Over the past twenty years, the hotel distribution model has been undermined by OTAs. Airbnb and its emulators have become major competitors and a global pandemic has forced hotels operating in many key markets out of business almost overnight for a very long time.
Yet the hotel industry continues to grow by adapting and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by new trends. Among the many hotel developments taking place in various regions, here are 5 trends in the hospitality industry for 2023.
1. The digital nomads
As large employers such as PwC adopt hybrid working models and others such as Airbnb commit to teleworking policies, there is a huge opportunity for the travel industry, and in particular hotels, to embrace this new generation of mobile workers.
Many jobs cannot be done remotely, the knowledge and service economy is not affected, particularly through the use of video conferencing and collaborative working applications, which have become widespread during lockdowns.
For hotel managers, it is not enough to install a good Wi-Fi connection to seize this opportunity. The mindset has also changed significantly: this new generation of remote workers is interested in the notion of community. They want to be surrounded by like-minded people and live in a more balanced way. However, when they have to work to a deadline, they don’t necessarily want to be surrounded by holiday makers!
In other words, the era of boring and uninviting hotel business centers is over. There is a need for more imaginative coworking spaces to emerge. Create flexible suites that can include an office, workspace, or functional meeting space if required.
2. The growth of wellness tourism
For some years now, many hotels have wanted to reorient themselves toward health and wellness tourism.
However, hotels need to understand that such a shift is not as simple as it sounds and is not without risk. It all depends on location: most hotels cannot afford to hire full-time medical and wellness experts, can such professionals be found nearby? In addition, several brands have already successfully entered this field. It is therefore important to find out about the local competition before making a significant financial investment.
It is better to consider smaller changes that can attract health-conscious customers without breaking the bank: light well-being. For example, offering healthier products in the minibar is an initiative that can create a positive effect on your brand. In addition, pillow and mattress menus are increasingly common today, so why not go a step further and offer circadian rhythm bedtime and wake-up rituals?
Your investments should pay off, as health-conscious guests statistically tend to spend more than the average. This is because they are willing to pay for yoga sessions and personal trainers, and they choose a hotel’s catering options because they are convinced that it is healthier than that of untested local competitors.
3. Technology for spas and wellness
We are now much more concerned about our health and well-being. This trend has been accelerated by the combination of the Covid pandemic and the explosion of wearable fitness technologies.
For the spa and wellness industry, this new reality represents an opportunity and a threat.
Why? Because new technologies such as hyperbaric chambers, cryotherapy, etc., are more effective than many “traditional” spa rituals and treatments. In addition, the use of these scientifically proven treatments can also create fewer, but more interesting and better-paid jobs in the spa and wellness sectors. This last point is essential for these sectors, which are struggling to attract employees due to the “talent war” in the hotel industry.
4. The deployment of technological innovations in hotels
The hotel sector does not have a good relationship with technology.
A hotel needs a warmer welcome and a much higher degree of personalization. If you’re a guest, why not give you the option of check-in from a smartphone app while you’re still in your taxi from the airport? That way, you know you have a room and when you arrive you go straight to it without waiting.
More importantly, if you want to interact with someone, you need to have staff in the lobby, not behind the desk, to welcome you, answer your questions and suggest the best places to eat, drink or sightsee. As a guest, this immediately gives you the impression that the hotel is well-integrated into the local community.
This type of customer-facing position requires excellent soft skills (as well as a thorough knowledge of the area) and is therefore more rewarding professionally and even financially.
5. Transformational marketing
We often say that hotels are part of the “experience economy”, a term coined by Pine & Gilmore just before the early 2000s.
More recently, the same authors have developed the notion of the “transformation economy”, whereby experiences move from simple pleasure to true personal transformation.
What implications does this have for hotel marketing? We will see a shift in discourse to amplify this notion of transformation through travel experiences, particularly about health and well-being. Communication will also become even more personalized, down to a granular level, especially in the luxury sector. The advantage of digitization is that it facilitates this kind of action.
The discourse will therefore evolve into something like: “I notice that you are traveling because you want something new in your life. We can accompany you on that journey by allowing you to rest, take care of your health and fitness, or by allowing you to work while seeking to develop your career.”
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