The beginning of a new year is a time for reflection, evaluation, and goal setting. Across nearly every industry, businesses craft strategies to drive revenue, cater to customers, and drive lasting change. In today’s COVID era, that planning process now aims to appease new customer behaviors that emerged during the pandemic.
For hospitality specifically,shifts in traveler behavior revealed a higher demand for technology, an increased affinity for work-leisure travel, and a greater emphasis on sustainability. As we look ahead to the rest of 2022, these consumer behaviors, coupled with advancements in technology and rising industry trends, help set the direction for guest engagement, business operations, and ultimately industry recovery.
Here are three digital advancement trends that will continue to dictate the hospitality tech ecosystem.
1.Open APIs Will Become Standard
With more and more hospitality software programs coming to the market, the need for seamless communication between them has become critical. This has led to APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) becoming a vital part of the hospitality tech sector, particularly open APIs.
APIs allow two programs to talk to each other and share specified data. For example, an API would be used to pull order information from a hotel’s restaurant system and add the charges to the guest’s room on the front desk system.
Previously, programs were limited in what additional software they could interact with because they used closed APIs. This was beneficial for software companies because it pushed users to adopt programs from a curated list of preferred partners or pay for an integration to a specific program; however, in recent years, more and more software programs have been adopting open APIs. Unlike closed APIs, open APIs are publicly available, meaning that other programs can freely interact with them.
Systems that use open APIs, like property management systems, have an advantage over closed systems because they can adapt and integrate with new systems and technologies quicker due to their open-door policy. In an industry increasingly reliant on data and analytics, this is important.
In addition to communication between newer programs, open APIs can also benefit older, legacy systems. A legacy system is one that is technologically outdated but houses critical data, such as customer databases, making it difficult to replace. Open APIs can be created to bridge the technology gap between the legacy system and new additions to the tech stack that allow them to communicate with one another.
Our industry’s recovery will be heavily reliant on technology and leveraging available data to make informed business decisions. Seamless communication between technologies is critical and open APIs will be the best path forward.
2. Use of Business Intelligence Will Continue to Grow
It’s no secret that hotels collect and rely on guest data, but compiling and analyzing that data is a recent addition to the modern hotelier’s arsenal. Thanks to technological innovations, like the adoption of open APIs, data that was once siloed in single systems can now be accessed from anywhere through an interconnected network.
Business intelligence is the practice of compiling enormous amounts of data and distilling it into actionable insights that can be used to make better business decisions. The applications of these insights can be far-reaching, from ordering inventory to scheduling staff and even determining room pricing based on occupancy forecasting.
As the pandemic continues to have lasting effects on the hospitality industry, business intelligence offers hotels a chance to leverage an existing asset into creating additional revenue and revealing cost-cutting opportunities.
3. Pandemic Trends Will Carry Over into Post-Pandemic Travel
Despite the many hurdles of COVID, the desire for travel persists, though it looks significantly different from the travel landscape of 2019. Shifts toward domestic travel and outdoor destinations have been going strong for the past two years and continue to experience high demand.
There has also been the rise of a new type of traveler – the digital nomad. Because of the rise in remote work, the demand for a travel-while-you-work lifestyle has exploded. This has led to an increase in length of stays,creating record-breaking profits for extended-stay hotels.
But hoteliers need to look no further than their own customer-facing technology to see a difference in guest behavior. According toHospitality Technology’s surveyed guests, two of the most preferred contactless technologies were receiving important reservation information via text (59%) and the ability to check-in through a mobile app (47%). But the strongest tech demand? Free Wi-Fi, with 80% of respondents citing the feature to be of moderate or extreme importance.
Future-Proofing the Industry
The US alone lost $500 billion in travel spending during 2020. That is not a hit the industry is willing to risk again, and strong efforts are being made to avoid it by incorporating hospitality technology that supports further innovation, using data analytics to make informed business decisions, and adapting protocols to the shifted expectations of guests. By taking these three major trends into consideration, hotels can take steps to future-proof their business operations in the wake of future challenges.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
As chief revenue officer, Frederic Dominioni is the leader of revenue-generating internal teams at RMS North America. Fred hires, mentors, and motivates the customer success, marketing, sales, and support teams. He is responsible for driving revenues, negotiating strategic partnerships, growing into new vertical markets, and shaping the product roadmap.