What’s Next for Hospitality in 2020? Our Predictions for the New Year

So the “roaring twenties” are upon us. For the next year, a lot of folks will use the last century as a signpost to look back on the previous 10 years and talk about what we’ve achieved. (It’ll probably get old after a week.) Obviously, everything has changed. Technology drives our world, and thanks to these evolutions, we can do what everyone loves to do this time of year: make predictions. 

We don’t claim to know everything happening in the world, but one thing we do know is that we’ve helped a ton of businesses over the years. And if there’s one industry we know well, it’s the hospitality industry. Hotels are some of our biggest partners, so you could say we’ve learned a thing or two.

The hospitality industry is ever-growing and increasingly competitive. With emerging technologies and rising guest expectations continually shaping it, it’s essential to keep up with the latest trends. Let’s take a look at the hospitality trends for 2020 to help you plan for the next year.

 

Digital will still drive everything

Over the last few years, mobile was the go-to answer for hospitality’s next frontier. Every hotel that wants to remain competitive is online and they’re accessible. That’s not going to change, but we will see more and more brands like Marriott invite their guests into curated portals like their “BonVoy” experience. Guests will be able to customize their trips down to finer details along like crafting content that highlights their exclusive experience. It’s not a stretch to think that hotels will have dedicated teams specifically for addressing social media and review site comments. 

How soon will it be before room keys and front desks are entirely removed from the guest experience? Phones are becoming the future with access to mobile devices and QR-codes acting as ways to open their room doors or gain access to the pool or other amenities. People are a lot more likely to lose a room key than they are their smartphone. It just makes sense.

This falls into the narrative that brands care but are also on the cutting edge, that they’re more than just a hotel, but able to tell the story of the place, that they’re an experience. This leads to increased brand engagement but also defines their online personality. Which leads us to…

 

The curated experience will become all-important 

What hoteliers need to focus on is what their differentials are, whether it’s amenities, décor, or culinary offerings. Some hotels even set up spaces specifically designed to be Instagrammable.
Since more hotels are moving toward being green (reusing towels for multiple days, no more little shampoo bottles, etc.), they’ll be the first to promote the fact considering most travelers are looking for small ways to positively impact the world. And all of these measures are positive on the hotel’s bottom line, as well. 

Another aspect of this is that guests crave a local experience. Niche properties are popping up that offer well-being retreats, relaxing getaways, along with controlled adventure. People are interested in more than just what the travel brochure says, specifically food. Thanks to many food and culture shows, people are smarter about where they want to stay, along with what’s for dinner. Hotels will have to tap into this, especially if they’re also offering food. Say sayonara to generic menus with Cesar salads and a cheeseburger, but instead offer locally sourced ingredients that lead to more interesting local dishes. We’re already seeing hotels invest more into buying regional artwork and décor, which only helps the local economy.

 

AI isn’t just for Saas companies 

Because of the massive hotel labor shortage, hotels are getting smarter. They have to, otherwise, they risk losing more of their market share to options like Airbnb or HomeAway. 

AI is helping fill in some of the gaps hotels face when it comes to guest interactions with things like hotel check-in or room service. Guests will be able to call up to a virtual “host” that will take orders for food, or make changes to check-out time. Both are easily programmable to store all relevant hotel and menu information, which in most cases is more knowledge than a front desk person. AI also learns as it goes, so every interaction makes it smarter and can anticipate what people are looking want.

A secondary perk of this is that it cuts out the middleman, all information is fed directly into the system. Because rarely either of these interactions requires a human, an AI-driven platform should be able to help a guest just trying to order a grilled cheese at midnight. 

 

The rise of on-demand help 

When AI can’t fix everything, hotels will need to work with humans. That’s where on-demand staffing will play a vital role. Much like the other aspects of this blog, technology is driving these evolutions. Right now, the hotel industry is booming. People are traveling now more than ever. But, there’s a national shortage of available workers. Instead of leaving money on the table and letting roles stay unfilled, many hotel GM’s are opting for on-demand staffing because it’s quicker and more reliable than the staffing agencies of the past. Because hotels are booming, GM’s don’t have the time to sit with staffing agencies. They need to solve immediate problems and if they can do it by a few swipes that’s a lot better. 

Plus, there’s no paperwork and it’s easy to use. Everything is designed to be as simple as possible and staffing tech should be no different. 

We can help. We’re Adia, the on-demand staffing platform for hospitality. We give you full visibility into your workforce 24/7, and access to a worker pool 10x bigger than your agency’s. No contracts, no middleman, no red tape. Just workers that actually show up.

What are your predictions for 2020? What do you believe is the next frontier? We’d love to know. If you enjoyed this content, check out the other awesome stuff happening on the Adia blog. 

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