The end of room types, robots at the concierge and achieving ‘cult status’: new Amadeus-IHG research asks if this is the future of hospitality?
New research study, Drivers of Change in Hospitality, explores the changes we can expect as guest insight, technology optimization and the ability to hyper-personalize take effect. Informed by over 7,500 consumers worldwide and industry experts, the study identifies three trends that the sector must respond to meet the needs of the consumer of the future.
Traditional room types have been around forever – single, double, twin, suite or family room. It’s a tried and tested format, beloved by hotels and understood by guests the world over. However, new research from Amadeus and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) published today suggests that this will change dramatically as the The Beginning of the End for Room Types is a key trend identified. It will see guests 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. Hotel accommodation, which has traditionally been bought in a standard and uniform way, will need to adapt as 61% of global travelers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options. This will see the emergence of attribute-based booking, where guests pick and choose the individual components of their room, marking the end of traditional room types. New selling models will become more mainstream too, with guests being able to book a room for a duration that suits their needs rather than a traditional overnight stay.
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. The study details how technology will be used to empower staff to deliver unprecedented levels of service at scale. It suggests that technology needs to support human interaction, not replace it, as the majority of guests (67%) say they prefer to interact with a person for the emotional interaction. For example, the deployment of real-time translation earphones and smart glasses could ensure that concierges easily interact with guests in their native tongue.
Achieving Cult Status at Scale: 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. 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% of global travelers would like hotels to provide more advice and tips about unique things to do, with only 20% saying they currently get ideas from the hotel.
Ongoing guest relationships must be underpinned by technology if they are to function at scale. Personal attention and personality will no be longer 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.
Francisco Pérez-Lozao Rüter, President, Hospitality, Amadeus, said: “Amadeus is committed to partnering with leading players such as IHG to shape the future of hospitality. We hope that this research will prompt industry debate and discussion as it demonstrates the significant opportunity that technology offers hospitality providers to enhance the guest experience, as well as their business. At the same time, it highlights the importance of people. Equipping hotel staff with the insight to deliver richer, more informed interactions with guests is what makes for truly special hotel experiences.”
Chris K Anderson, Director of Center for Hospitality Research, Cornell University, remarked: “The hospitality industry is on the cusp of a new chapter. 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.”
Clodagh Brennan, Senior Trend Analyst, Foresight Factory, said: “With the number of international travelers expected to double by 2036, so too do the demands on the hospitality industry. This study, informed by both consumer research and expert industry insight, identifies some of the key drivers and emerging trends that affect the guest experience, brand loyalty and the role of technology.”
Underpinning all of the trends detailed in the study is the emergence of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence. Without the strong and powerful back-end systems able to crunch through multiple data sets, deliver information to where it is needed and simplify the implementation of new models, it is clear that hospitality providers will struggle to meet the future requirements of guests.
Commenting on the nature of changes within the hospitality sector, George Turner, Chief Commercial and Technology Officer, IHG, said: “Modern expectations around travel continue to become more complex and sophisticated, with shifting consumer dynamics and increasingly intelligent technology pushing the boundaries of what is possible. IHG has proven itself to be pioneering and ambitious over many decades and this paper offers perspective on how the hotel experience could further evolve in the not too distant future.”