Top Hospitality Trends: How the Industry is Coming Back in 2021

In Spring of 2020, everything came to a halt with the Coronavirus outbreak. Concerts, festivals, and conferences were all either canceled or converted to virtual events. The cancellation of events and vacations meant that hotel reservations were no longer needed. 

Bookings fell well below half of the total occupancy making it the worst year on record for the hotel industry.

2021 is the year of the vaccine rollout. As of now, nearly one-third of American adults are fully vaccinated. In-person events are being planned for the fall and airline ticket sales are beginning to bounce back. We’re slowly getting back to “normal.”

2020 put business adaptability to the test across the nation, especially the hospitality industry. Restaurants packaged their food inventory and made meal kits to go and curbside pickup went full force.

This major disruption caused the entire hospitality industry to reevaluate its business models and this makes way for innovation. Here are some key trends in the hospitality industry to watch out for as the hotel industry makes a comeback.

How the Hotel Industry is Coming Back in 2021

It will take some time for the hotel industry to make a complete recovery, but with the vaccine rollout, things are already starting to bounce back. According to a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, hotel occupancy is expected to increase by 8.5% in 2021.

As hotels look forward to welcoming more guests this year, there will be competition with how to get those new bookings. Fortunately for hotel guests, this means that hotels will be offering better amenities to lure them in. Let’s dive into the hospitality trends that signal the beginning of a renaissance for hotels.

8 Need-to-Know Hospitality Trends Impacting the Hotel Industry

Hospitality has always been about creating an exceptional experience for guests, and what guests want tends to be a moving target for hotels. For hotels to compete with the likes of Airbnb, they will need to modernize the entire concept with innovative modifications. Keeping an eye on industry trends is a must going forward.

1. Create an Agile Hotel Workforce

As the world of hospitality comes back into action, hotels will need to be prepared to have enough workforce on hand to handle the potential demand. However, forecasting how much staff will be needed to accomodate guests is difficult to predict in a year where historical data does not offer an accurate model to follow. 

While many hotels remain unsure of the number of bookings they can expect, for hotels seeking to maintain a flexible workforce that is ready to adapt, recruiters and hotel managers can look to Adia when seeking experienced hospitality staff by the hour. Our on-demand staffing platform employs a roster full of vetted hospitality workers that are ready to assist whenever you need additional staff. 

2. Investing in Augmented and Virtual Reality

AR and VR are both interactive but in different ways. AR is based on a real-world setting while VR is virtual and based on an imaginary environment. AR is activated by mobile devices while VR requires an accessory headset.

AR allows patrons to access information about local attractions with their mobile devices. This interactive method brings up restaurant menus, hours of operation, or maps. 

VR allows prospective visitors the opportunity to experience the layout of a hotel room before booking. Customers give themselves a tour of the room to get an idea of what the room will be like.

Because this hospitality trend is slowly gaining traction, this is a prime opportunity for hotels and nearby attractions to make a lasting impression on patrons for brand building and standing out from the competition.

3. Combining Work with Leisure (Remote Work)

The term “bleisure” means to combine work and vacation. With this lifestyle, the guest attaches a few days of respite to a business trip. With much of the workforce going remote last year due to COVID-19, this type of arrangement is now more feasible.

To attract the busy professional who intends to interweave some recreational activity, a hotel needs to have a space they can work remotely in. The modern solo travelers need  workspaces with outlets, blazing fast internet, an attractive background for video conferencing, and quiet.

One way to implement this accommodation is to have suites dedicated for this specific type of traveler and market it as such. Keep these rooms quiet by separating them from families with children and party groups (such as weddings). 

Another way to make this work is to have several booth-like rooms available for business use, coworking style. Guests make use of these when they need a quiet space to work and have meetings.

4. Increased Hygiene and Safety

In the spring and summer of 2020, Clorox wipes and hand sanitizer were flying off the store shelves. The coronavirus is highly contagious so we took extra precautions for the cause of public health. Hopefully, this means that the public at large will be cleaner and more considerate of those around them moving forward.

Hotels are already known for their cleanliness and hard-working cleaning crews, but when COVID-19 took hold, extreme sanitation measures became the new protocol.

While the vaccine rollout is paving the way back to our former way of life, it’s going to be a while before we’re in the clear. For that reason, hotels can’t let their guard down when it comes to consistent and thorough cleaning procedures.

Guests with health concerns will need the reassurance that the facility has high cleaning standards. Until the COVID-19 case numbers are truly stable, hotel health and safety measures should still be in effect. Letting your guests know that you are still being cautious will put them at ease.

Routine and consistent cleaning requires more staff performing sanitation and cleaning efforts around the clock, which can demand more staff than hotels currently have on board, especially as occupancy levels change from week to week. For establishments that may need more help, Adia provides on-demand cleaning staff that can be hired for hours or days at a time, whenever needed.

5. Experiences over Things

Experiences were already expected to revolutionize commerce, but with the population keeping indoors for most of 2020, you can expect the appeal of experiences to grow even more.

What is there to stimulate your guests both at the hotel and in the vicinity? Experiential travel and amenities give a hotel a competitive edge. Immersive experiences are seeing live animals, yoga retreats, surf camps, partaking of cannabis (where it’s legal), wineries, etc. Hone in on what your target market wants to do when they arrive.

Experiential spaces are another way to appeal to guests. For example, the 21c Museum Hotel has 70,000 square feet where patrons can check out the exhibits 24 hours a day. Visitors can also attend cultural events and other performances.

But you don’t turn your lobby into a museum to achieve this. With some brainstorming and collaboration with up-and-coming businesses who engineer experiences, any hotel can integrate appealing amenities.

6. Spontaneous and Last-Minute Bookings

Hotels not even being close to full means that the consumers now have the upper hand. They no longer need to reserve in advance to secure a room, because last-minute booking sites like HotelTonight are used to fill all those empty rooms.

On the one hand, this helps hotels get the bookings they desperately need for recovery. However, the downside is that last-minute bookings come with staffing dilemmas, shorter booking windows, and third-party pricing issues.

Despite the downsides of last-minute bookings, it’s an opportunity for hotels to bring in those spontaneous travelers before their competitors can.

7. Staycations

As mentioned before, people were cooped up for most of 2020. Working from home every day and constantly seeing the same four walls day in and day out gets rather tedious. 

When a full-blown vacation is not feasible, there is the option to go to a local hotel for a “staycation.” A change of scenery is just a short drive away. No rushing to the airport, waiting in lines for security checks, and no cramped airplane seating.

This is in line with being “hyper-local” too. How can you make your hotel a refuge for those in your community as well? What methods of outreach could you deploy to remind people that they can take a break from the stress of home life without going far?

8. Sustainability and Going Green

Many high-profile corporations (including Amazon) have a goal to be net-zero by a certain date. The theme for the coming years will be sustainability and taking strides to be more environmentally friendly. 

Millennials and Gen Z are a growing market force to be reckoned with. They happen to be very concerned about the environment and global warming. “55% of global travelers say that they are more determined than ever to choose sustainable accommodation than they were last year — but lack of appealing options makes it difficult to put this into practice.” (Source

Leveraging your public relations team to get the word out about your efforts may attract this demographic. Marketable opportunities to go green are:

  • Energy-saving technology like motion detection lighting.
  • Green and renewable energy use such as solar panel installation.
  • Vegan or meat-alternative F&B offerings.
  • LEED Certifications that make your efforts to benefit the environment officially recognized.
  • Water conservation efforts as hotels have been found to use 36,500 to 73,000 gallons of water per room annually.
  • Cutting out plastic by doing away with straws, utensils, water bottles, toiletries, food containers, etc. Instead, they opt for compostable or reusable materials. On that same note, you may include composting and recycling bins to reduce what goes in the landfill.
  • Using more products that are manufactured sustainably such as organic bedding.
  • Paperless transactions.

The Future of the Hospitality Industry Beyond 2021

Hotels and businesses who work with hotels would be wise to keep up with these hospitality industry trends so they can seize revenue opportunities and not be left behind. The more these hospitality trends take hold, the more consumers will learn to expect these new accommodations.

Hospitality is an art, and unfortunately, many talented workers were laid off in the wake of 2020’s COVID-19 crisis. While many hotel managers would love to pick up the phone and invite them all back, it may be a while before staffing reaches pre-pandemic levels.

That’s where Aida steps in. When you need a more hands on deck to handle an uptick in bookings, we’re here to connect you with experienced temporary workers through our hospitality staffing services. Contact us today so we can help you find the best staffing solutions for your hotel during this transition.

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