Our industry is constantly changing and adapting to movements and developments. 2020 is a revolutionary year because it will firmly cement several growing trends that cannot be ignored if you want to stay relevant.
Trend #1 Guests Will Get Serious About Sustainability
People aren’t willing to ignore the global issues we face and the social responsibility they feel you have. Showing your efforts in this space will establish trust and help your guests do “their part” as they travel.
Millennials who travel not only want boutique hotels that manage their impact but that also communicate their initiatives. Point out where you’ve made changes because this group believes the success of a business should be measured by how it impacts the world.
Expand how you engage with the environmentally mindful traveler. Consider:
- Monitoring the use of water
- Removing single-use plastics from rooms and dining areas
- Sourcing food from local farms
- Offering vegan options
Trend #2 Digital Will Define the Customer Experience
The future of the hospitality industry leans heavily on technology. Mobile will continue its influence on how guests book and experience their stays. A growing subset in the digital space is the use of personalized hotel smartphones available for all guests. These allow hoteliers to have a stronger connection to their guests during their visit.
Yes, guests have their own phones, but allowing them the use of hotel smartphones allows you to:
- Promote ancillary services and commercial offers
- Collect statistical data about user behaviors
- Reach guests inside and outside your hotel
- Send personalized geolocated communications
An added bonus for foreign travelers is free calling and data. Some smartphones can be used at hotspots.
Trend #3 Travelers Will Want a Culturally Immersive Experience
Travelers are shifting from amenities to experiences. High-income travelers are saying they would rather spend their money on happenings than on upgraded rooms. Boutique hotels are uniquely positioned to capitalize on this trend because of their proximity to cultural hotspots and local attractions.
Partner with cultural centers and other local guides or experts and create experience packages. Or better yet, merge travelers’ love of cultural immersion with your digital offerings and use hotel smartphones to load your city’s best local experiences and attractions.
Geolocated points of interest allow users to be guided easily from attraction to attraction and back home to you. This allows you to be the hotel offering a culturally immersive experience, with the mobility and autonomy people desire.
Trend #4 There Will Be a Bigger Focus on Direct Bookings
There will be a growing focus on well-designed websites with a high-quality booking engine. Ensure your visitors have a smooth experience and highlight your brand to increase visitors’ recall.
Revisit your site to make sure the experience is seamless. Become fluent in SEO placement, email marketing, and social media campaigns to increase your brand’s awareness. Offer rewards to loyal customers, so they will be attracted to booking only through your site.
Boutique hotels need to be listed on metasearch engines (search aggregators) to increase their visibility and online footprint.
Trend #5 Boutique Hotels Should Become Insta-Worthy
Consumers will continue their photo and hashtag craze. Hoteliers are recognizing how these influencers can attract business organically through clever and posed photos.
You don’t need an overhaul or remodel. A few creative touches will up your hashtag prominence. Unusual elements outside like local plants or an artist’s mural can do the trick. Inside, focus on original food and drink items or different textures and colors in common spaces.
Customers are always evolving, and the most successful hoteliers stay ahead of trends. Make the most of them in 2020!