In a new report, Deloitte explains how technology innovations, changing customer demands, and new competitive threats are pushing hotels to offer increasingly personal, uniquely tailored experiences for every guest on every visit.
Hotel chains have traditionally been focused on physical space and “heads in beds.” Today, hotel chains are multi-brand entities bringing varied faces and experiences to their guests. However, the hotel industry is in a period of significant evolution which presents a unique opportunity to reinvent the travel experience.
THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY IS INCREASINGLY CHALLENGED IN THE FACE OF:
• Proliferation of brands, which has made it difficult for hotel chains to create differentiated experiences for guests on property, particularly in mid tier brands which are often hosting high frequency guests,
• Consumers who are increasingly expecting new capabilities, personalisation and seamlessness in their hospitality experience,
• And a wealth of mobile, digital, cloud and technology solutions which can inform, enhance or complicate the ecosystem.
Future hotels will be (even more) about people
Hospitality will always be centred around customer experiences and connecting with people. Even as new technology, evolving customer preferences, and new competitive threats change the hotel experience, outstanding hospitality will still require a thoughtful human touch.
The hotel of the future will be an integrator with a new role to play: offering guests a memorable hotel experience uniquely tailored to their expectations for every stay.
The way guests select hotels has advanced… and peoples’ expectations have advanced along with this. So does the hotel of the future mean luggage-carrying robots, motion sensitive nightlights and mirrors that deliver the news? Of course, there will always be a “next new thing”, but the guest’s appreciation of the hotel experience isn’t measured in gadgets.
Frequent travellers will feel loyalty to a hotel that knows the reasons they travel, senses the needs that make the journey different and delivers in ways that can surprise, delight and exceed expectations. Traditionally, a hotel brand meant a certain style, quality and value. In the future, delivering the same brand experience to every guest at every location may not be enough. Each guest is looking for an experience that matches this trip, this moment, and this reason for leaving home. The hotel of the future will offer guests the connections and conveniences that suit its unique environment. To deliver on this unique promise, hotels can build around five distinct opportunity areas.
Curator: An integrator of experiences
The curator integrates external partnerships to keep hospitality fresh and make guest experiences relevant. As curator, hotels can offer a variety of environments that support the mood and mindset guests want, delighting guests through choice and the ability to explore new hotel experiences.
Matchmaker: An integrator of people
The matchmaker reimagines guests as having an equal role in building personal connections with the hotel brand and between guests. A matchmaker extends and deepens relationships with guests by creating a culture around the brand and allowing the brand to be defined by the network of guests. Matchmakers draw on the current strengths of hotels—like space and hospitality—to build a compelling network of guests that attract more business.
Neighbour: An integrator of cultures
The neighbour expands the hotel into the community and engages locals. It’s a destination for hotel guests and locals, but it’s more than a portal to the local culture—it’s an active participant in the community, a good neighbour that fits into its surrounding context. The neighbour integrates by merging global brands with local cultures. This requires adapting to context while maintaining an overall branded experience and service.
Architect: An integrator of spaces
The architect uses and repurposes spaces and assets. Rather than thinking of a single building in a single location for a single purpose, the architect maximises space and resources to think outside that box—quite literally. The architect integrates multi-purpose spaces within and outside the single hotel to offer a completely new level of flexibility to guests, while serving new customers. It’s reimagining hotels beyond heads and beds.
Choreographer: An integrator of processes
The choreographer focuses on everything but physical space and real estate assets. It’s the virtual concierge and the logistics guru. The choreographer integrates services and businesses to act as the nexus of the travel industry—and delivers a seamless and convenient experience for the business traveler.
Reimagining resources and capabilities for the future hotel experience
Which of these opportunities will suit a particular hotel? Any of them could—in whatever combinations suit its guests and locations. But becoming an integrator will require the hotelier to rethink resources and capabilities and how he or she deploys them.
Today, most traditional hotels operate in silos defined by brands and spaces. Future hotels will build bridges to access new resources, balance resources to bring new life to existing capabilities, mobilise current resources for new partnerships, and merge outside potential into new opportunity areas.
In establishing new strategies for a hotel, the operator must consider every resource—space, people, brands, services—and consider every capability—technology, human capital, user experiences, operations, business models—to capitalise on the new opportunities in the hotel of the future.
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