Three Big Ideas That Will Change Hospitality in 2021

January 25, 2021

The hospitality industry is rooted in ancient history, dating back to the rise of civilization where tribes inhabited the Lascaux Caves in France and those seeking rest and relaxation escaped to Greek and Roman spas.

In the early 1950s vacation rental listings started to appear in local newspapers and the rest is history! Today the vacation rental industry is tipping the scales with a higher occupancy than hotels across the globe. The landscape of travel has changed substantially in the last year and there is no turning back. The impact of COVID-19 on the industry, change in traveler behavior and shifts in demand are likely to continue into 2021.

The new travel trends emerging from the wounds of the pandemic will alter the face of travel forever. But, with every crisis comes opportunity! We need to remain optimistic, embrace the changes, capitalize on these new opportunities with new tools and innovative approaches, lay a strong foundation for a successful year and shape our future.

Business Travel Redefined

If we’ve learned anything this past year it’s that you don’t need an office to get the job done. We were all confined to our homes for months on end and high-powered corporates and small business owners alike realized that with WiFi and a webcam we can work absolutely anywhere. There may have been some zoom call slip-ups, but once we got the hang of it, the appeal of working from home has redefined the way we do business. The hybrid workplace is here to stay!

The ability to work from anywhere without the confines of an office (or classroom) has redefined business travel. Rapid advances in technology and travel budget cuts have reduced the need for business travel. Hotels are repositioning themselves as “collaborative hotels” (Collabotals) offering remote workers a functional space to team up and collaborate without the need for business travel. Vacation rental property managers are customizing their homes with allocated workspaces within the home, high-speed WiFi and upgraded digital technology to encourage guests to break the monotony and take a workcation.

Loyalty & Confidence

There has been a shift in loyalty and research shows that putting your guests health and safety first is the best way to win guest loyalty, and earn traveler confidence in both your destination and brand. The availability of extensive data driven information through modern technology means that standardization can no longer be the norm.

Now is the time to go the extra mile and stay one step ahead of the competition! Analyzing guest data allows you to understand your guests on a deeper level and personalize their guest experience. Engage with your guests, offer perks, specials, loyalty platforms and free activities, and create catchy marketing and advertising tactics to drive demand to your market. There’s a blurred line between business and leisure travel right now, but there’s an opportunity (through loyalty) to replace lost business travel with leisure travel, bleisure travel, workcations and the newest addition, vaxications! What about a vaccination vacation package to encourage guests to travel after their vaccinations?

Diversity & Flexibility

Diversity and flexibility are key! We’ve been forced to implement change at a rapid rate to survive, and building your unique path to recovery requires diversity and flexibility. We cannot be passive and wait to see what tomorrow brings. It’s time to analyze the new travel and market trends, diversify your revenue streams, innovate and boost your bottom line.

Analyzing your guest profiles and market trends allows you to align with your guests needs. Add diversity to your offerings and value to your guest experience by partnering with local activity providers and building smart integration partnerships that benefit your both guests and your brand.

Forecasts for 2021

The travel and hospitality industry has survived epidemics, pandemics and natural disasters but is one of the world’s most resilient industries and the forecasts for 2021 are strong. So, we’ll leave you with some good news and a boost of confidence that things are looking up and the pent-up demand and desire for rebound travel is a sure sign of an epic year ahead.