Pranjal, a seasoned entrepreneur and investor in technology companies, co-founded PIQUOR Technologies and launched their first offering REPUP with Vineet Chouhan in early 2015. Later in 2018, the Company introduced Xperium – an AI-enabled CRM & Guest Engagement Cloud platform to fulfill the experience management demands of mid market and enterprise segment in the hospitality industry.
The pandemic has had an impact on and changed the lifestyles of people all over the world. And due to this deadly virus businesses across various industries have also witnessed a period of gloom. As a consequence of adapting to the new normal, we’ve seen industries adopt covid-19 protocols and adapt to their customers’ new demands.
Because the travel and leisure industry is one of the most affected among the others, we’ve seen how the pandemic has left an indelible mark on the hospitality industry. In this post-pandemic era, the hospitality sector is doing its best to adapt to the wants and needs of guests while still keeping sustainability, health, and well-being in mind. With the rise of the omicron variant, there is a growing sense of unease about travel and a shift in hospitality policies that allow for cancellation, rescheduling, or credit back to the customer’s pocket without question.
Here are a few hospitality trends to keep an eye on in the year 2022.
Rise of staycation and workation
People’s working models had been drastically altered as a result of the pandemic. The hybrid working approach is becoming increasingly popular among professionals simply because people can enjoy and work at the same time. Trends like work-ation is something that people are looking for where they can travel to different destinations and freely work with all the necessities which are essential.
People are also seeking short destination trips or weekend getaways while the threat of the virus continues to loom large. Staycations were born out of a desire to keep a close eye on hygiene and the safety of their families. To stay up with the changing expectations of guests, the hospitality industry is undergoing changes to keep up with the new normal.
Focus on Digital Channel
Hotels are focusing more on their distinct internet presence in order to maintain business, as 60 per cent of their revenue comes from online bookings, either directly or through online travel agents. Also, 97 per cent of the guests consider online reviews and ratings of hotels before making a reservation. Therefore, hotels need to proactively strategize to monitor and improve their online reputation.
In addition, there are online reputation management systems with real-time assistance capabilities that assist hotels in managing and analysing their overall review as well as proactive work on fixing hot issues. Therefore, there will be information outflow from brands about changes in regulations and best practices through all available digital channels. Hotels will look forward to proactively educating and keeping their guest or potential travellers informed about the overall changes and protocols.
Contactless Hospitality, Health and Well-being
Contactless experiences which became a necessity back in 2020 continue to be offered same in 2022. Everything from check-in, checkout, menu, booking experiences is being done digitally without any staff interactions. Thus, hotels have removed shared tablets, physical menus, phones from rooms and installed QR codes that guests can scan through their personal devices.
A lot more hotels will also implement a digital concierge which will further allow guests to request service, make complaints and buy ancillary services instead of calling or any physical interactions with the hotel staff while asking for things.
Customer service differs depending on the industry. As hotels are now using more Omni-channel means for support and experience solutions through various communication mediums. Booking a hotel stay is now as simple as sending a text message, and hotels are turning to CRM providers who can assist them with basic management solutions that allow them to operate smoothly via emails, WhatsApp, and other social media platforms.
Focus on F&B
During the pandemic, hotels have also focused on other revenue streams. Hotels have started promoting their restaurants and have started to offer food delivery options. Hotels that already had segmented data were able to market to local guests with offers such as chef special, combos etc.
Use of AI and ML
Due to the rapid digital revolution that has occurred around the world in recent years, hospitality technologies have gotten considerably smarter. The use of machine learning and artificial intelligence is also being adopted by the hospitality sector too where AI and ML will be able to predict the need of the customer and provide a hyper-personalised experience according to the guest’s demands.
With the emergence of pandemics, we have all seen the need of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and surroundings. Guests are looking for travel operators who are genuine and environmentally conscious. It is our responsibility to produce minimum waste and follow the path of eco-consciousness. Thus, the inculcation of such habits in a hospitality business will result in enhancing the overall management level of the hospitality players.
In conclusion, there has been a shift in society due to the changes caused by the pandemic phase. In recent times increase in consumer awareness has set new benchmarks for hospitality businesses that focus on sustainability, purpose, and health & well-being.