If you're working on your vacation plans for this season, you may be wondering what new products and services to expect in accommodations. New smart technology continues to lead the field of new hotel offerings, but being able to check-in remotely or craft your own cocktail are just a few of the new hot trends in the hotel industry this year.
What services and trends to look for when you book your hotel this season
1. More technology. Technology continues to impact the hotel industry. Look for more interactive technology that allows guests to check-in while en route to the hotel as well as control room temperature and lights via their smartphones. Hotels are also adopting more SaaS (Software as a Service) options, where sensitive customer information is stored in the cloud rather than in potentially hackable servers crowded in a back room.
2. More sharing. The trend towards shared accommodations, as made popular with Airbnb, continues to thrive, with younger travellers continuing to seek unique experiences and affordable places to stay. In fact, the so-called "Sharing Economy" is a growing trend in a variety of business sectors.
3. More niche accommodations. Segmentation in the hotel industry is increasing also. There are hotels designed for health and fitness lovers, hotels for nature enthusiasts, hotels for book lovers and even hotels for gen-xers.
4. More and simpler dining options. Lavish, menu-driven, full-service restaurants are increasingly being replaced by smaller, more casual eateries with family-friendly and to-go options. The line between the hotel bar and restaurant is also blurring, with food and drink service available in informal, lounge-like cafes with WiFi access. Snacking and small plates are replacing formal, multi-course meals.
5. More direct interaction with customers. Smartphone technology has made it possible for hotels to interact in real time with their guests. Hotels are using this option to let guests order their food before their arrival in the restaurant, request housekeeping and maintenance services, and even create their own cocktail or menu item.
6. More incentives for direct booking. Hotels that have traditionally relied on travel agents and third parties to fill their rooms are increasingly encouraging travellers to call them directly to make a reservation. Many properties are offering upgrades, gifts and other incentives for being able to interact directly with their guests.
If you've always had the impression that hotels are among the last of the travel segments to embrace change, it's time to think again. The hotel industry is offering more interaction with guests, more technology and more dining options this year than ever before.