The Future of Hospitality May Mean An End for Traditional Hotel Rooms

It’s the beginning of the end for traditional hotel rooms.

Room types such as the single, double, and suite, have been around forever. And while this tried and tested format is beloved by hotels and understood by guests the world over, a newly published research study from Amadeus and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) says that structure is poised to change.

Attribute-based booking will end room types as we know them, according to the report, titled Drivers of Change in Hospitality.

“Guests will have unprecedented customization at their fingertips with the ability to shop based on the elements they value the most,” the report states.

The report goes on to explain that hotels will be able to grow revenue by unbundling their offerings (similar perhaps to the way airlines have already done this), showcasing the unique inventory and experiences available.

Created with input from more than 7,500 consumers worldwide as well as industry experts, the study explores the future of the hospitality industry on multiple levels, delving into what’s on the horizon as guest insight, technology optimization and the ability to hyper-personalize take effect.

It states that the industry must respond to all of these emerging trends in order to meet the needs of the consumer of the future.

And what that future will look like? According to the study, it will be a place where guests are able to swap desks for yoga mats, stream their own content through the in-room TV, or ask for that third-floor room with the view they’ve always loved.

“Consumers are used to buying exactly what they want and need when it comes to music, entertainment, fashion, and travel,” states the report. “Hotel accommodation, which has traditionally been bought in a standard and uniform way, will need to adapt as 61 percent of global travelers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options. “

This desire will trigger the emergence of “attribute-based booking,” allowing guests to pick and choose the individual components of their room.

New selling models will become more mainstream as well, with guests able to book a room for a length that suits their needs rather than a traditional overnight stay.

Yet another trend highlighted by the report is the rise of tech-augmented hospitality.

“Hospitality providers will need to serve guests in a significantly more connected way, striking the right balance between automated solutions and human interaction,” states the report, which goes on to detail the ways in which technology will be used to empower staff to deliver unprecedented levels of service at scale.

The big takeaway is that technology needs to support human interaction, not replace it, as the majority of guests (67 percent) say they prefer to interact with a person.

One example of the technology of the future supporting human interaction could include the deployment of real-time translation earphones and smart glasses designed to allow concierges to easily talk with guests in their native tongue.

Achieving cult status at scale is yet another emerging trend identified by the study.

“The kind of status usually reserved for luxury or boutique hotels or consumer brands will be available for all, if they can build a loyal following of fans who feel an emotional connection,” states the report. “In the competition for guest loyalty, hospitality providers need to identify how to offer value through delivering memorable, shareable experiences.”

To do this, hotels must understand individual guest needs on each trip, and offer a host of unique and unexpected surprises. In fact, 70 percent of global travelers would like hotels to provide more advice and tips about unique things to do, with only 20 percent saying they currently get ideas from the hotel.

What’s more, ongoing guest relationships must be underpinned by technology if they are to function at scale.

“Personal attention and personality will no longer be a characteristic of boutique brands only. Instead, data allows hotels to anticipate the best way to make each individual guest feel valued, whether that is through unexpected perks, experiences or rewards,” the report adds.

“The hospitality industry is on the cusp of a new chapter,” said Chris Anderson, director of Center for Hospitality Research, Cornell University. “Guests are seeking richer individual relationships and seamless experiences with their hospitality providers, and are willing to share more data and insights than ever before.”

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