream a reality! You can now see various restaurants around the world where robots greet you, and serve you food.
But are robots really capable of doing all that a human can? Can robots completely replace humans at workplace? The world’s first fully robot-staffed restaurant opened in Japan in 2015 where robots were being used as front desk staff, and luggage porters. However, with time, the hotel owners realized that although robots reduce the workload on human staff, they can’t completely eliminate them, at least as of now. The hotel now has fired half of its robot workforce, and replaced them with human staff.
Facial Recognition: Did you know that it’s not just your smartphone that uses facial recognition to verify identity? Just like how you would buy movie tickets at a kiosk in a theatre, hotels today are using self-service kiosks to dispense room keys. Once you book your room online, all you need to do to check-in to the hotel is scan your ID proof, pose for the camera, and ta-daa, you receive your room keys!
You also find that these days, many hotels don’t have the physical room keys like they did before. You can unlock you room by simply using the hotel’s mobile app, which is usually connected with Bluetooth. Hotels are making the check-in process more user friendly by eliminating the process of standing and waiting in long queues.
Virtual Reality: Wouldn’t it be nice to experience your hotel room even before you book it? With Virtual Reality taking over, more and more hotels are using this technology to allow their prospective customers to experience their hotel prior to booking the room! Virtual reality is used right from the booking stage, till the hotel stay! Fascinating, isn’t it?
2. Go Green: Over the last couple of years, we are seeing a shift towards sustainability and eco-friendly business practices, and the hospitality industry is no different. Today’s generation says that they are willing to shell out a couple of more pennies if they know that their hotel is working towards a more sustainable future.
While some hotels are donating and/or are recycling their used soaps, many hotels are replacing single use soap bars and shampoo bottles with larger bottles or wall mounted dispensers.
Many hotels, in order to make themselves more environment friendly and aesthetically appealing, are implementing vertical gardens. Hotels are reducing or eliminating the use of single-use plastic cutlery in their diners in order to reduce the hotel’s and the customer’s carbon footprint. They are switching from their plastic room key cards to paper key cards or other such eco-friendly alternatives. Hotels are also opting for smart light bulbs and smart heating to conserve energy.
3. Localization: Traveling today is not just about visiting a new place and seeing the attractions it offers. It is about learning the culture of the place, relishing the local cuisine, interacting with the locals, learning a new language, and exploring places that have never been travelled.
You wouldn’t want to walk in to a hotel in Vancouver that looks and feels just like the one you stayed in Santorini, would you? With the changing demands and expectations of customers, hotels are now incorporating the culture of the city in their interiors, or in the experience they provide. You may find pictures of the Tomatina festival on the walls of the hotels in Spain, or you may find local fruits such as the Durian in your breakfast buffet at Bali, or that the hotels in Rome have similar architecture to that of the Roman civilization.
Ritz Carlton, for example, has food trucks in its hotels in New York City – symbolic to what the Big Apple is loved for. You will not find these food trucks in any Ritz Carlton hotels elsewhere. While some hotels have their local dances being performed in their premises, other hotels arrange for excursions for their guests to experience the culture of the city they operate in. It can be as simple as arranging for free shuttles to the beaches of Pattaya, or arranging for a desert safari in Dubai.
4. Customization: Did you know that some hotels let you choose the particular type of pillows and blankets or the firmness of the mattress provided to you when you book your room? Certain hotels let you choose from different brands of toiletries, while some other chain of hotels conduct yoga classes and lend you yoga mats.
Hoteliers are being more understanding of customer problems and are offering all possible solutions. A particular hotel in Switzerland has gone one step further – it gives you 150 plus options to choose from in helping your stay feel more comfortable. It lets you add amenities such as a baby bath tub, a baby crib, a diaper changing table, or even select the snacks and drinks available in your mini bar. Convenience re-defined, eh?
Hotels also observe your consumption pattern – suppose you consume all the bananas from your fruit basket on your first day at the hotel, but leave the apples untouched – the next day, they stock your room with more bananas, no apples, and maybe add in another type of fruit.
With each customer being different and his tastes and interests being unique, standardization is no longer the norm. Hoteliers are going out of their way to offer their customers the best experience.
5. Bleisure: Bleisure is term coined by combining two words – business, and leisure. This is a trend seen mainly in the millennials where they initially visit a location for a business meeting, and extend their stay to make a vacation out of it. Bleisure travelers are always on the go, would want immediate services, and use google maps and other mobile apps for faster and better communication. These type of travelers are only expected to increase in the coming years.
6. Social Media: Around 50% of those who actively travel are aged between 18-34, and it is this age group that is the most active on social media. Positives or negatives, they go viral in a matter of minutes! With the influx of social media sites such as Instagram, luxury hotels are inviting social media influencers to stay in their hotel for free – in return, all they want is for the influencers to post pictures and posts about their stay.
Many social networks in the hospitality industry, such as TripAdvisor and Airbnb, are having a great impact on customers, by increasing transparency and enabling customers to take a more informed decision.
If you want to make a career in this challenging and ever-changing industry, we at Infimind Institute offer 2-month courses in different fields of Hospitality Management. On successful completion of the course, students are offered a job. An icing on the cake, the course is absolutely free, and the students are even paid a stipend of Rs. 1,500 – Rs. 2,000 after completing the course.