The hospitality industry is facing several external trends that are steadily reshaping the customer experience and how hoteliers serve their customer base.
The Millennial Generation
Companies in the hospitality industry are adapting and evolving to meet the preferences of millennials — a generation with vastly different expectations than those that preceded it. Today’s up-and-coming cohort are tech savvy and are seeking an “experience.” Hospitality companies that offer guest-facing technologies are attractive to Millennials, who feel that life experiences outweigh material possessions. This is great news for the market, but it is important to realize the changing risk landscape that accompanies this evolution. Hotels may invest in additional services that can be offered on their property or partner with local businesses to offer discounted promotions to help young travelers plan their getaway.
Personalization is also very important to this generation to tailor their experience. Personal touches are key; to make rooms feel more like home, guests are even able to replace wall art with personal photos. Imagine a photo of Fido instead of a generic beach print — the options are endless and give guests the experience they seek.
In recent years, hotels have been feeling the heat from the online homestay marketplace. Sites such as Airbnb, Homestay, HomeAway, and HouseTrip are posing a threat to tried-and-true hoteliers.
Customer engagement is now front and center. It is actively changing the hospitality industry, bringing with it more customizable and streamlined services that meet the demands of the younger generation. Hoteliers should expect this trend to continue — college students and young professionals are keen on the shared economy and find uniqueness desirable.
Tech: The Driving Influence
The industry is making strides by thinking out of the box; hotel brands are acquiring or striking deals with boutique properties, which appeal to younger consumers. One of the game changers is social media. Travel experiences should motivate guests to snap shots and post on Instagram, Facebook, and other sites — all of which can boost the company’s brand and drive business growth.
Not sure what to expect from hoteliers these days? Tablet-based kiosks and mobile check-in give guests convenience while enhancing their stay. Hilton features a “Connected Room” and Marriott offers its “Internet of Things” room. Now, room temperature, lighting, TV, etc., provide what more and more customers are looking for – personalization.
The Staffing Challenge
The Leisure and Hospitality sector is in the midst of a growth curve, which invites other challenges, such as a deficit in experienced personnel. While job opportunities abound for these hospitality professionals, hotel companies that have limited resources will feel the struggle.
It’s time to get creative! Looking at referral-based hires and implementing retention programs to keep employees happy. As we know, happy employees often translate into more productive employees. Use similar techniques to inspire staff to create exciting and memorable experiences for guests — turn to technology to keep up with the times. Mobile apps can be put in place to ease scheduling and benefits, as well as to feature incentive programs.
Remember: as times change so do practices. Employers should think of how to ease the stress of a growing cashless society in an industry that is historically reliant on tips as a vital form of compensation.
At Acadia Insurance, we are here to answer any questions you may have. To find an agent near you, visit acadiainsurance.com.
Acadia is pleased to share this material for the benefit of its customers. Please note, however, that nothing herein should be construed as either legal advice or the provision of professional consulting services. This material is for informational purposes only, and while reasonable care has been utilized in compiling this information, no warranty or representation is made as to accuracy or completeness.