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Feb 13, 2020

GKA Trend Report: How Hotels Are Going Beyond The Room

GKA Trend Report: How Hotels Are Going Beyond The Room

The hospitality industry is extremely competitive which makes for some of the coolest innovations in customer service, technology and experiences. As cultural trends continue to shift and the number of hotel brands continue to rise, staying ahead of the curve is more important than ever. Here, we'll discuss some of the hospitality trends we foresee becoming staples in the community.

Programming and partnerships will be taken to another level

Hotels are opening their doors to experiences that will set them apart in a deeper way. For instance, Heckfield Place curates distinct cultural experiences that help guests discover the countryside of London. Following this strategy, hotels are using their surroundings to their advantage as a stronger touchpoint to reach their guests.

The emergence of cultural programming is becoming a global trend and it’s here to stay, even on a local level. Hotels are creating brands that are ingrained in local entrepreneurs. For example, Yours Truly in Washington, D.C. is partnering with local brands like She Loves Me (a flower shop), a cafe helmed by the team from a local bagel shop, Call Your Mother, and Timber Pizza, and creating access to not-yet opened gym studios in the neighborhood. By partnering with local small businesses, you can bring the community into your hotel and foster a sense of familiarity and warmth. Your lobby transforms into a living room or gateway to local experiences.

Hotels and restaurants will take storytelling a step further

Just last year, Hyatt announced their new soft-brand collection, Unbound. With the Marriott-Starwood merger, Marriott is well on its way to owning 30 different brands alone. As the number of brands entering the marketplace barrels along, customers are searching for key differentiators to compel them during their journey.

Brand-driven storytelling goes beyond being a pretty place to stay. Storytelling connects consumers to your values and a bigger picture and gives consumers insight into why your brand exists.

Take Purple Patch in Washington, DC, for example. The restaurateur took her family’s Filipino communal-style dinner feast tradition, Kamayan (which means “without hands”) and translated it into a shareable concept for all to enjoy. Another restaurant, Little Sesame goes beyond food with “Wild Sesame,” a camping trip that aligns with their culture and values. In the words of Little Sesame’s Obi Okolo, “It’s about adventure in all its forms and the belief that the table is where we come to share those adventures.”

There is a high demand for niche tribes of people, and brands are using storytelling and brand experiences to find them, and ultimately, gain more market share.

Simplifying lives through technology

Hotels are constantly on the search for the latest in technology and innovations to wow a guest or gain loyalty. As we explore and service the “instant gratification” culture of today, technology is less about complex wow factors and more about improving customer-facing services and experiences in simpler and easier ways.

With sustainability becoming a growing concern among young travelers, 1Hotel Brand, a sustainable luxury hotel brand, is tapping into the globally conscious market. To reduce paper use, the collection of hotels uses an app for their guest experience, including ordering in-room delivery via chat inside the app. Through technology, brands are improving the daily activities of employees and guests through mobile check-in, AI-powered chatbots for common questions, and texting services for room service.

Seemingly, the traditional hotel room as we know it is going through an exciting transformation. Now, smart hotel rooms harness the power of IoT (Internet of Things) to keep up with the pace of travelers. This can include everything from built-in streaming services to keyless entry, smart mirrors, digital amenities like lighting and temperature control, voice-activated assistants, and more.

The takeaway

In growing markets, hotels have to be creative and forward-thinking to capture prospective guests, like Hotel Revival, who is repurposing their rooftop restaurant into a coworking space during the week. As the world undergoes a major shift in buying power and decision-making, staying ahead of these trends (and working with GKA) is a way to prepare for changes happening throughout the ever-evolving lodging industry.

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