The 10 biggest hotel trends in 2017

Skift, the largest travel intelligence platform, continuously addresses this question and, based on developments in the previous year, articulated 10 major trends for 2017.

In what direction is the hospitality industry moving in the near future? Skift, the largest travel intelligence platform, continuously addresses this question and, based on developments in the previous year, articulated 10 major trends for 2017. There is no doubt that the current year promises to bring about big changes.

1. Community focus

Expect to see increased investments within the industry on communal areas and spaces that bring people together. Hotels are realizing that they have an edge over home shares such as Airbnb in that they are community-based, for instance that there is a central lobby where strangers can really gather and meet. Hotels will attempt to take advantage of this trait and create more of an experience where guests can feel like they actually live there.

2. It’s all about design

Nice design is not exclusive to elegant boutique hotels anymore. No matter whether the hotel is luxury or budget, guests now expect a certain standard of design and want it to look and feel good. Design defines a hotel’s brand and guests are inclined to interpret it to fit their opinion of what the hotel is really like, and if it’s the right style for them. Now that home furnishing and fashion names like West Elm and Karl Lagerfeld have entered the industry, the bar for good design will be raised even higher in 2017.

3. Holistic experiences

Now that Airbnb has launched Trips, where tourists can engage in tours and activities provided by locals, hotels should be aware that they need to focus on offering deeper experiences, not just inside but also outside of the hotel.

4. Concepts of loyalty need to be revamped

Loyalty programs remain at the heart of many hotel companies’ strategies and will continue to do so. Most airline loyalty programs reward large spending over anything else. Financially that makes sense, but it won’t win customers hearts. If hotel brands want true loyalty from their guests, they need to develop a reward system that differs to that of American Airlines, Delta or United. Hotels have had to adapt to changing consumer behaviors and expectations. In 2017, hotels have a huge opportunity to define what real hotel loyalty is like.

5. Back to the roots

Sometimes one forgets that at the core of the hospitality industry it is all about people. Hotels need to focus on the human aspect more. Real disruption and innovation doesn’t depend on great technology but on the service, and the people delivering it. Hotels need to empower employees to be creative and deliver genuine hospitality.

6. Reshaping the idea of ‘local’

Along the same lines as bringing back more humanity into the industry, hotels need to think about the local community rather than only aiming to create a local touch through artisanal products and locally produced, free-range bacon. In hospitality, focus has almost entirely been put on travelers from a different city or country, thereby missing out on addressing the needs of local inhabitants. Locals might not need a room but a service and hotels should act more as community centers and make lives easier for anyone, not only its guests.

7. Lean, smart luxury

Today’s luxury is about offering travelers a more authentic luxury experience without the over-the-top messages, logos and in-your face kind of style. Exquisite products, incredible designs and little touches will remain at the essence of luxury but they are already expected by luxury travelers. Lean luxury is defined by everything else that transcends the aforementioned: It is all about personalized service, craftsmanship and storytelling. Hotels need to have an appropriate brand story that fits in with the local environments.

8. The Smarthotel

We can expect to see more on-demand technologies to be implemented in 2017. Hotels have made large investments in beacon technologies, messaging and/or streaming in-room entertainment and will continue to do so.

9. More brands

Large chains such as Hilton will leverage their portfolio of brands to increase their market share and get more people to try their products. In 2017 we should also see more non-traditional hotel brands entering the market such as Karl Lagerfeld and West Elm.

10. Big data

People have developed the expectation that brands should know them and know what they like. We have an extraordinary amount of information that needs to be analysed by data scientists. Big data has to be used efficiently and as brands now have access to people’s mobile phones, they can really deliver personalization.
As we can see, there is a clear trend towards deeper, more authentic relationships between hotels and their guests as people want to have personalized experiences that go beyond just the hotel and feel as much at home as possible during their stays. This certainly shows us that we are on track as hotels are able to create more meaningful, individual exchanges through the use of our beacon-run software. It will be interesting to see how hotels aim to address these trends but we are sure to witness major changes this year.
Source: Skift article