Top COVID-19-Induced Hospitality Trends Part 2: Hotels

Agency

Read Time: 6 Min

It’s been nearly two years since the first COVID shut down in the United States and a lot has changed for the hospitality industry since then. In our first installment of COVID-19-Induced Hospitality Trends, we focused on the different ways hotel marketing teams could pivot their messaging and offerings to keep customer’s attention and gain revenue. Today we’ll be adding to that list with new topics and trends hoteliers need to be aware of to attract guests in 2022 and beyond.

Make Way for the ‘Work from Wherever’ Crowd

Advancements in technology have always led to flexibility in where people can work and when. In fact, the term Digital Nomad was coined back in 1997 when Tsugio Makimoto and David Manners wrote a book by the same name. Yet, before COVIDtimes, this lifestyle was woefully out of reach for many office-bound employees. Now that 1 in 4 Americans live the telecommuting lifestyle, the doors to work from wherever have been flung wide open. But how can hotels capitalize on this new societal shift?

Create incentives for remote and on-the-go workers

Thanks to the change to in-person workplace requirements, it’s not just the Digital Nomads and full-time freelancers hotels need to focus on. Now we also have local WFH folks looking for a change of scenery and business-trippers ready for some bleisure travel. Here are some ideas on how to tap into this market:

Devise (and advertise!) a flexible pricing system.

Give WFH employees the option to rent a room or conference space hourly or by the day, offer long-term stay options to help compete with vacation rental companies, and give discounts and packages for daily and long-stay travellers.

Consider the connections.

Ensure you have free, ultra-fast WIFI for your patrons and that your business centers are up-to-date and COVID friendly.

Put together a bleisure marketing and social campaign.

Focus and showcase both your business and leisure amenities and create unique content including itineraries, interviews with local guides, and insider knowledge of the area.

Pique their interest visually.

Highlight the area’s top spots and the hotel’s amenities with short videos posted on your social and website.

Don’t overlook the locals.

Implement hyper-local marketing to attract and encourage WFHers to get out of their house for the day (with a deal!) or enjoy a staycation weekend in their own city.

Image Source: The Points Guy

 

Up Your Digital Offerings

In our first blog we shared new virtual ways you could capture your audience’s attention, as well as digital offerings hotels were implementing to keep guests safe. Since then, digital hospitality options have charged even further forward and aren’t turning around any time soon.

According to a report by Statista (by way of MadFish Digital):

Roughly 83% of people in the U.S. currently use a mobile device to access the internet, and by 2023, the number is predicted to be over 90%. Hospitality marketers should prioritize not just a mobile-friendly website but also a branded app to offer things like booking assistance, touchless check-in, concierge services, and travel rewards.”

Get on this fast-moving train and keep up with the competition with these tips for a more digital experience:

Go beyond contactless check in

Say buh-bye to keycards.

Join the many hotels who are switching guests to digital keys via their personalized apps.

Get down with the VR.

MadFish Digital reported, “the VR industry is expected to expand from less than $5 billion in 2021 to more than $12 billion by 2024”. Use this to your advantage and offer pre-booking virtual/augmented reality virtual tour opportunities for guests.

Be even more virtual.

Use voice-activated virtual assistants, kiosks, contactless checks, and QR codes for food ordering.

Embrace the metasearch.

More people are turning to metasearch engines like TripAdvisor and Google to book directly because, unlike online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Expedia and Booking.com, they aggregate all the hotel information in one area allowing you to easily compare prices. Capitalize on this growing trend by making sure your guests can easily find you and book directly off the metasearch engines.

 

Take Care To Protect Guests

From vaccines to boosters, lower Summer numbers and new variant surges, every week we learn something new about how to avoid the virus. Despite it all, people are still traveling — but are putting more weight on safety when making decisions on where to stay. Here are some suggestions on how to build trust and make your guests feel comfortable booking at your hotel.

Increase your safety protocols and their peace-of mind

Offer in-room COVID testing.

With personal rapid testing getting more popular, hotels have begun offering this option to their guests while traveling.

Provide in-room fitness.

Many hotels have temporarily shut down their workout facilities and are instead giving guests access to digital workout classes via their app, stocking the room with weights and yoga mats, and even providing guests with the pandemic hero: a Peloton.

Give guests an easier out.

Allowing a more flexible and a less complicated cancellation policy will help you build life-long customers and get better reviews.

Only clean in between guests.

Not only will this cut down on costs and allow you to recoup some revenue, but it will also keep interactions between guests and staff to a minimum. Consider using sticker seals for doors to show guests that their room has been cleaned and sanitized upon arrival.

Up Your Digital Offerings

Sustainability is more important than ever among Millennials and Gen Z travelers. In fact, according to the Booking.com trend analysis and sustainability reports, “73% of travelers would be more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainability practices” and

87% of millennials believe the success of a business should be measured by its impact on the world.”

—Booking.com

With these stats in mind, there is plenty that hotels can do to become more sustainable. Plus, often these changes cut down on costs overall.

Reduce your carbon footprint, attract more mindful guests

Pair down your single-use plastic.

For starters, instead of providing the once industry standard tiny toiletries, install refillable dispensers for guests to use.

Increase personalization, lower energy consumption.

Consider implementing a system like Hilton, which allows guests to control all energy aspects of their room on their smartphone. This will also allow you to power down the rooms when guests are not there.

Cut down housekeeping to increase savings.

Reducing the amount of housekeeping you provide increases your sustainability and cuts down on costs by lowering energy and water usage.

Conclusion: Get the Word Out

Keep in mind, the only way these trends will work to increase your brand awareness and bookings is if your audience is aware you’re doing them. Don’t be afraid to update your website, utilize your social media and email marketing, and even do an advertising campaign to promote new information to your future guests. Need help getting all of that done? We’re here for you — reach out today.

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