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  • Post last modified:May 24, 2021

You may belong to any industry but there is one industry which will have touched your life in some way or the other. It is the hospitality industry. In this article, we discuss the top trends of the hospitality industry in 2021 and beyond.

Some of these have been trending from the past couple of years and have become more relevant in the current year.A lot of these hot trends are driven through technology that is revamping the hospitality industry. Technology would play a crucial role in reshaping the hospitality and the hotel industry in the coming years especially after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

Organic food to a Gluten-free diet. From e-platforms to wellness spas; all are trendsetters in the hospitality industry. So, in the age of Big Data, Blockchain, Cloud Computing, Analytics and Shared Economy, what trends could be in store for hotels and restaurants?

  • Service Automation
  • Mobile Technology
  • Faster Internet
  • Virtual Concierge
  • Chatbots for customer service
  • Apps for guest

and lot’s more.

We will, however, go a step further to discuss the top fashions and fads of the hospitality industry.

The hospitality industry is composed of a wide set of services. This can include one out of the many hospitality industry sectors like hotels, theme parks, event planning, casinos, transportation etc. This industry also covers various services for the tourism industry.

Before we run through the top hospitality trends, let’s check some of the key statistics:

  • In 2018, the industry pundits predicted that the global hotel sector would rake in up to a whopping $550 billion US dollar over the year. This had grown even further in 2020 touching 1 Trillion before taking a dip in 2021 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • For comparison purposes, the value in 2011 was $457 billion US dollar according to global hotel industry statistics.

Now moving towards the top hospitality trends.

AI and Data Analytics one of the top Hospitality Technology Trends

This is probably the most important one in the hospitality technology trends list of 2021.

Artificial intelligence (AI) gave the information technology industry the much-needed rejuvenation and now AI is almost into everything.

There is a reason why we have begun with AI in hospitality as one of the latest hospitality technology trends.

There are multiple exciting technologies driven by AI set to reshape hospitality. These include.

  • Robotics in Hospitality- Think of Robot receptionists, Robot concierge, Robot butlers and more.
  • Exciting chatbots to enhance customer service
  • Personalised services through self-improving AI-based apps
  •  Backend efficiency to improve by greater use of AI driving down the costs.
  • Brand management can be simpler with great use of AI and machine learning.

AI is redefining the hospitality industry in many ways.

Well, our very own Hospitality industry is still cautious in terms of diving deep into AI.

However, a few of the hotels are already using or rather testing AI.

While AI is going to give new dimensions of the Hospitality industry through helping manage big data and in the management and integration of booking platforms, it will take customer service to the next level.

In-house apps by Hotels will probably integrate Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat etc. to make it easier for the guests to communicate with different hotel departments in real-time.

Apps like Alice are already helping out hotels streamlining the guest experience and in providing great customer support.

Image Courtesy- Hotel-Online

Data analytics is further helping the hotel industry to better understand customers and manage customer base effectively.

Hospitality industry through data analytics can now understand and serve the customer better. Can there be better news for an industry that thrives on service?

Automated Hotels are set to become more mainstream

Is it possible to have automated hotels? Would it be nice to have a hotel where you are greeted by Robots speaking hundreds of languages?

Henn na Hotels in Japan are pioneering this concept of automated hotels with robot as receptionists. While this might look like a pilot project but self-service kiosks at hotels, automated check-in eye scans and other technology disruptions always pushed towards this move.

We will have to wait and watch to see if this ignites a flurry of automated hotel chains like Henn na Hotels. Will the global chains embrace the concept is a question still to be answered?

Mobile Check-in will become more popular

Web check-in became a common thing in the Aviation sector which was later improvised to Mobile check-ins.

Mobile check-in has been an element in the hospitality industry for the past few years, however, it has become one of the major trends in the hotel industry as it is now more widely used as technology has advanced.

Mobile technology has now enabled hotels to introduce digital key.

Hilton Hotels already have this in the beta phase. All travellers need to do is to download an app and the barcode they receive upon booking can act as a digital key.

Image Courtesy- Mobile Check-in by Marriott Hotels 

Mobile check-in allows guests to book their own rooms directly from their smartphones in any nearby locations.

Adding this feature to the Arsenal can prove to be one of the Best Hotel Industry marketing strategies.

This is a hospitality technology trend that’s rocking the hotel sector.

All Hotel Managers and Restaurant owners must take note of this.

It’s so fascinating that something as simple as a door key could undergo such a tremendous breakthrough.

That’s the power of innovation.

Instead of using an electronic keycard, guests can now open their hotel room doors with their smartphones, tablets or smartwatches.

Amazing, isn’t it?

The keyless entry hospitality technology that debuted in 2014 is now being adopted by almost all major hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott, Accor etc.

Blockchain in the Hospitality Industry

We have heard a lot about Blockchain with over $2 billion invested already in Blockchain.

Now think of the issues within the hospitality industry due to fraudulent transactions. The cases are numerous.

With Blockchain as a digital ledger that is incorruptible, the hospitality industry is set to benefit if incorporated properly.

May it be payments, supply chain management or customer loyalty programme Blockchain might very well revolutionize the Hospitality industry.

We have already covered a lot about this latest technology in our other article on how Blockchain is changing the Hospitality Industry.

Enhanced In-Room Technology

Today, guests are expecting top-notch in-room technology and entertainment owing to the vast technological advancements.

It is one of the top innovation in the hospitality industry.

Guests are expecting to be supplied with on-demand streamlining services, fast internet, custom lighting, smart mirrors and in-room tablets that are all designed to improve the in-room experience.

The technology is supposed to be tailored to each guest before the guest’s arrival.

The future Hotel will know each of its guests taste and will have the technology in place.

If you are not a technology fan, you would still find a newspaper/magazine in place of a Tablet.

The millennial will, however, be ready for a technology treat overtime they check-in to their favourite hotel.

We leave you with a video from Samsung showcasing the latest Hospitality technology solutions

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality to enhance the travel experience

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are not science fiction anymore.

The hospitality industry has already introduced these latest technologies.

VR and AR are set to dominate as one of the latest technology trends in the travel and hospitality industry in the coming years.

Japan has come up with a great Travel experience which teleports travellers to multiple global destinations.

You can take a two-hour flight where you can travel around the globe in a virtual environment.

You can have takeoff and landing experience, lovely meal as well as the city tour of your favourite city.

In a similar experiment, Marriott Hotels have come up with virtual reality travel right from the room.

Now, this virtual reality although not a new technical term, has never realised the expanse it can achieve.

2022 may be the year when more and more organisations start using the same to enhance the customer experience.

The Rise of the Round-the-Clock, Virtual Concierge

The hospitality industry is facing cutthroat competition. Especially after the COVID-19 led slowdown.

The Hotel industry is extremely competitive. Thus, Information technology in the Hotel industry is more important than ever today.

Hotels can attract a new breed of customers by integrating technology in all aspects.

However, technology is in an invariable state of flux and is constantly unlocking new opportunities aimed at improving customer satisfaction and boosting internal efficiency.

So how does technology make a difference when it comes to beating the competition?

Simply put, technology makes life easier for many guests, and here is how.

When it comes to hospitality technology for hotels, the virtual concierge is all the rage right now. And for good reason. 

With this nifty hotel tech, guests don’t have to walk to or call the helpdesk.

That’s right; the virtual concierge does everything, it helps guests make dining reservations, ask for driving directions, check entertainment tickets, book spa appointments as well as order in-room service, housekeeping, additional towels, and whatnot.

Virtual concierge is so hot right now in hospitality tech that it has aroused the attention of Caesars Entertainment, Yotel, Aloft, and other Top hotel chains

It certainly takes the pressure off of hotel staff, so they can focus better on other people-facing tasks.

This is definitely the hospitality technology to watch out for over the next years.

Use of IoT and Smart Things to Spruce Up Personalised Experiences

Today’s tech-savvy guests, especially millennials, are often looking for the personalised hotel experience. 

That’s where the use of Internet of Things (Or IoT) and smart in-room gadgets come in handy. 

By creating customised stays, hotels can boost loyalty and encourage future bookings.

Image Courtesy- WebNMS 

IoT is already impacting multiple industries in positive ways. The impact of IoT on the hospitality industry is expected to increase over the coming years.

The latest advancements of IT in the hotel industry have played an instrumental role in enhancing the guest experience.

The hotels can now grab the attention of the guests right from the time they visit the website. Winning customers loyalty is now within reach of all the hotels.

Information Technology in the Hotel industry has made it easy to cover all the touchpoints for the Guest experience.

These include pre-stay, during stay and post-stay. From booking to entering the room to check out and user review, there are various touchpoints that can be covered using technology.

These apps deliver everything, from emergency info to deal notification and hotel services.

Hospitality Technology is all about making the customer experience better. After all, service is the key to success in the hospitality industry.

Greater use of Information Systems in the Hospitality Industry

Greater use of IT in the Hotel industry has ensured easier entry of the Information Systems even in Budget hotels.

Information systems were previously a thing only in the reach of luxury hotels.

Now all hospitality organisations and hotels are relying on automation for a lot of operations like:

  • Reservations and Booking entries
  • Employee payrolls
  • Point of Sales System (PoS)
  • Property Management System (PMS)
  • Global Distribution System

And similar automation tools.

Commoditization of software has made it easier for even Limited-Service Hotels and Select Service Hotels to have guests experience enhancing and analytics software installed on top of the regular point of sale software.

We have another post dedicated to Information Systems in the Hotel industry that discusses this in detail.

Information Technology in the Hotel Industry is becoming more and more important to gain a competitive edge.

Hoteliers are becoming more and more competent in terms of handling IT to skyrocket their businesses.

The Hotel industry has acknowledged the importance of IT which is a win-win situation for all.

Hotels can now focus on providing quality Hospitality services and best experience and leave the rest to the Information Technology.

Cloud computing today impacts almost all companies and all devices.

So, whether it’s about social media or your money website, you must be aware of the benefits of cloud computing.

This is even more important for the hospitality and travel industry. We are sure that most of you agree on the same by now.

Direct booking is trending more than ever

The most obvious manifestation of information technology in the hotel industry is in the bookings. The internet has helped to make it easy to access information.

Data containing the check-in and check-out times, hotel rates, facilities and amenities on offer, as well as other vital information allows guests to make informed choices.

By default, people now rely on various online platforms and best Travel Websites to look for accommodation and make bookings; therefore, the hotel industry has capitalised on this.

However, Direct booking is becoming one of the Latest Marketing trends in the Hotel industry.

Smartphones will be used more than ever in 2021 and thus become a crucial trendsetter for the hospitality industry.

The concept of travel agencies is not unfamiliar. Many customers make direct bookings through these agencies.

These agencies make a lot of money by taking a reasonable percentage of commission from what the hotels earn.

This trend in the hospitality industry is going to stay strong for 2021 as well.

Research shows that a single customer visits at least 38 travel agency websites before deciding on the final purchase.

The all-round growth of the hospitality industry is hot and trending

The hospitality industry is going to fire on all cylinders in 2022 and beyond. It’s set to bounce back in 2022 post the Covid effect.

Innovative Budget concepts like Tru by Hilton and many others are clear indicators of the trends in the hospitality industry.

More Growth means more hospitality jobs. While the world complains about unemployment, the trend of hospitality industry shows a completely different picture. There are millions of more jobs on offer in the future.

You can sense the surge in the Hospitality industry by the number of hotels opening around the globe.

Let alone the globe, upcoming hotels in UAE are good indicators of how well the hotel industry is doing with its growth rate.

The Middle East alone has close to 100,000 rooms under construction at the current stage.

Consumer-Facing Technology | A top trend in the hospitality industry

This is an extension of a few of the previous point but with a greater focus on customer-facing technology.

Technology has affected us all tremendously.

You might be reading this article on your smartphones or tablets on the go.

When the world is being disrupted by technology innovation, why should hospitality fall behind?

The new trend in hospitality is taking strides to make the hospitality industry more tech-savvy.

Consumers are using various software and applications that help them find the best hospitality services.

Have you seen self-service check-ins and kiosks in hotels?

Do you use the vending machines for your drinks and snacks while travelling? Do you use hospitality aggregators for finding the best prices of hotels and flights online?

Do you check in to your flight carrier online and make hassle-free online payments?

There is much more to be seen in the travel and hospitality industry in the future as spending on consumer-facing technology will be coming up as one of the hottest craze in the hospitality industry in 2021 and beyond.

You would be able to select rooms online, will have access to e-menu, can have virtual travelling experience and much more in the future.

This particular trend has been on a peak in the past and is all set to continue to strengthen. These technologies greatly influence customer behaviour.

Niche and Boutique Hospitality is becoming a rage

Personalised and niche Travel agencies are becoming very popular. Even more so, as they dive into niche marketing.

Think in terms of:

  • Ice Hotels
  • Tree Houses
  • Boutique Hotels
  • Ghost Tourism
  • Green and Sustainable Tourism

Similarly, there are niche hospitality segments for retired personnel, health enthusiasts, extreme sports and so on.

There is a very strong link between the hospitality and tourism industry. It depends on the hospitality organisations how they take advantage of this trend.

Alternative Lodging is becoming very popular 

Alternative lodging such as Airbnb has become popularised by the market sharing economy.

It is said to be the Uber of the hospitality industry.

Alternative lodging has become a force that cannot be ignored as it has gripped a vital share of the market.

The low commission structure gives alternative accommodation companies an upside when it comes to attracting and maintaining new customers.

Such platforms have also streamlined the booking and purchasing process, which has helped to make them popular with travellers.

There are various interesting alternate lodging options like apartment sharing, B&Bs, Academic Rentals, Farm Stays and many more.

Airbnb has organised what was a rather unorganised sector on the boundary of the hotel industry.

Sooner or later the Hotel industry will have to accept alternative lodging as an integral part of the Hotel industry.

The divide between alternative lodging and the hotel industry is diminishing day by day. It is better to acknowledge this as one of the latest Hotel industry trends.

Expect this to be a major force among the top hotel industry trends in 2021 and beyond.

Conclusion

While global hotel data suggest that hospitality trends vary from region to region, here are blazing hot topics that will define the industry itself for quite some time.

Mobile gadgets and application will bridge the customer focus gap, enabling personalised guest services.

As you might expect, mobile transcends all aspects of the guest experience in hospitality and, of course, travel – with 75% of search, reservation, and booking, and 60% of revenues forecast to channel through mobile devices.

And this is not a very recent data and is based on a study by PWC, a trusted consulting firm.

That implies that you need to stay on the mobile cutting edge to tap into a niche that includes Millennials, business travellers, mobile-centric travellers, and so forth.

DRM – What many industry pundits call Dynamic Rate Marketing will pitch a tent in the global hotel industry. And, is here to stay.

It’s the technology that allows hoteliers to market their hotel rates on the fly. Did we mean that we already not have this in practice? Well, yes and now. The idea was there but the technology to support the same was missing. Not anymore though.

Hope you found the new trends in the hospitality industry exciting and interesting.

There is much more to technology and trends in the hospitality industry than what has been mentioned in this post.

Expect a lot of new technology trends to make ways in 2021 and beyond. 

However, as far as growth in the hospitality industry is concerned, technology to help understand the customer better using data analytics seems like a clear winner for the future.

Exciting times ahead!

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