In this 3-part series of hospitality trends for 2021, we’ll be covering trends in hospitality in the ‘new normal’, shifts in consumer behaviour, and rising hotel concept trends to get you up to speed and ready for the new year.
Part 1 – It’s a Post-Covid World
Looking back, this year hasn’t been like any other. From wildfires consuming entire nations, to killer hornets and the oh-so-ever-present global pandemic that is still rocking our world economies, it’s safe to say that the world after 2020 will not be the same.
As we head into a post-covid world with the vaccine upon us, consumer expectations have definitely shifted drastically in the past year. We will begin this series by looking at hospitality trends for 2021 as customer service takes on new heights in the post-covid, new normal world.
1 – Safety is the new ‘luxury’
When talking about customer service in hospitality, “going above and beyond” is your classic definition. But what does that look like for the year 2021? How can you deliver unparalleled service and meet the changing needs of your guests?
Communicating every step of the way during your guest journey will be vital in gaining client trust and ensure that their safety is your top priority. From the moment they make their reservation to the time they arrive home – communicating every necessary detail will make sure both parties are prepared and your guest will be comfortable knowing that your hotel is taking the right precautions.
An example of this could look like their pre-visit email, ensuring that they have a checklist of what to prepare in advance before going on their trip. Include all COVID-19 related information as long as new protocols and changes in the hotel your guest should be aware of.
Ensuring information is clearly visible and readily available is also a top priority in the world we live in now. The efforts and precautions your hotel has taken should be embraced and information should be easy to find when your guests want it. Consider using QR codes throughout info-points in the hotel for easy access to protocols. You can also ask during check-in if your guest would like additional information emailed to them.
Lastly, ensure your property adequately fits the service level. This means that if you’re a 5 star hotel, ask yourself this: “Are my health and safety measures 5 star and is the way I’m delivering this information to my guests also 5 star”? Afterall, the new normal of luxury is now safe and clean before the free champagne.
2 – Hygiene first
People who are still traveling during the pandemic have one thing on their mind: cleanliness. Hotels have been looking for innovative solutions at their properties such as cleaning robots, germ-zapping, ultra-sterilizing technologies, and different chatbots and app services to highlight these features. Clean rooms don’t just mean “no speck of dust” anymore, clients want a virus-free room that has been meticulously sterilized.
3 – Tech innovation
Technology has revolutionized the hospitality industry for the better in the last decade and will continue to influence hospitality trends for 2021. Not only does it facilitate your operations and logistics, many hotels are built on the infrastructure of technology, coining the term “smart hotels”. Technology enables things like contactless check in, keyless entry, integrated hotel mobile app, and touchless payments. As the industry recovers, a contactless stay is made possible by technology and encourages guests to travel comfortably. With technology as the new standard, the industry will likely help recover quicker.
4 – Health & wellness experiences
2020 was taxing on the mind, body and soul. Everyone ranged somewhere from the zoom fitness class enthusiast, the amateur home baker that made way too much banana bread, to the person that finished all 17 seasons of Grey’s Anatomy in a week. No matter who you are and how you handled the pandemic, one thing is for sure, health & wellness will definitely be a theme in hospitality trends for 2021.
We’re talking about ultra zen spas, meditation retreats, outdoor yoga, and personalized meal plans as a few things to consider if your hotel is wanting to expand its health and wellness offerings.
First, consider your brand – does adding these services truly add value to your demographic? If you don’t have a spa on site, consider partnerships with health & wellness companies and classes that align with your brand image. If you’re a smaller property, many of these classes don’t have to occur on site – these partnerships will help you with that. Then get active on social media and showcase what you’re doing to really take care of your guests. People won’t know if you don’t show them.
The COMO Shambhala Estate in Bali highlights a three night “Be Active” retreat inclusive of accommodation and all meals throughout your stay. The retreat also features a daily schedule of wellness activities, a massage, personal training session and personal butler service. This is exactly what we need after a year like 2020.
5 – Experiencing new things again
Despite the physical limitations that the pandemic has brought on and the trend of “contactless”, well, everything, people are still just that: people. Being trapped at home for a year means that each day blends into the next and that new hand mixer that’s just arrived from amazon is the newest and exciting thing to enter your life in a long time. That means that another hospitality trend for 2021 are new experiences. People who are still able to travel and go out may still be craving that superior service and special care that hospitality is known for. Things like a complimentary drink, or a free upgrade to the room with the best view are small things that can make someones’ day, month, or even year.
6 – Unique design
Instead of those stuffy copy + paste hotel design concepts you keep seeing over and over again, more and more hotels are starting to sprout with unique design concepts that attract travellers far and wide. Check our list for top 10 “not-your-granddad’s-hotels” that are on the cutting edge of innovation and design.
You’re probably thinking: Is this an actual hotel room or is this some rendering of a hotel room for 2030? You’re looking at the The Hotel Silken Puerta América in Madrid, Spain. This 12 story architectural wonder where each floor exhibits a unique architectural concept and design.
Bottom line? The hotel itself is increasingly becoming the destination.
7 – Authentic local experiences
85% of travellers find that local experiences are important when travelling so highlighting these offerings will be a key revenue driving strategy in hospitality trends for 2021.
Popular ideas for local experiences:
– Farmers markets + cooking classes
– Brewery tours
– Popular trails and hikes
– Skiing or snowboarding
– Vineyards and wineries
Partnering with local businesses and travel associations will help facilitate the planning of the local experiences. To offer the VIP experience, offer each experience as a complete package. Include shuttle pick up and drop offs, equipment rentals were required, and a meal where appropriate. Ensure to market your offerings on your social media and website and communicate these early with your guests. Many travellers book these experiences on the spot or very last minute so be prepared as these make great upsell revenue!
In part two of this blog series, we will explore consumer trends to expect in 2021.