With the calendar changing to 2014 in the next week, many industry experts are attempting to project what will happen, what changes will be made and how they will affect your business over the next 12 months. HospitalityNet’s Robert Rauch created a list of the Top 10 Hospitality Industry Trends in 2014 that focuses on the emergence of a key demographic in the travel industry: Millennials. Let’s take a look at a few of Rauch’s insights.
1) Millennials will become the core customer within the travel and hospitality industries over the next five to ten years. Most travel companies, hotels and airlines will benefit as this group enters their peak earning, spending and traveling years. Exploration, interaction and experience are the major focus of Millennials, as well as within the subsets of this generation.
Many travelers are willing to pay more for a greater experience. “Foodies” are prevalent in this subset of the market and are looking for an overall gourmet experience for a reasonable price. This will likely cause the industry to revamp lobby bars, restaurants and food service in general. Other groups including Internet bloggers, culture buffs, LGBT and Multi-generational travelers are looking for that unique experience that will command change within the market.
2) Speed and precision will be a requirement when accommodating Millennials in upcoming years. This group is looking for fast booking, fast check-in, fast WiFi and fast responses to customer service needs. If these are not implemented within hotels and other properties, Millennials will have no problem speaking out over a variety of channels like Twitter, Facebook, Yelp or online travel reviews sites to voice their complaints.
3) WOW customer service will become even more influential in 2014. Service today can be broken down into four levels: basic, expected, desired and WOW. Basic service can be found at a post office, whereas expected service can be found at most fast food restaurants and many standard businesses. Good hotels will find a way to provide desired experience, but WOW service is really the only way to take that next step and ensure repeat business.
Creating an impressive, unique guest experience that exceeds all expectations will allow you to capture the customer. It may also earn additional business when this guest announces their WOW experience on various social media platforms.
4) Leadership is showing your management team that there are more important things than just “talking the talk”; it is important to “walk the talk”. Each and every employee has something that they can work on. It is of extreme importance to form a connection with guests in a time where Millennials are looking for interaction and a unique experience.
Rauch states that it is his goal as a leader to instill the value of building relationships by sharing the knowledge he has while learning from both his employees and guests. He runs with guests staying at one of his hotels, and offers personal training sessions for others.
5) Expectation of more international visitors. Average rates and occupancy levels in the United States are likely to increase over the next few years, influenced by a very new market. According to Arne Sorenson, President and CEO of Marriott Hotels and Resorts, leisure demand from abroad, fueled in part by the new Discover America campaign, will stimulate a new demand.
China is at the center of this international travel boom, preparing to send about 100 million leisure travelers abroad every year. If the U.S. gets its typical share of this population, that will mean an additional 10 million visitors annually from China alone. With the average Chinese travelers spending at least a week in the U.S., demand is created for an additional 70 million room nights in a market where prices are steadily rising. Globalization in the travel industry will likely prove to be a massive force.
To read the remaining trends on this list, or to find our more information about Robert Rauch, click here.