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November 10, 2010

HOTELS 2020:What the hotel industry will look like in 10 years' time

A new survey paints a vivid picture of the future of the hotel industry where guests are centre stage and technology plays a key role.

Fast Future Research today launched a report offering a fascinating insight into how the demands on hotels will change over the next 10 years. A sector has successfully crashed the meetings and events party over recent years, making Hotels 2020 – Beyond Segmentation particularly pertinent to the face-to-face live communications industry.

Of the many interesting findings, probably the most striking is the way the technology is predicted as transforming the guest experience.

“The report reveals emerging behaviours and the demands of tomorrow's hotel guest and what this means for the future strategies, business models, services and innovation approach of branded hotel groups over the next decade,” explains Fast Future’s chief executive, Rohit Talwar.

“The report looks to a future where augmented reality, customisable and responsive guest environments and service robots may become commonplace as guests demand deep personalisation, increased comfort and innovative experiences.”

The study highlights the new hotel business models that may emerge, such as invitation-only hotels, hotels co-branded with luxury brands, white-label hotels and full-spectrum hotel chains that will deliver one-star budget to six-star luxury hotel properties.

Hotels 2020 draws on a combination of desk research, expert interviews, international workshops in Delhi and Dubai and a global survey with 610 respondents. Key findings include that by 2020:
1. Guests will be able to tailor every aspect of their hotel experience
Traditional customer segmentation approaches will be replaced by personalised service spectrums and a ‘total service model’. “The guest of the future will be able to tailor every aspect of their experience, including technology, hotel services, the bedroom, the journey, pricing and communications,” says Talwar.
2. The hotel of the future will be more personal, connected and responsive
With the rise of service spectrums and changing guest requirements, the survey concludes that it is likely hotels will begin to cater for multiple needs and demands. “We will see innovations, such as intelligent furniture, adaptive room environments, personalised entertainment, individually tailored nutrition and ‘thought control’ of guest facing systems and appliances,” says Talwar.
3. Horizon scanning, anticipation and rapid implementation will become some of the hallmarks of successful hotel groups
The report details the characteristics of successful hotel chains of the future, including the ability to spot risks and opportunities, embrace open innovation, experiment, develop effective strategies and implement change programs quickly. It highlights the central role of technology systems in helping hotel groups stay ahead and meet the needs of tomorrow’s guest.

“Only by looking at the global drivers and forces of change can we begin to understand the future hotel guest and what this means for hotel chains,” said Jérôme Destors, director, Hotel IT at tourism and travel technology company Amadeus, which sponsored Hotel 2020.

“In this report, we have been able to build a compelling picture about the hotel of the future and what changing personal preferences mean for the guest experience in the next 10 years. Critical to meeting the needs of future guests will be intelligent and responsive technology systems that can support hotels to evolve, anticipate changing customer needs and make the most of emerging opportunities.”

Meanwhile, according to Talwar, it’s clear that guests will take centre stage and want far more say over the delivery of the hotel experience.

“In response, what we see is a shift from neatly defined customer segments to a more fragmented set of service spectrums that will demand hotels act in a way that is guest-focused, personal, connected and informed,” he says.

“This also opens the door for more partnerships with luxury and high street brands to enter the hotel market to create highly differentiated brand experiences.”

Hotels 2020 by numbers
Several fascinating statistics were thrown up by respondents to Hotels 2020:
•    79% agreed “heavy investment in emerging tourism markets will widen traveller choice, increase competition and potentially drive down prices and profit margins across the spectrum of hotels”.
•    71% felt “traveller motivations will become increasingly fragmented and diverse and harder to segment into clearly definable customer groupings.”
•    92% believe “hotel guests will expect their stay to be personalised around a set of choices they make at the time of booking or prior to arrival”.
•    86% think “customers will have the ability to choose the size of room, type of bed, amenities, audio-visual facilities, business equipment, etc on booking and pay accordingly”.
•    96% expect that “in the face of intense global competition, the hotel industry will develop a strong focus on strategy and innovation – adopting approaches such as crowd sourcing and open innovation to generate new ideas”.
•    97% believe “hotels will increasingly consider factors such as cost of servicing, level of spend and average length of stay when targeting potential customers in different geographic markets”.
•    95% think “hotels will increasingly look to new technologies to drastically increase efficiency, reduce costs, personalise the customer experience and improve service”.
•    96% agreed that “hotels will need to develop strong social media 'listening skills' to understand how customer needs and perceptions of brands and service quality are truly evolving and to develop service propositions, marketing messages, and pricing solutions that reflect the needs of an increasingly diverse customer base”.
•    78% expect “global hotel groups will increasingly seek to cover the full spectrum from budget through to luxury and heritage properties”.
•    81 % felt “hotels will increasingly experiment with a range of business models”.

Click here for more details on Hotels 2020.

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