By Jo Berrington, VP Brand of YOTEL
The world is getting smaller—people are not only travelling more, but choosing to travel in many different ways. From the rise of the sharing economy, to the changes in technology, the world of accommodation offering has changed considerably, and is becoming crowded and thus even more competitive.
To meet the needs of customers in this climate, it is important for hotels to be in tune with changing consumer and industry trends while embracing new technology in order to stand out.
Travellers today are part of a growing sharing economy, rising with the likes of Airbnb and other homeshare options. These startups arguably spearheaded the rise of collaborative consumption on an international scale and at a rapid pace of growth.
The sharing economy also means that travel is no longer an exclusive privilege, but more accessible than ever before. More and more people are choosing to travel with different budgets and expectations, thus opening the world of travel to an entirely new demographic of consumers.
Because of this, the hotel industry is facing significant change. Providers must evolve to meet new competition and better serve customer demands, all while remaining unique.
To continue attracting customers, hotels must adapt to stand out in an ever-crowded marketplace. This requires new features, modern technology and innovations that appeal to a savvier, modern traveller looking for everything that they need and nothing that they don’t.
New technology and amenities are key to allow a hotel to stand out in a sea of options. Hotels provide guaranteed comfort and basic necessities free of charge and most of all virtually ‘instant’ communication for whatever you might need 24/7.
Hotels like YOTEL for example, are all about giving guests back their time and freedom to do whatever they want and when they want, all in a seamless, intuitive experience.
Technology and innovation are a key aspect of this intuitive experience. Travellers expect connectivity, device compatibility, and a streamlined design to come standard. Thus, it is crucial to structure facilities around guests’ personal technology.
A ‘bring your own device’ ethos allows customers to interact with their hotel room and tailor entertainment preferences. The seamless connectivity offered by Bluetooth and Wi-Fi removes much of the hassle and expense of constantly updating equipment and bringing cables, while also giving guests greater control over their entertainment.
At the same time, hotels must still take comfort and convenience into consideration when designing entertainment and technology features. It is important to make sure that guests can connect from the moment they sit down on their bed without passing through a barrage of login screens.
This combination of simplicity and innovative features caters to the unique needs of a market looking for value, comfort, and something new.
Changes in the industry are moving beyond simply what travellers expect from their hotel or accommodation, but in the way they travel. The popularity of the sharing economy illustrates the trend of travellers looking for a more immersive experience, spending their time not only visiting a city, but experiencing it like a local.
There is opportunity for traditional hospitality providers to give guests a more local “flavour” while maintaining the service and quality hotels are known for. The free bike programme in YOTEL’s NYC location is one example of that. Hotels can also design public spaces to reflect the communities that they ‘live’ in.
In this new market, the user experience and the digital journey are no longer luxuries, but expected attributes highly valued by customers. Hotels must continue to invest in technology that works simply and efficiently, innovations that cater to a new breed of traveller, and always strive for authenticity and uniqueness to stay relevant. However, despite innovations to cater to guests’ changing expectations, hotels must continue to embrace their core values, providing the classic service model guests expect and enjoy.