It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the hospitality industry in 2020 and 2021. In fact, the Hotel Tech Report found that European tourism was expected to take the biggest hit from COVID-19. Revenue for the travel and tourism industry in Europe was predicted to decrease from $211.97 billion in 2019 to roughly $124 billion in 2020.
The pandemic required a lot of companies to shift their business strategy and innovate for a digital-first, contact-less experience, and economy. This proved to be a unique challenge for the hospitality industry since a lot of services prioritize in-person experiences.
But, as the world starts to open and tourism increases, hotels and restaurants are again left to consider how to accommodate their guests and diners in 2022 and beyond.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how guests and tourists do and experience things when they travel to a new (or familiar) location. That means, the hospitality industry needs to change how they approach their current operations, too.
These approaches and changes will impact every department within the business. For example, the marketing department will have to reevaluate how they are creating messages to entice visitors. Operations will have to reconsider how they are scheduling staff for increased cleaning standards and what new talent is needed for the new digital-first future.
The hospitality industry will continue to be pushed to innovate and invest in technology, while simultaneously reevaluating how their digital transformation strategies are affecting their guests and employees alike. New approaches to interactions such as check-in, serving and concierge services will start to look a little different. What’s more, travelers and guests will start to expect more convenient digital services such as apps.
A greater focus on cleaning will also be top of mind as our world starts to open up after the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be an even greater focus on disinfecting and sanitizing to ensure that disease transmission risk is low and areas are compliant with new standards of cleanliness. Already, hotel chains are investing in technological solutions to help meet the new cleaning standards to ease their guests' worries.
Hotel executives and restaurant owners alike have been asking themselves how they are going to operate their businesses after the pandemic and in the years to come. As digital transformation starts to become a topic of conversation in the hospitality industry, here are four digital hospitality trends to watch and even implement in 2022.
Technology will be a focus in 2022 to help limit human to human contact during check-in and payment. Hospitality.net states that guest-facing contactless digital solutions will be a focus for hotels and it’s predicted that we could even see more technology solutions coming to the market soon to help meet the demands of this requested and needed service.
What’s more, some of these apps and solutions will even provide other services within an app-like interface like digital room keys. These digital solutions could make the check-in process more convenient for travelers while simultaneously allowing for less human-to-human contact during the check-in and check-out process.
Another benefit of bringing this information and activity into an app-like interface is it could provide additional revenue opportunities for hotels if they are open to allowing local businesses to place ads so they can drive traffic to local accommodations and events.
A recent study from Google found that 27 percent of the global online population is using voice search on mobile. These searchers are using this solution to search for products or services, get directions and even purchase products online.
A prediction for 2022 is that voice-activated booking and accommodations will start to grow in popularity due to the already prevalent voice-search behavior. To take advantage of this up-and-coming trend, restaurants and hotels should consider how voice-search-friendly their listings are online. Local SEO will simply not be enough in 2022 and voice-search SEO will need to be added to business and marketing strategies.
What this ultimately means is that businesses should focus on updating their listings and ensuring accuracy in those listings. Services like TWISPER can help you do that. TWISPER offers listings and marketing services to businesses to help increase visibility through our users.
- Sustainability for both restaurants and hotels
Consumers are more conscious about their buying behaviors now more than ever. In a consumer trends report from Deloitte in 2020, they found that consumers are adopting a raft of measures to shop and live more sustainably. Some of the top behaviors they noticed were:
- Choosing to purchase from or support brands that have environmentally stable practices and values.
- Reduced meat and animal product consumption and purchasing.
- Consumers have sought out brands that have ethical practices and values
- Buyers have opted for ride sharing services or purchased environmentally-friendly vehicles to help reduce carbon emissions.
Along with consumer and user behaviors, hotels will need to reduce carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2050 to be compliant with the Paris New Deal. Hotels should consider reevaluating their sustainability plans not only to be compliant with regulations but to also attract consumers who are now more focused on eco-friendly brands and experiences.
No matter where you look, a mobile phone or device is in someone’s hand. Travelers use their mobile devices for almost everything, whether that be booking a flight, looking for directions, researching reviews, banking and more. This shift to mobile convenience should be a focus for hotels as they approach 2022. Travelers are seeking out mobile-friendly services to make their stays and trips more convenient and tailored to their needs.
If hotels and restaurants are looking to take advantage of this trend, it’s simply not enough to just have a mobile-friendly website. Hospitality owners and marketers should look into custom apps so they can tailor their travelers’ or guests’ experiences around their brand. The experience that is expected is now transcending from in-person to immersive digital and mobile-friendly experiences as well.
How the hospitality industry looked two years ago has completely changed and transformed. The COVID-19 pandemic did not only force large companies to evaluate their digital transformation journeys, but it has also forced the hospitality industry to invest in these initiatives as well.
Travelers and guests are now expecting more contact-less options, digital and mobile-friendly experiences, and they are seeking out brands that align with their own personal values. To be successful in 2022 and continue to drive revenue and success for the future, the hospitality industry needs to adapt and implement these trends into their business strategies.
TWISPER is on a mission to bring fairness and positivity back to the hospitality industry. During this unprecedented time, we hope to cast light on the grit, resilience and determination that are an inherent part of the industry. We know that these qualities will lead to recovery and restoration as we look to the future. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get the latest industry news and TWISPER announcements.