Wondering about the latest top hotel trends?
The hospitality industry is changing and with alternative options like Airbnb becoming the norm, hoteliers may worry about relevance. Rest assured, many travelers still enjoy staying in hotels for the privacy, amenities, and experience. Here’s what you need to know about attracting guests and filling your rooms.
Hotels have always been a key part of travel, and to keep that status, they must remain appealing to today’s travelers. Every hotel owner knows, travelers don’t usually visit a town just for the accommodations. Yet, nothing can cause a trip to turn sour faster than a bad hospitality experience. Your facility is an integral part of their stay. In this competitive industry, you need to stay up on top hotel trends to attract more guests! Whether traveling for leisure or business, convenience and hospitality are two main factors travelers look for when choosing where to stay.
In a recent travel feature from USA Today, visitors said their number one concern and expectation for a hotel was cleanliness (a factor that’s always been on trend). As a hotel owner, it’s tempting to follow the latest and greatest trends and provide fancy amenities, but keep in mind—a dirty hotel is almost always the universal complaint amongst guest reviewers.
So, before you invest in any hotel trend, you may want to ensure your housekeeping services are meeting expectation. Take care of the little details first—bathrooms should be mildew-free, carpets cleaned regularly, bedding and linen changes should be your number one priority.
Beyond cleanliness, travelers expect a few additional amenities from their accommodations Fortunately, many of them are easier to provide than you may think. Free Wi-Fi has become de rigueur. Guests see it as a necessity, not an optional or add-on draw. Plenty of outlets, working lights and of course plenty of hot water are minimal expectations for every guest.
After those necessities are covered, it’s time to explore the top hotel trends that catch your guests’ eyes and set your hotel apart from the crowd.
Today’s Top Hotel Trends
In today’s increasingly competitive hospitality industry there are a few trends hoteliers should implement when possible if they want to attract more guests (and winning reviews).
1. Mobile Convenience
Offer guests the convenience of mobile booking, check-in, and check-out. While the personal touch at your concierge desk is vitally important to your guests, many of them greatly appreciate the ease of checking in and out from the comfort of their phones. Guests should easily access bookings, see vacancies and yes, read honest guest reviews before they book your site.
If you’re competing with tech-friendly companies like Airbnb, you need to match guest expectation by providing them with the same information they’d find about their vacation rental. As sites like Oyster and TripAdvisor provide plenty of opportunity for honest assessment, it’s important you embrace the feedback rather than avoid it. Work to quickly resolve guest concerns, provide them with opportunities on your website and through your app to leave reviews. Remember, if a visitor has a complaint, it’s better addressed with you directly than through a third-party site. Chances are, you can resolve it quickly and discretely before you lose stars online.
2. Tech-Savvy Amenities
If Wi-Fi is now the norm, then what tech amenities are considered “next level?” Virtual assistants (such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home) are becoming commonplace around the United States. What about providing guests with a travel assistant via a downloadable app to their Smartphone?
Mercure, a European mid-scale hotel chain, recently launched their BOT for hotel guests. This downloadable travel guide provides guests with the local information of a concierge service, right in their pocket. Other ways to provide guests with appealing tech? Offer charging stations, quiet laptop work pods for business travelers and even white-noise machines to help guests get a better night sleep. Small tech-friendly touches greatly impact your lodgers.
3. Health & Fitness Centers
Hotel gyms and workout centers were historically a spot for travelers to decompress and burn off steam while on the road. Yet, most hotel gyms run lean on equipment—a treadmill, a bike and perhaps a few free weights. Staying up on trends in fitness will help you give guests what they want.
Hotel giants Westin and Hilton are offering guests workout equipment right in their hotel room, which is certainly more comfortable for guests who prefer privacy. Other hotel owners are simply ramping up gyms in their building to include trendier HIIT and weight gear, smart-technology-enabled equipment and even classes like yoga with expert trainers.
While modern technology may seem like all the rage, there is a trend toward guests seeking a home-away-from-home experience. For many travelers, this includes the ability to bring along their pet when they’re on the go. Trend-setting Kimpton Hotels even allows pets to stay free of charge, provides complimentary pet-bedding. Some locations even have a pet ambassador to welcome guests.
Of course, pet-friendliness doesn’t come without drawbacks, which is why many owners of small hotels avoid opening up to animals. Still, 68% of US households own a pet and the number has steadily grown over the last 30 years, with no signs of stopping. Just as landlords and property owners are discovering, catering to furry friends is a big draw (and a revenue booster). The pros of pet-friendliness often outweigh the cons and bring more guests to your hotel.
5. Personalized Touches
Guests are drawn to personalized touches—simple gestures to make their stay a little easier. Complimentary water bottles, a visitor guide with local offerings, or access to fast and friendly concierge services are becoming the standard of hospitality. Some guests prefer the privacy of a hotel stay versus a bed and breakfast environment, but they still appreciate the special care.
By learning about your guests—are they business travelers? Families? Pet-owners? –you can go above and beyond to provide personalized customer service fit for their exact travel needs. If you offer a loyalty program (a great way to build repeat guests), use the information to get-to-know your travelers and give them more of what they want. For families, offering a changing pad, extra wipes, plenty of bedding or coloring books for the little ones is a welcoming touch. Business travelers might appreciate extra coffee, tea, desk space, and pens. Pet-owners would welcome a few doggie clean-up bags, a lint roller, or a dog biscuit for Fido. These small, personal gestures go far to show guests you really care.
6. Local Flavor
Provide guests with plenty of information about local attractions and fun. Partner with local vendors and venues to offer discounts and complimentary treats. A local or onsite brewpub may wish to offer guests a complimentary beverage or 2 for 1 offer. Museums, theaters, and local entertainment groups may be willing to partner with your hotel to offer discount tickets exclusively for guests. Gourmet shops may provide samples to share with interested visitors.
Is your city hosting a festival, rally or major sporting event? Many hoteliers are quick to accommodate guests attending conferences at their own hotel, but festivals and other events create a big draw to the area. Co-sponsoring events, offering attendees early-bird discounts and other promotions will help you capitalize on your city’s popularity.
7. Simple Designs
Home décor styles are more modern, sleeker and less fussy than in past decades. Hotel decorators should take style clues and follow suit. Remember the wild patterned carpet and bedspreads of the 1980s and 1990s? They’re long gone. Guests prefer white, clean, simple rooms with modern design.
While patterns were certainly easier to keep “clean,” many hotel managers see the merit of opting for white linens in an easy-care fabric. White is easy-to-wash and doesn’t fade at the standard sterilizing water temperature of 140 degrees. Furniture with clean lines and unfussy surfaces are easier to dust, disinfect and maintain. Painted walls are also easier to touch up than the old standard of wallpaper. Embrace simple design in your rooms.
8. Smaller Rooms
With simplicity comes downsizing as well. Many guests are opting for micro or capsule hotel rooms. This trend, which originated overseas has been taking the U.S. by storm in the past few years. New York City offers many micro or pod hotels with other cities following the trend as well. Guests are typically seeking the basics when they travel—a comfortable bed, a clean bathroom, a place to store their belongings. Smaller spaces offer lower prices for minimalist travelers (who are there to see the sights, not hang out in their hotel room).
Hoteliers can use this trend to their advantage. While you may not wish to break up your larger rooms into smaller spaces, you no longer need to fear guests will find rooms cramped instead of cozy. Use minimalist and funky décor to enhance the space and fit the theme. Bunk beds and built-in features are becoming more appealing to guests who simply want a space to sleep.
9. More Dining Options
One way to attract guests? Offer more dining options. Minibars in the room are often stocked with sugary (and expensive) treats. Guests are stuck choosing between a pack of M&Ms or ordering out pizza. If your hotel has a restaurant or room service onsite, promote it to guests. Focus on bite-sized options, small plates, and easy-to-travel foods so guests can grab-and-go if they’re not seeking a sit-down experience.
If your hotel doesn’t feature a restaurant or dining services, consider partnering with local restaurants who offer delivery. Services like Grubhub give guests plenty of dining options even late at night. You could also partner with area food trucks to provide guest with hot food choices right in the parking lot of your hotel.
10. Healthier Hotels
Today’s consumer is health-conscious and concerned about their own well-being as well as the health of the planet. More and more hotel operators are seeing the need for sustainability, green and healthy practices for both guests and buildings. Last year the International Tourism Partnership released their Hotel Global Decarbonization Report highlighting the need for hotel owners to become more focused on sustainability.
Even small hotel owners can step up their space’s green game with simple changes (that will save hotel owners money in the long run). Changing out traditional lightbulbs for energy-efficient bulbs, allowing guests to opt-out of laundry services and reuse towels, and keeping your HVAC equipment serviced and up-to-date will go far toward a healthier hotel. Use low-odor water-based paints to touch up your hotel rooms and take other steps toward sustainability.
The hotel industry is ever-growing and changing. As a hotel owner, if you want to attract more guests and boost your bottom line, you need to keep up with the top hotel trends.
At the end of the day, taking care of your guests is your number one priority. Give them service that wows them, a clean, comfortable and safe place to stay, and a few stand-out, trending features. You’ll cultivate loyal customers who return again and again with every trip!