As omicron recedes and pandemic restrictions are lifted, the hospitality industry seems poised to recoup some of the losses it incurred over the past few years. However, as welcome as this news is, industry experts and researchers still predict a bumpy road on its way to recovery.
In 2022, the need to brace for possible future variants and make up for lost revenue will combine with newly cemented consumer expectations to drive hoteliers to think differently about their operations, the guest journey, the needs of their travelers and more.
Many in the industry will rely on technology to help them operate leaner, provide guests with preferred methods for contactless interactions, increase ancillary revenue, and eliminate fraud and chargebacks.
In this environment, five key trends will emerge throughout the hospitality industry in 2022.
Let’s briefly examine each one to gain some insight into what hoteliers can expect this year.
All Types of Hotels Will Offer New Upsells & Add-Ons
Hotels will look for new ways to increase ancillary revenue in 2022 to make up for pandemic-inflicted losses and drastically rising wages. This year, it won’t just be full-service hotels providing additional amenities and add-ons to guests; we can expect limited service properties to follow the airlines model and devise ways to charge for various upsells such as a room on a higher floor, a corner room, early check-in, late checkout and more. To sell these products and services, hoteliers will look for technology tools that enable them to seamlessly push purchase options to guests throughout the guest journey.
Technology Will Be Used To Plug Staffing Holes
Unfortunately, many hotels will probably still be dealing with a staffing shortage for a fair amount, if not all, of the year. Additionally, many will run on leaner budgets than previous years and look for ways to keep wage costs low. Hoteliers managing these properties are actively seeking out solutions that help them make guests more self-sufficient without sacrificing the quality of their interactions with staff. Technology solutions like broadcast messaging to guests will become standard practice at hotels around the world.
Business travel will slowly come back as society normalizes post-omicron. This means US business cities like New York, San Francisco, and Boston should see a stronger recovery that was reserved for leisure markets in 2021. Even though 2022 will still see less traditional business travel due to the success of Zoom, some of the business travel losses will be offset by remote workers traveling for team gatherings, meetings, and corporate retreats — particularly at locations that have both strong business and leisure draws.
Guests Will Expect a More Streamlined Guest Journey
In 2022, the average hotel guest will be more comfortable with, and reliant on, technology than ever due to the forced adoption of many digital solutions early in the pandemic — and that behavior is here to stay. The modern guest wants to engage with the hotel at which they’re staying at any time from the convenience of their mobile device.
Hoteliers across the world have already started to embrace this new reality and implement technology tools at their properties that accommodate these new consumer expectations, such as contactless check-in. As the world re-opens, it’s important to understand consumers are looking for a full return to old ways of doing business. Convenient interactions through mobile technology solutions is just what guests want now and savvy hoteliers will give it to them.
Web-Based Solutions Will Outpace Adoption of Native App Solutions
This year, hotels will invest more heavily in web-based solutions than native apps. Though native apps have historically offered richer user experiences and more customization options for developers, web apps have seen a vast improvement in quality over the past few years. Combined with the fact that web-based solutions have a much lower barrier to entry for hotel guests since they don’t need to be downloaded from an app store, it’s easy to understand why we’ll see more web-based solutions and fewer apps developed by hotels in 2022.
Hoteliers Will Double Down on Eliminating Fraud & Chargebacks
For many properties, chargebacks and fraud surged during the pandemic. This led many to search out PCI-compliant digital solutions for credit card authorizations in order to help claw back some of that lost revenue. I expect the volume of overall chargebacks and fraud to level out, but hoteliers will still be looking for ways to make up for lost revenue from COVID. Decreasing fraud and chargebacks is a low-lift way to pad your bottom line, and 2022 will be the year paper credit card authorizations become a thing of the past for hotels.
2022 Trends Will Extend Past 2022
Though the above are all trends the hospitality industry can expect to experience in 2022, there is no expectation that any of these will have dissipated by December 31, 2022. The pandemic has forever changed the way hotels operate with long-term effects on bookings and guest management. These are just some of the changes we can expect as we all return to a new normal in the months and years to come.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Harman Singh Narula is Co-Founder of Canary Technologies, a venture backed hotel technology company, and has deep experience in hospitality. Canary provides a host of operations solutions, including Contactless Check-In/Checkout, Upsells, and Digital Authorizations, to thousands of hotels across the globe including a number of the largest brands, management groups, and ownership groups. Prior to founding Canary, Harman was a management consultant at Bain & Company, where he primarily advised senior executives of hospitality and technology clients. Earlier, Harman was a part of the Global Strategy Group at Starwood Hotels and Resorts where he was responsible for strategic initiatives to help streamline operations and enhance the guest experience. Harman holds an M.B.A. from The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and a B.S. from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. He also serves as an advisor to a number of technology companies in Silicon Valley. Harman lives in San Francisco with his wife and son, and is originally from New Jersey.