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Do you remember travelling in the 90s? Maybe even the early 2000s. Large, comfy airline seats, salted peanuts, and internet-free destinations! Sounds like a vacation to me.
But the world has changed, and it’s adapting to a new breed of traveler. With remote workforce predicted to climb to 36.2 million people in the US, an increased interest in health and wellness, and a strong desire to travel while simultaneously promoting sustainability, the hospitality world is responding to these new demands...And they’re relying on the expansion of digital experiences to do it.
It’s official: Tik Tok users tend to trust other Tik Tokers over brands to advise them honestly and transparently over everything. The short-form video app has taken off, driving more Reels on Instagram and an increase in short-form video content on YouTube, especially where travel is concerned. In fact, a December 2022 survey from Google found “that more than half of respondents use video in their travel research (pointing to YouTube specifically at 41%)”. As a hotel brand, incorporating video into your customer journey plan isn’t just a good idea, it’s a necessity.
“Many hoteliers never thought they’d see the day when the front desk vanished.” If there is one thing that’s evolving exceptionally fast, it’s the disappearance of the in-person check-in experience. In its place, hotels are offering fast, smooth digital experiences that are removing needless friction from this part of the travel experience. Think digital solutions like mobile check-in apps, digital keys, a virtual concierge, and guest messaging services, all of which provide a higher level of personalization and bespoke services that engage clients throughout the entirety of their stay.
Another key feature for digital experience hotels is the Smart Room. Keyless door locks, voice control technology, and remote room controls are all features we can expect to see in the next few years as hotels place a greater emphasis on technology. As this is a really strong component for guest personalization, hotels are responding by adding voice-controlled entertainment, room service options, appointment bookings, or even adding tablets that connect to all offerings in the hotel.
As an added bonus, hotels are moving towards sustainability with these same smart room IoT features: “IoT technology can help with this through automated energy saving. Imagine, for instance, that a room automatically detects the level of light in a room and then seamlessly reduces or increases the brightness of the light bulbs; or that the heating is automatically adjusted, based on room temperature to save money.”
Gone are the days where people vacationed to simply “veg out” and eat crappy food. In 2023, the hospitality industry is starting to incorporate real wellness services, driven by health conscious travelers, and AI advancements ushering in the era of preventative medicine. Some hotels are diving head-first into this mammoth trend by becoming full-on health destinations, diversifying their offerings with the help of unexpected expertise ranging from fitness coaches, deep tissues therapists, naturopaths, yoga instructors, and even psychologists.
With the innovations in AI, hotel health leaders can further personalize the wellness experience by tapping into connected devices that show text results from body scanning machines, and other tech-driven health tests. This type of personalization is predicted to be a valuable asset to the hospitality industry and is already being integrated by many early adopters of this kind of technology.
The 90s way of travelling might be over, and so with it our salted peanuts, but perhaps these new trends will pave the way for the best vacation yet.