It’s almost the end of another year and the hotel industry continues to grow at a rapid pace. Gartner research predicts that the hospitality industry is projected to be the fastest growing enterprise IT sector between 2018 and 2021. The industry itself has always been an extremely competitive landscape but with the advent of technology changing the way in which customers want to interact with brands, has seriously up the ante. Keeping up with the latest technology trends has never been more essential – those who fail to adapt can quickly find that they are being left behind by hotel and travel companies that have implemented new approaches and ideas.
So, what should hoteliers know about for the coming year? Well, you might breathe a sigh of relief to know that the top hotel trends for 2019 are “more evolutionary than revolutionary,” according to Mike Heflin, senior vice president of the Hotel Division for Travel Leaders Group (TLG). Some of the year’s trends are not necessarily brand-new per se, but instead, 2019 is set to focus on delivering hyper-personalized hotel stays.
So, what does this entail?
Open APIs: In a recent study, published by Fuel Travel, StayNTouch and Flip.to, which surveyed hundreds of hoteliers and vendors about technology needs, found that, from both the hotelier and supplier perspective, integration was the most important issue facing the industry. Why? Technological integration has posed massive challenges in recent years, as industry players struggle to bring new tech on board without greatly increasing the complexity of managing their overall systems. Open APIs will allow for limitless customization and for effective communication and synchronization between the full range of technology systems used in the industry, all while maintaining the simplicity of one integrated platform.
With the majority of hotel systems planning on being in the cloud by 2019, Open APIs are certainly going to be the top priority in 2019, if not, for the next few years.
Mobility: Mobile usage has become ubiquitous in our everyday lives and has revolutionized the way we interact with technology and changed the way both consumers and brands interact with one another. To date, most investment on mobile technologies has focused primarily on guest-facing services and with research indicating a continued growing interest in self-service options, hoteliers need to contemplate possible self-service solutions and/or consider an expansion of the self-service tech already in place to meet this evolution.
While self-service is a key mobile trend for 2019, mobile solutions designed with staff in mind are also on the agenda. It is thought that this year will see a surge in employers’ investing in technology that makes hotel employees’ jobs easier and more efficient. Mobilizing staff will not only help hoteliers streamline operations but they are fast becoming an important element in how a company serves their customers.
Frictionless Guest Stay: The new buzzword being brandished around and thought to be the new business competitive advantage; frictionless. Frictionless is the evolution of personalization. In today’s world of big data and excellent data management tools, guest expects hotels to know them better. They expect hoteliers to anticipate their needs and requirements – before they even realize themselves, and will prefer to stay with the ones that can do so.
While improving the guest experience will always be a top priority in the hospitality industry, 2019 will see more technologies focused on making a guest’s stay as simple, seamless and as “frictionless”, as possible.
While our list does not include every trend, one thing is for certain, to remain relevant in a very competitive marketplace, hoteliers need to look at and enhance their technology in order to both attract and retain hotel guests.