For several hundred years, the dawn of a new decade has always brought improvements along with it. With many companies and industries all over the world today consistently getting better at what they do, 2020 is no different. The upgrades of some are so notable that they are almost completely unrecognizable when compared to what they used to be.
The changes they go through could come in the form of their methods of providing services to customers. Alternately, it could as well be in their appearance. In the same vein, it could be an improvement in their means of communication. Regardless of what it is, a new trend in an industry, especially in hospitality, is always a welcome change.
These days, people are becoming increasingly mobile, and the demand for hospitality is on the rise. As such, it is only logical that the hospitality industry rises to meet individual needs. In this article, we will be telling you seven of the most astounding trends to watch out for in the hospitality industry today.
About the Hospitality Industry
What is hospitality? Originating from the Latin word, hospitalitis, hospitality is simply the act of being friendly and welcoming to people, especially strangers. It is a guest/host relationship that involves accepting and accommodating individuals besides yourself into a particular space. The space could be personal or just one that you were hired to manage. The concept of hospitality is a relatively universal one. As such, anyone in virtually every part of the world will agree with this definition.
Now, you might be tempted to think that it is limited to hotels and places of accommodation alone. After all, those seem like the most popular arms of the industry. However, on the contrary, the hospitality industry is actually a tad broader than that. Among other things, it consists of restaurants, bars, and even cruise lines.
It initially began several years ago when residents of a certain area would generously accommodate fatigued sojourners. At the time, hospitality was stripped down to its most basic form. All you got from your host was food, water/a drink, and a roof over your head. However, things have changed today to accommodate much more interesting and luxurious developments.
What are the top hospitality trends you should watch out for in 2020?
We have already established what hospitality is and that the hospitality industry isn’t what it used to be. However, despite the already massive improvements in the industry, things do not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Every now and then, new innovations come along that promise to make customers’ experience even better. We have compiled seven of the top things you should be expecting from the hospitality industry this year. Some of them are new. Some are simply upgrades of past models. Let’s check them out now, shall we?
1. Local experience
Unlike some of those that will come after it on this list, this isn’t exactly technologically inclined. However, it still remains one of the major trends that you will see in 2020 within the industry. The trend essentially stems from the desire of people to see what else life has to offer outside of their corner in the world.
Even those who travel strictly for business have been known to extend their stay at the location by a few days, or even weeks. Eventually, it becomes a mini holiday. If you are someone like that, we really cannot blame you. Homemade meals and regular strolls to the park are fun. Nevertheless, few things beat the thrill that comes along with seeing and experiencing a new world/culture/taste.
To rise up to this need among their customers, companies within the hospitality industry are including new and enticing options in their list of services. Some hotels, for example, include local products in their inventory. Others even go as far as designing the rooms in the theme of the country/area’s culture. Travel agents assist guests with tours to help them see the best their holiday location has to offer. Many restaurants specifically have menus that tailor to the curiosity of visitors and show the local culinary delicacies.
2. Sustainability for the health and the environment
There are two main issues that people are becoming increasingly conscious of today. The first is environmental responsibility. The second is health consciousness.
Before patronizing a brand, many people, especially Millennials, want to know if the brand cares about their health and the environment. By all standards, this is only logical. Global warming is real, and it has the potential to do a lot of damage if it keeps on going unchecked.
Knowing this, a lot of companies, organizations, and individuals are beginning to reposition themselves in the hospitality industry accordingly. They not only promote their inclination towards eco-friendliness, but they practice what they preach too.
For example, several hotels around are now speculating the use of more sustainable materials for bed sheets, towels, etc. Across the entire industry, companies are using solar generators to compensate for power outages. In terms of food, too, restaurants are offering vegetarian meals to their customers. Additionally, contrary to the case a few years ago, there are fewer fast-food restaurants that offer just junk to snack on.
This trend has been a long time coming. From the look of things, it seems like it will only be getting stronger in 2020.
One of the main things that the tech industry has done is that it has set the bar. How? By collecting and storing data. This singular act is something that companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc. do best. While you are using their platform actively or otherwise, they collect information about you and your inclinations.
They make efforts to understand what you like to eat, where you like to go on the internet and a host of other things. Based on a coagulation of those observations, they position themselves to serve you better. They’ll make recommendations when you need a restaurant, a movie, a book, etc.
This sort of personal treatment has now given rise to the need of customers to be interacted with. People want to be related to as individuals rather than mere money dispensers paying for services.
The hospitality industry is catching on to that trend and improving accordingly. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to you when it starts becoming widespread this year. For example, in some hotels around the world, previous/existing customers can control entertainment preferences. This is based on past viewing/consumption patterns.
In some other establishments, based on GPS and an intricate collection of data, existing customers can be differentiated from new ones.
4. Virtual and augmented reality
This is another major trend to look out for in 2020. For the sake of understanding a bit better, we’ll give a quick explanation. Virtual reality is the sort of technology that helps you see things that aren’t exactly there. It is most commonly used in games as it helps to project a digital, futuristic world. Augmented reality, on the other hand, helps to provide enhancements to the current world.
Now, one of the major things that hotels, and the hospitality industry at large, exist to help you with is the attainment of comfort. To do so, they present you with places and experiences that are incredibly relaxing as well as entertaining. Virtual and augmented reality technologies, too, aid in the creation of these worlds. When implemented in the hospitality industry, you end up with a match made in heaven.
For example, with virtual reality tech, some hotels allow potential customers to get digital tours. That way, even if they aren’t there yet, they can see all the beauty they have to offer. With augmented reality, some hotels can provide you with tourist maps while you’re on their grounds.
5. Smart hotels
The Internet of Things is one of the greatest technological advancements of our time. It might as well be the ultimate form of communication beyond every human language. While still controlled by humans, it allows for objects, data networks, and equipment to interact with each other for certain goals.
This is possible with the presence of peculiar identifiers attached to these objects. It allows them to receive data and interpret it appropriately. For example, clapping to turn off the lights is simply your light bulb sensing that particular sound wave and carrying out the due command as programmed earlier.
More and more companies are beginning to see the importance of this excellent new way of doing things. As such, they are beginning to adopt it.
Hotels now use electronic key cards to unlock doors. You no longer have to go through the regular hassle of dealing with customer service. Now, in the right hospitality company, you can interact with customer service via a series of commands. Just as you have mobile assistants, there are room assistants too. Imagine how luxurious it will be to simply voice-command your room assistant to reserve a dinner table for you downstairs.
The tech required for this is a bit of a distance away from perfection. However, it is still a trend that is expected to start becoming even more prominent in 2020.
6. Artificial intelligence
This has been in the process of perfection for the longest time, and it is ridiculously close now. Even if you don’t realize it, our world now relies on the pseudo-knowledge of computers now more than ever. Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, Cortana, etc. are all artificial intelligence programs. Think of your smartphone without them. Yeah, we don’t like the thought of it either.
Hospitality companies, too, are beginning to notice this. They realize how heavily we depend on these little computers to ease our daily lives. As such, one of the major 2020 trends to watch out for is an influx of AI into the industry. Already, companies are using chat boxes to reduce customer response time drastically. Others are using it to increase efficiency and sort through customer details, etc. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before everyone else catches on.
Depending on how much of a vested interest you have in science fiction, the idea of robots probably makes you giddy. Not to worry, we feel the same. It is another exciting trend that you should look out for this year.
Robots are machines designed by people to assist in completing tasks. The working capabilities of robots today range from simple to complex. While some of them can function independently, others require supervision. Regardless of whatever nitty-gritty governs the robot, they are excellent for maintaining efficiency.
Additionally, they are imbued with AI. This helps them to interact better with human beings. Hotels all over the world today are beginning to use them. If you’re planning a trip to Japan, perhaps, the best example is Hen-na, a hotel in Nagasaki, Japan. Robots run the entire facility. Only one word comes to mind in this regard – exciting!
As is the case in virtually every other industry, there is a lot of competition in the hospitality industry. Businesses are constantly trying to get ahead of themselves by offering something the other person doesn’t. This leads to the creation/improvement of trends. What we have merely done is that we’ve listed out the top seven that you should look out for. If you own a hospitality establishment that hasn’t caught on to these trends, gear up. Don’t be left behind!