Growing your business
Hotel Industry Trends for 2018
As the hospitality industry is faced with economic growth, the development of new technology, and evolving customer demand, the business of hotels and B&Bs is subject to notable change year on year. So what’s in store for 2018?
PwC’s annual hotel forecast for 2018 predicts that on the whole, the outlook for the new year is positive. However, whilst there is set to be continued growth, this could unfold at a slower rate than 2017. London can still expect accelerated growth overall with 7,000 new rooms to be added next year and occupancy continuing to grow, climbing a predicted 0.2%.
With this in mind, hotel owners will be doing all they can to make sure that their business continues to thrive over the next 12 months, whether this means staying one step ahead of trends or tailoring their services to give customers exactly what they want.
Here are a few trends we’ve put together for 2018:
Mobile has completely transformed the way that customers browse, plan, shop and book online, which is why it’s no surprise that it will remain a hot topic in 2018. When it comes to the hotel industry, guests now expect to have the option to book accommodation with the same ease that they check into flights on their mobile or look for things to do in their area. According to Google, 94% of leisure travelers switch between devices as they plan or book a trip, with 1 in 3 mobile travellers researching travel on their smartphones, then calling hotels to book or to get more information.
Last minute bookings still need to be taken into consideration too as 85% of non-branded hotel searches on Google related to "today" or "tonight" happen on a smartphone; for example “oxford hotel today” or “edinburgh hotel availability tonight”. Therefore hotels should consider building this into their SEO strategy to make sure that their website will appear in Google when these phrases are searched; as well as making sure that their site is optimised to fit on a mobile screen, easy to use and equipped for last minute bookings.
The hotel industry relies heavily on visuals for marketing purposes and attracting guests. A great way to source this is through user-generated content. This is visual content created when your customers document their experience with your business through photos, videos or social media posts, providing you with genuine consumer visuals.
With the likes of social media channels and video becoming more innovative, and providing more options for users to share their location and experiences, user generated content is set to become even more popular in 2018.
It will also prove powerful as a review service, so encourage guests to share photos and tag themselves at your hotel at every given opportunity. To support this make sure you provide a decent WiFi connection, and think more visually when it comes to creating photo opportunities around your hotel, for example making the most of your hotel reception or your dining area.
Personalisation will continue to be paramount for the customer experience in 2018, mainly through the use of data. Whether it’s getting your guests to fill in feedback forms, or looking at their purchase history at your hotel, such as food, drinks, room service orders and other onsite purchases.
A report from research agency Mintel predicts that technology will continue to offer new possibilities for businesses by further connecting them with guests so that they can personalise customer experiences with recommendations of products or individually targeted promotions. Their research also suggests that using technology and data in this way could help to boost the return rate of visitors, as 38% of surveyed guests would expect a personalised service based on a previous visit’s preferences or extras.
With a surge of health-conscious customers sweeping the market over the last couple of years, health and wellbeing is one trend that is set to go from strength to strength in 2018.
As it’s boomed, the hospitality sector has seen visitors opting for a different type of holiday such as retreats and relaxing weekends. In fact 1 in 5 people in the UK are reported to take at least one dedicated wellness break a year - with significant increases in the younger demographic (nearly a third of all 18-34 year olds), and those living in London (1 in 4) - with guests seeking services such as healing therapies, tailored massages, stress management and relaxation treatments whilst they’re away too. If you haven’t already, it could be worth incorporating some of these into your hotel offering.
With 2018 just around the corner, incorporating a few trends into your business could help you on your way to having your best year yet!