Times are changing, people are well-informed. Due to an overload of information littering our timelines across all social platforms, this year will see the hospitality industry become entirely focused on the guest experience. There has been a great shift regarding the level of service accommodation establishments provide, and in order to stay relevant and profitable, hotels will need to give their consumers a little more than a suite with high-quality beds, dressers, upholstered chairs, flat-screen televisions and en-suite bathrooms. The guest experience is now based on so much more than just a place to sleep.
Independent establishments will be able to adapt to these trends faster and more easily than that of their larger-scale franchising counterparts. It’s the perfect opportunity for smaller establishments and independents to capitalise on said trends and stay ahead of the pack.
Through extensive research and empirical experience in the hospitality industry, we can guarantee that these are the top 5 trends that will influence your guest experience this year. Make sure to do everything in your power to adapt to and accommodate the following:
An experience-focused stay
Owing to the likes of Airbnb, accommodation establishments will now need to offer more than just a good night’s rest, breakfast and an option to a spa treatment. They will need to include tour packages, recommended activity itineraries, valuable insight into the local area, and gourmet food experiences at affordable prices. This is what millennials look out for when planning a trip.
Why should they have to look elsewhere for tips and advice on what to do and where to dine? After all, the hotel is their base and hotels should be striving to offer the full experience. Let’s take a quick look at the advantages of this adaption:
- An incredible chance to link up and build mutually beneficial relationships with like-minded industry players. Hotels aren’t expected to supply all these niche services themselves. Make use of local businesses offering things like quad biking, horse riding, bus tours and more. You give them business, and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll send business your way too.
- Hotels could also work out deals (commission structured) with local service providers and therefore advertise these services themselves. Try to work hand in hand with said businesses and take a fee (percentage) of the activity rate.
Health and well-being
It’s no surprise that because of the endless well of information that millennials are exposed to, they are taking their health more seriously. We are in an age where health and well-being are a priority. Besides equipping your establishment with a state of the art gym facility, it’ll go a long way if you consider including the following into your guest’s experience:
- Healthy food options. Incorporate sugar-free, gluten-free meals into your menu. We’re not talking about one or two options here. It’s worth reassessing your entire menu. Keep things interesting by going exotic. There’s no limit to how experimental you can be – you’ll get away with it because that’s what the new generation is in to (that is, artisanal and craft food experiences).
- Millennials are obsessed with yoga, so you should consider offering it. There’s no such thing as a 9-5 anymore and that is why the new generation is so stressed out all the time. They’re constantly on the go, they go out five nights a week, and that is why “healthy mind – healthy body” is at the forefront of their minds. Yoga not only de-stresses the mind but it’s also a form of exercise, leading to a more toned body.
- Spa and wellness centre. A place that offers peace of mind, vitality, pleasure, and health. Offer your guests things like Turkish baths, full-body massages, jet showers etc. This is an expensive undertaking, but the profits are immense!
Personalised guest experiences
Individuals nowadays have embraced a love of authenticity. With the likes of social media having a substantial influence on individualism, people are now making a living by just being themselves! See what we mean here. What does this mean for the hospitality industry?
- Hotels and accommodation establishments will need to tailor their services to their guest’s individual needs. It’s worth researching how best to customise experiences 100% to your clients’ personality. Think about writing personal notes. Get your staff to call your clients ahead of their stay to find out what their preferences are in terms of food, drink, toiletries etc. It’s worth asking your guests what the reason for their stay is. If it’s a celebration, or for work, then cater for that.
- You never know who may be staying at your establishment. It could be a social influencer, and if so, you best believe that they will document every minute of it, taking pictures and sharing it with their following. Be sure to treat every single guest like they’re a Hollywood star.
Guest Experience Data
There’s no better way to inform your decisions than with data. Accumulate information through social trends. Data is everywhere. Use this to your advantage. Through data science, establishments can bring themselves closer to the following:
- Personalised choices
- Being an attractive option to the modern-day consumer
- Through property management data, you can forecast what lies ahead
- Establish and refine your target market
- Create and capitalise on specials that are current and relevant to your target market
Consumers are unfortunately becoming less patient and expect satisfaction as fast as they can click a button or swipe left. Guests expect an experience that is speedy, world class and as mentioned above, personalised.
Running a successful hotel isn’t easy; operations need to run like clockwork and planning is pivotal to ensuring that guests are constantly satisfied. At 3S POS we offer an innovative hospitality EPOS system that makes the management of your hotel more seamless. We’re able to integrate our EPOS system with most property management systems in the market and its key features are as follows:
- Intuitive graphical table service order management
- Handheld ordering tablets to speed up table service
- Staff management with rota and biometric attendance
- Live table booking system with smart table configurations
- Kitchen display systems to empower your chefs for efficient kitchen management
- Purchase ordering and supplier management
- Stock control with first-in/first-out accuracy
Don’t get left behind. It’s imperative you adapt to these trends, as they are shaping the future of the hospitality industry. It’s quite exciting, and the more enthusiastic hotels are about this change, the more innovative and in demand they’ll be.
Image credit: Maarten van den Heuvel