5 LATEST TRENDS IN HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY
It is well-established fact that the hospitality industry is a very competitive business & the various niche industries which are part of this umbrella term i.e. Hospitality Industry needs to keep up with the latest trends in the area of hospitality to avoid being a laggard. Along with this, keeping pace with the industry as a whole is the best way to ensure that the business delivers the kind of customer experience & satisfaction the guest wants and expects. However, the basic requirements and necessities of customers & guests have changed due to COVID and the already competitive business has become a more demanding business. In this hospitality blog, we will talk about both the COVID and some other in general related latest trends that are being adopted in the hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry is a broad industry and includes anything & everything from hotels and other accommodation types to restaurants, bars, travel agencies, and tour guides& tour operators. Following the latest hospitality trends in response to the ever-changing expectations of customers, due to this corona pandemic, is essential, if a hotel or a restaurant wants to be in competition.
1. Safety & Hygiene in the Hospitality Industry.
There are a number of hospitality trends that can be broadly described as being related to safety and hygiene and these have become very important with the emergence of COVID, as the world fights with the virus and efforts are being made to contain the spread of the disease. It is essential that these things now become a priority for hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes & other hospitality businesses.
Precautions, as well as certain behavioral changes here, should include the provision of hand gel, increased cleaning of areas where customers & guests will be, implementing policies related to wearing masks or other necessary protective equipment, and ensuring social distancing rules are followed in letter & spirit. Any special rules need to be made clear ahead of time and shall be enforced to make people feel safe.
2. Contactless Payments in the Hospitality Industry.
As the contactless payments have taken the world by a revolution, the biggest hospitality trends are concerned with restricting friction & contactless payment is one of the biggest examples of these new trends. Contactless payments reduce the need to carry cash & thus payment options are also becoming easy and more secure. Less amount of cash payments means less cash handling task for the front office or any staff at the point of sale. When contactless payments are accepted, customers save time on sorting through their cash or entering their PIN. The emergence of things like Phone Pe, Paytm and Google Pay has reduced even the need to carry a wallet.
Not only contactless payments reduce friction and improve & enhance the guests experience, the coronavirus pandemic has also pressed for the need of contactless payments. Many guests and staff members feel uncomfortable handling cash and providing the option for contactless payments can be seen as a need rather than a luxury.
3. Voice Search & Voice Control in the Hospitality Industry.
The use of voice search is becoming increasingly common among customers searching for and booking hotels and restaurants, so you need to respond to this change in behavior and make a clear attempt to capture these customers. This means, among other things, structuring your website content clearly, so it features properly in voice search results.
Beyond this, voice control can also be used to control devices within hotel rooms, enhancing the guest experience. For example, smart speakers can provide guests with answers to questions and can also respond to voice requests to turn on lights and devices within the room. This can also reduce the number of surfaces guests touch too.
4. Automation & Robots in Hotel & Restaurants in the Hospitality Industry.
Automation ranks high up on the list of hospitality trends to be aware of and robotics is a good example of this being taken further. Hotels, restaurants and similar businesses can use robots to greet customers and provide customer information, while they can also play a vital role in security operations too.
Within the hotel setting, robots have been used to offer room service and perform cleaning and other housekeeping chores. Meanwhile, restaurants can potentially use robots to carry out aspects of foodservice. This can be especially useful when dealing with restaurant customers who are trying to reduce close contact with people as much as possible.
A chatbot is one of another major emerging hospitality trend linked with guest service and has become useful for swift responses to frequently asked questions or monotonous questions, allowing human staff can be engaged in some better utilitarian work. Well established institutions of the tourism & travel industry along with the hotels are using this as a starting point of moving along with technology in times of contactless services being in demand. Not only this the chatbots can store the information for future reference as well and can also process the information for further human response.
Those associated with the hospitality industry need to get themselves acquainted with the increased number of questions customers can ask about coronavirus and restrictions within hotels and restaurants too. Chatbots are able to answer the most frequent & fundamental questions in the area concerned within a few clicks, thus reducing stress levels of guests as well as professionals of the hospitality industry.
Mobile Check-In Service
One of the areas which are of concern in this time of COVID is to maintain minimal contact between the guest and the hospitality staff and also providing the same level of the guest experience as the hotels or restaurants used to be known for. Offering a mobile check-in service has emerged as one of the most useful hospitality trends thus reducing the need for human-to-human contact and also reducing the check-in or check-out time for a guest, thus increasing efficiency & better utilization of human resources. Mobile check-in service is hassle-free, convenient, available anytime, reduces work pressure on the staff & utilization of artificial intelligence & latest technology get added as a plus point to the properties USP.
With that being said, even in more normal times, mobile check-ins can allow customers to benefit from self-service and will make the arrival part of the customer experience much faster. For this to be successful, you will need to provide customers with access to an app.
5. Local Experience in the Hospitality Industry.
Local Experience, living like a local, observing daily life, staying in the homestays, forming a bond & a relationship with the local people has also emerged as a new niche or trend in the hospitality & tourism industry, thus providing the experience of being a local to the travelers & customers & also indirectly promoting the community-based hospitality tourism & also generating revenue for the locals at the same time. People want to experience a life full of new experiences, lessons, new things, new occupations by living a life like the locals for a few days in a different location. Motive being getting the hands-on experience of what the local life at that particular location actually feels like.
Businesses from different niches & backgrounds in the hospitality industry are responding to this, in order to cater to these demands. Hotels are providing & using locally made products, while other options like Airbnb and farmhouse accommodation can offer a more authentic guest experience. Moreover, travel agents, tour guides, and tour operators help travelers to take part in local activities, be part of the local festivals, rituals, and other daily chores of the local people thus engaging people into the local culture as well.
It is very crucial for those who are in the hospitality industry to keep up & pace with the latest hospitality trends so that they do not fall behind competitors or laggards. While the hospitality industry itself is diverse & an umbrella industry, the five above-cited trends in this blog will surely improve the customer experience and improve customer & guest satisfaction and make guests a potential future guest as well.