There’s no arguing that the past few years have been incredibly challenging for the hospitality industry. Facing disruption from a variety of factors, hoteliers have had to rethink their business models and technology to remain afloat. Despite these challenges, the hospitality industry is rebounding and proving to be resilient by adapting to its new normal. Demand for leisure and business travel is up, including corporate meetings, events, and conferences. While the outlook for 2023 remains bright, it’s important to keep in mind the trends evolving for the year ahead.
Read on to learn more about the key trends that we expect to see in 2023.
According to Chris Silcock, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer at Hilton, “Despite our increasingly digital world, travelers are still looking for human connections, experiences, and solutions that make them feel truly cared for.”
Customers want a frictionless experience, but relying on technology alone to deliver on those expectations is not enough. Hospitality businesses need to build connections with customers by infusing the human touch in their interactions.
What can you do to stay ahead: Use a hospitality CRM to streamline your transactional activities, and automate administrative tasks. This frees up cycles for your employees to engage with customers and provide the high touch service customers are looking for.
It’s common for hotels to use multiple systems and manual tools to manage customer and operational data. While it’s becoming increasingly popular for brands to use big data to identify trends and patterns in order to improve their business, it can be challenging when so much data is often unstructured. For example sentiment and emotion found in reviews is extremely valuable but is not as easy to measure.
What can you do to stay ahead: Invest in technology that can assist with big data analysis, enabling you to analyze structured and unstructured data together without worrying about its source or structure. This empowers leaders to make improvements related to “revenue management, targeted marketing, customer experience, additional services, and competition information.”
Customer expectations today are higher than ever. To win and retain customers, hospitality businesses are differentiating against the competition by infusing personalization in the customer experience.
What can you do to stay ahead: Capture your customer data in one place to create complete guest profiles. It’s also critical to take the time to cleanse customer data to make it useful for gaining insights into behavior. This enables your hotel or venue to send relevant offers and tailor the guest experience according to a customer’s individual preferences.
Going beyond personalization, many businesses in the hospitality industry are considering ways to appeal to niche markets, not just the masses. Big brands such as Hyatt are acquiring boutique hotels to offer specialized experiences such as unique dining and high-end design inspired by the hotel’s location.
What can you do to stay ahead: While not every brand is destined to be a boutique destination, consider the preferences of your customers and find ways to create and adapt the property to meet their needs. For example, if you host a lot of business travelers, it may make sense to offer frequent airport shuttle options (if near an airport), adequate work spaces outside of your hotel rooms, and flexible dining options for those on the go.
The closure of many corporate offices, and the shift to remote work means that people are no longer location-dependent to perform their jobs. This is introducing a new trend of customers that are flocking to travel destinations and combining work with leisure.
What can you do to stay ahead: Examine your data to understand whether guests are staying for business, pleasure, or both. Consider converting your unused meeting spaces into remote co-working areas to create a sense of community for those working onsite and/or converting suites to include deskspace.
After nearly two years of canceled business travel, conferences, and events, there is increased demand for gathering in person. In particular, the segment of “small, social, and corporate groups” is booking in significantly shorter windows ranging from 30-60 days prior to the event. This is expected to continue through 2023 with bookings returning to the “normal” cycle in 2024 and 2025.
In the short term, the increased demand is causing difficulties for hoteliers. A big complaint from customers is the long response times and poor communication with meeting planners.
What can you do to stay ahead: Don’t let increased demand be the reason for lost business or worse, reputational damage. Do you have tools to help you track your requests and streamline communication with customers? By simplifying routine tasks, it empowers your sales professionals to do what they do best: selling.
The degree to which these hospitality trends will impact you will depend on the nature of your business. Regardless, it makes sense to evaluate if your technology can support what lies ahead. If you haven’t already, consider investing in a hospitality CRM to centralize your customer data with your sales and operational data. For more information on a hospitality CRM that can do this for you, book a demo and let us show you what we do!