The hospitality industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic. But new challenges are giving rise to new trends and ways of operating. Read on to find out the five trends dominating the hospitality sector.
- Hotel costs will increase in 2023
- Digital transformation and automation is on the rise
- Sustainability is a top priority
- Staff shortages remain a challenge
- Fulfilling the optimal WFH (Work From Hotel) environment
Hotel costs will increase in 2023
Hotel rates worldwide are expected to be on the rise in 2023 but at a rate lower than 2022, according to a new American Express Global Business Travel report. The increase in cost is partly due to pent-up demand for in-person events as well as inflation. Prices for key hotel inputs such as energy, food and wages have increased which impacts the overall cost of a hotel stay. Planning business trips might be more difficult for corporate travel managers already dealing with decreased travel budgets. Learn how to reduce the cost of lodging here.
During this period of economic uncertainty, businesses and personal budgets are tightening. In fact, it’s estimated that the average American household is spending about $460 more per month on necessities than a year ago. One result of the cost-of-living crisis in corporate travel is that requesting employees to use personal credit cards for travel expenses could be a financial burden. It’s especially true if your company’s reimbursement process is cumbersome, and expenses are not reimbursed in a timely manner.
Digital transformation and automation are on the rise
Hotels have come quite far when it comes to adopting innovation, especially in the past two years. One major shift in digital transformation is automation. Automation services can include contactless mobile check-in or on-demand virtual assistants. The aim is to provide continued high customer service by removing time-consuming elements.
The popularity of on-demand virtual assistants and bots has increased due to a combination of staff shortages and increased client demand. The general consensus is that digital transformation enhances guest experiences. For example, occupancy sensors can better anticipate guest needs. This allows hotels to stay informed of their guests’ preferences and personalise their services for specific individuals based on the guest’s previous visits.
Sustainability is a top priority
By 2030, hotels will need to reduce their carbon footprint by 66% to comply with the Paris Climate Agreement. In many ways, hotels are leading the way in sustainable travel. Eco-friendly hotels are driven not only by new sustainable policies but also by consumers. 83% of global travellers think sustainable travel is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future. Sustainable building design, increased use of renewable energy, addressing single-use plastic and responsible water use play a crucial role in the decision-making process of business travellers when they choose a particular hotel.
In addition, governments have started providing economic incentives for the construction of properties that incorporate green technology. Hotel brands that utilise green technology may be eligible for tax write-offs, expedited regulatory permitting, financial grants and premium discounts for insurance.
Staff shortages remain a challenge
The entire business travel eco-system is suffering from a shortage of trained, skilled staff right now. Hotels are looking to fill many of the jobs lost during the pandemic, including more than 115,000 hotel jobs currently open across the United States.
Some hotel owners have installed self-check-in kiosks because they don’t have enough staff to cover the front desk. However, many tasks crucial to running a hotel require staff like cleaning rooms, serving food and having a friendly concierge.
Europe’s hotel industry is not only recovering from COVID-19, but also from geopolitical tensions. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) reports that about 1.2 million jobs in the tourism and travel sector have remained unfilled across the European union. As a result, many hotels are hiring workers without hospitality experience. To attract more qualified staff, hotels in Spain and Portugal are offering higher pay, free accommodation and perks like bonuses and health insurance.
One way to speed up the hiring process is to help refugees obtain work visas. Dozens of America’s largest employers, including hospitality brands like Hilton, Hyatt Regency, IHG Hotels & Resorts, Marriott International and Red Roof, recently pledged to hire 22,725 refugees over the next three years, including many from Afghanistan.
Attracting and retaining qualified staff will remain a challenge for the hotel industry in the upcoming year.
Fulfilling the optimal WFH (Work From Hotel) environment
All hotel chains agree that an exceptional traveller experience is crucial to success. Hotels have converted guest rooms to work-friendly rooms with free WiFi and practical workspaces, and are also investing in new business centres and comfortable meeting rooms. Travel Managers prefer that their corporate travellers are staying at hotels that offer the best working environment for their business trips. Even if they find a great location for their company’s next offsite, the quality of meeting spaces at the hotel will have a greater influence on the hotel of choice.
Furthermore, the hybrid or remote work lifestyle means that corporate travellers are seeking an extended stay more often. The best hotels for business travellers are ones that offer the optimal work-from-hotel environment, while also providing perks for personal wellness. Free breakfast, outdoor pools, room service and fitness centres can influence whether a business traveller decides to extend their trip to enjoy some personal time at the hotel.
According to the Hilton 2023 travel trends report 86 percent of survey respondents indicated they want recognition and personalisation for their travel needs and another 25 percent said they want travel companies to accommodate their personal needs in 2023. The ability of hotels to provide personalisation, such as automatically booking hotel room preferences for a specific traveller, will determine the loyalty of their client base.
What’s next for your company’s hotel booking process?
As you evaluate how to manage your future travel spend most effectively, it’s essential to partner with a travel management company (TMC) with technology that’s proven to save you time and money.
Fortunately, staying within budget doesn’t mean that travellers have to forego the amenities that make their business trips more comfortable. Egencia Preferred Rates for hotels offers exclusive extras such as Wi-Fi, complimentary breakfast and flexible cancellations. End-to-end it’s a better experience—with more value—for everyone involved, and it helps businesses to avoid incurring last-minute cancellation fees.
To learn more about how Egencia can simplify the hotel booking process while honouring your business travellers’ loyalty programmes, fill out the form on the right. We will connect you with a corporate travel consultant. Hotels globally are stepping up their game. Shouldn’t you also upgrade your hotel booking?