Top Hospitality Industry Trends in 2015.
- Millennialshave become the fastest growing customer segment within the hospitality industry. Exploration, interaction and experience are the major focus of Millennials who are willing to pay more for a greater experience. Their desire, for example, towards an overall gourmet experience for a reasonable price has produced all new lobby designs in the hotel sector. Lobby bars and hotel restaurants are wide open with combination work, play and eat/drink spaces designed with this Millennial customer in mind. They are looking for a unique and novel experience and this has and will continue to command change within the market. Moreover, this customer segment is interested in using technology to do things that many others have become accustomed to doing manually: checking in at hotels, paying their restaurant and bar bills and looking up places to eat, shop and play to name a few. Exploit the opportunity but ignore them at your peril!
- Customer Service for 2015 will be a combination of “high-tech, high touch” with a clear focus on enabling guests to be self-sufficient e.g. the use of an app or mobile software to find information on venues or places to visit. Increasingly digital customers require the facility to remain independent travellers whilst being able to access a wide range of media sources. Traditional service levels must rise to meet the challenges of an increasingly quality-hungry audience and the only way to generate repeat business is to totally deliver excellent customer service.
- Expect and attract more international custom. The volume and complexity of international travel has meant venues becoming more accessible than ever before. The emerging Chinese market will come to dominate business moving into 2015 with their considerable spending power and ability to make their own independent travel arrangements.
- Maximise Profits and Reduce Costs. This is critical as more revenues result from strong increases in occupancy levels, average rates and revenue per available room. There should be a strong, visible and continued commitment to repeat business which will then save on advertising and commissions paid to online travel agencies. Make this a key strategy for 2015 and copy successful retailers who build strong and long-lasting customer loyalty.
- Introduce quality technology to your customer interfaces. Make sure that your IT facilities and capabilities are as strong and flexible as they possibly can be. Used properly these can be used to sell your product to potential customers who are huge distances from your location. When guests are using your facilities make sure your systems are as robust as possible and that changes in your rivals systems e.g. booking in via mobile telephones do not come as a complete shock!
- Political uncertainty will continue to be problem and regime changes and political uncertainty will only continue into 2015. Care is needed in selecting countries and international communities to target given an increasingly unstable global community.
- Reputation management continues its importance because it is no longer all about TripAdvisor. Although this platform continues to dominate in the hotel industry, it is easy to skip over the increasing importance of Yelp, Yahoo, Facebook, and Expedia for guest reviews and comments. Engaging with guests and responding to their needs publicly through these forums can go a long way in driving future bookings to your business. Real Time Marketing and providing content on an ongoing basis will dominate the industry. Although it would be unwise to discount the impact of traditional marketing, real-time marketing must take place on a regular basis and incorporate guest-generated content, especially via social media. This must be a crucial component of the marketing mix.
- Health and wellness trends will continue to drive customer decisions. If you are able to combine this with branded healthy food options then the market can open up considerably.
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