In recent years, hotels have battled with short-term rentals to capture the business of vacationers and short-term travelers. In fact, Guesty found that 83% of the hospitality community believed short-term rentals have won over hotel-goers in 2021. And, as consumer confidence in travel has increased, many short-term travelers still consider short-term rentals as a desirable option for safety and space reasons.
With increased competition for the business of short-term travelers, what other options do hotels have? As we speak, more people are entering what's known as the "midterm economy" – those traveling or living nomadically for long periods of time. For hotels, meeting the needs of the midterm economy could mean significant opportunity.
People who don’t fall perfectly into the two well-serviced categories of vacation/tourism and daily living have unique needs. They need reliable accommodations for an extended period of time – a place to sleep, cook meals, work, exercise, etc. Many of these people seek resources that allow them to purchase and consume services by the month. Many hotels can provide the accommodations and services desired by the midterm economy, leaving opportunity on the table if they're not actively serving them today.
As remote work continues to grow, more people are likely to enter the midterm economy. Here are some ways hotels can use technology to adjust their experiences and serve this group:
Modify the guest booking process
The booking process has evolved significantly in recent years. Customer demands for options like contactless check-in have prompted hotels to rethink how the booking process looks for customers.
For those in the midterm economy, they are seeking services that check multiple boxes on their lists. As a result, the booking process could be modified to meet more of the midterm economy’s needs.
These travelers can benefit from streamlined processes and simplicity. So, instead of having a booking process that only takes care of accommodations, what if it allowed them to book other necessary services like transportation, coworking space, and more?
By facilitating multiple booking options through a hotel’s platform, long-term travelers can easily plan out a significant portion of their travel through a single channel.
Create a tailored feedback loop
Beginning with booking through check-in and throughout the stay, there is an opportunity for hotels to use technology to create a feedback loop. This feedback loop can be used to provide guests with a high-quality stay experience throughout their time at the hotel.
For guests in the midterm economy, this feedback cycle can help hotels create tailored experiences for guests, while also allowing them to glean insights to better serve other guests in the future. From hotel amenities to resources to be used outside of the hotel, embedded feedback into the entire stay is essential in serving the midterm economy.
Many that fall into the midterm economy are seeking connection and meaningful experiences during their travels. If hotels are able to offer guests an easy way to get connected to the community, they are likely to resonate with potential guests on a deeper level.
One way to facilitate community is by hosting experiences inside the hotel, which allows guests to get to know other guests staying there for an extended period. These experiences should be included as part of the booking process and technology can be used to send guests invites and notifications about events at the hotel during their stay. Hosting experiences such as breakfast, a coworking day, or an evening pop-up event featuring local businesses and community members are just a few ways to create engaging guest experiences.
At 312 Society, our customers constantly share a theme of a desire to have authentic local experiences and to meet local people in the places they are visiting. They are looking for a deeper community connection than spending a few days in a place and hitting the top tourist destinations. Hotels can create these connections for guests by focusing on food and beverage, creating local introductions, and opening doors to arts and culture. Some examples and ideas include:
- Food and beverage – Eatwith is a company that designs unforgettable, immersive culinary experiences around the world in 130+ countries.
- Community introductions – Greether connects female travelers to local women for safety, to have unique experiences and learn from their culture, first hand.
- Arts and culture – Track the events in your community and feature them in your booking process. Help connect guests with arts and culture by organizing a group to attend events together and provide transit to simplify logistics for guests.
As competition for guests continues to grow, hotels have an opportunity to tap a growing segment of the travel population. Serving the midterm economy requires a reset in thinking about the typical hotel guest and investments in tools and processes that support long-term, immersive stays. Fortunately, technology can help hotels make adjustments to their experiences to best serve this group of travelers, connect them with communities, and have the resources needed to live untethered for long periods of time.