9 Trends Changing the Guest Experience in 2018

by Massiel Ramirez
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According to the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), travel and tourism contributed $8.3 trillion to the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). People are traveling—a lot. And they want to travel more, perhaps visiting your hotel or rental vacation home. Ensure they visit by capitalizing on the following nine tourism and hospitality trends to help enhance your listings and increase bookings.

 

1. Provide Connectivity

Ten years ago, guests cared about basic amenities and services, such as running water, cable television programming, and room service. Today’s guests have changed. They now desire high-speed internet and easy Wi-Fi access. Fortunately, their demand offers you some benefits as well. Investing in business-grade fiber internet service helps you manage your properties, employees, and guests with less delays and issues.

 

2. Create Shared Spaces

More and more people combine business and leisure, producing what Momondo calls “bleisure.” Momondo expects business travelers to “extend the concept for even longer periods of time” in 2018. Meeting this need will require both high-speed internet access and co-working spaces. If co-working spaces sounds odd, visit some of your properties. You’ll probably find guests loitering in the shared spaces, even to the detriment of the front lobby or employee work assignments. Support your guests’ needs and solve potential traffic flow issues by creating comfortable group workspaces where guests can focus on work, network with other guests, and have a change of scenery from their rooms.

 

3. Go Local

Airbnb forever altered the travel industry with its “live like a local” campaign. Guests now want to experience something unique and exclusive when they travel, preferring to stay at unique properties with personality. You can offer that local flavor through your decor and menu. Guests will also love your brand if you position it as an authority on local activities and tours. They’ll choose to stay at your property because you know and share the local heartbeat. You’ll have to go beyond the wall of pamphlets to achieve the effect, but offering guidebooks and local tips is a good start.

 

4. Employ Smart Home Technology

Traditional key cards are expiring thanks to mobile key technologies. Sometimes termed smart door locks, the technology makes it possible for guests to enter their rooms with their smartphones and for you to remove access after a guest checks out—without needing them to return any keycards. Expand the smart experience further with other products like voice-activated speakers, smart thermostats, smart blinds, and smart thermostats. Doing so will produce rooms your guests adore and talk about with their friends and family.

 

5. Personalize Guest Experiences

Personalization has been a hot trend for years. It will continue to be one because people enjoy feeling known. That is, they want you to recognize them as a friend. Build the friendship by investing in technologies that capture data. Some hotels, for example, track guest activity and purchased amenities so they can provide more relevant offerings. Others employ geolocation technology, such as iBeacons, to greet guests as they arrive and share pertinent information about their rooms, food service, and current activities.

 

6. Offer Self-Service Options

While guests enjoy in-person interactions once they arrive at your property, they sometimes prefer to handle bookings and standard questions on their own. Let them with technologies like chatbots. These tools allow guests to find information when they want, where they want. They also enhance the experience at your property. Guests simply chat with the bot when they have a need rather than hunt down housekeeping or a manager.

 

7. Invest in Mobility

If chatbots are out of reach, improve your mobility. Opera Mediaworks, a mobile advertising and marketing platform, reports 66% of surveyed respondents research upcoming trips with their smartphones. However, people don’t only research their itineraries; they also book and manage them with their mobile devices. Your site needs to be mobile friendly, and you should create a mobile application for your properties to take advantage of travelers using their phones. Your app could facilitate the entire experience—from browsing and booking to checking in, requesting services, and discovering local activities.

 

8. Optimize Your Online Presence

Besides optimizing for mobile, you should enhance other aspects of your property’s online presence. Start with the booking experience, ensuring your information is easily accessible and accurate. Next, assess your online payment system. You want one that’s not only intuitive but also integrative. The more you connect the pieces of your guests’ experience—payments, bookings, interests, etc.— the more bookings and happy guests you could see.

 

9. Create Multimedia Content

Finally, explore ways to make your property stand out online. Begin by reviewing your website’s imagery. It could be time for a digital refresh. Also consider adding videos and augmented reality content. Providing these resources immerses potential guests in the experience, often convincing them to register with you. As a final step, examine your social media profiles. They should offer the same rich experience found on your website, particularly on sites like Instagram. People often use the network as a sort of travel guide, letting it inspire and inform future travel plans.

 

Guests want different things when they travel today. They desire workspaces, reliable internet and tech, and localized experiences. Prepare for the biggest trends in order to capture interest, improve the guest experience, and increase bookings.

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