Bruce Hakutizwi, Director of North America for BusinessesForSale.com, discusses the changes in the hotel industry and what you need to know to future-proof your business. Businesses for Sale is an online marketplace for buying and selling businesses.
The hotel industry has been undergoing some big changes of late, with lessons being learned all across the industry. Industry research shows that most of the trends shaping the hotel sector are necessary for the survival of every hotel business as the hospitality sector advances int the future.
With all that in mind, it can be hard to know what’s a meaningful development in the industry and what’s a passing fad. So, let’s take a look at how you future-proof your hotel business, so that you know your establishment is prepared for the coming changes.
The Millennial Generation
Unsurprisingly, Millennials have been taking over the market in all sectors. Research by the Cornel Centre for Hospitality and Research shows that this generation will make up 50% of all travellers by 2025. This new demographic groups things and solutions immediately and are often on the go. They also prefer personalised services, authentic advertisement, and care for the environment.
Adoption of Technology
Smartphones, internet access, and a computer-savvy generation have all contributed to the need for technology in the hotel industry. Hotel booking apps, room Wi-Fi, teleconferencing systems, and robots are becoming commonplace in the hotel industry.
Virtual reality and augmented reality are not a luxurious addition any more. In this second decade of the millennium, they are must-have tools for a successful hotel business.
Focus on Eco-Friendliness
Green and sustainable business practices are a high priority to millennial customers. Hotels are constantly working on how to create rules that are sustainable and eco-friendly. Some of the trending rules are the removal of single-use plastics, use of solar power, and automatic energy control systems. Anything you can do to showcase your greener business practices is a massive plus!
Online Reputation Management
Social media has become the primary place for hotels to advertise and manage their reputation. It has also come with several challenges. One of the main ones is that most guests today barely go to the front desk to launch their complaints. Guests will share their experiences on Facebook and Instagram long before filling the service evaluation form at the reception.
The Growth of Online Travel Agents (OTAs)
According to the research by EHL, the growth of this sector of the industry has three effects on hoteliers. First, it has changed the distribution channel, taking away some value out of the hotel services. Secondly, some of these brands are almost replacing hotels. Thirdly, due to their quick and personalised solutions, customers trust them more than hotels.
The result of this three-fold trend is that hotels have to pay these agencies to have access to customers. Unfortunately, it is only bound to grow.
How to Future Proof Your Business
The above trends are bound to continue. The only way for survival for a hotelier is to adapt to these changes. Here are some of the ways to ensure your business is ready for the future.
Millennials will make the most significant percentage of hotel customers by 2025. Ensure your business is ready for them. Some of the ways of achieving this are:
• Ensure your business personalises the services. Standardisation will no longer work.
• Automate as many services as possible as this is a tech-savvy generation.
• Show that you care for the environment.
• Adopt authentic advertisements.
Respond to the Immediacy of Social Media
It is time you divert the role of your employees to online reputation management. Let your business be visible and accessible through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Remember that online publicity is everything at this age.
If you plan to buy a hotel business, opt for one that has adopted these changes. It will be cheaper and take a shorter time than starting one from the ground up.
It is in the best interest of your business to stay updated to the latest happenings in the industry and adjust accordingly. Always watch out for the next trend and figure how much you stand to gain from being agile and acting accordingly!