Tourism Trends Affecting Hotels

By Susan Tinnish Advisory Group Chair, Vistage | June 14, 2015

The way people travel is changing. This article examines some of the travel and tourism trends and discusses the impact on hotels. It provides some fodder to hotels to adapt and understand the mindset of the consumer and reconsider ways to satisfy their needs.

These changes will add to the hotel industry current efforts to respond to new customer demands, increasing reliance on technology (by customers, in hotel marketing, and within hotel operations).

The article examines five trends: the proliferation of leisure tourism categories, customization, local experiences, new ways of connecting with consumers, and consumer expectations around immersive marketing experiences and choices.

Leisure Tourism Categories Proliferate

Millennial travelers, especially those aged 18 to 34 years, have a stronger desire to travel than their older counterparts, according to a Hotwire.com survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults. And 70 percent of these younger adults are more likely to have budgeted money for annual travel than those ages 45 and over (Satchell, 2015). A common way to classify travelers is in categories of leisure and business traveler. Yet the needs and interests of the leisure traveler have proliferated – especially in different generations. Consider these newer categories in tourism:

Culinary Tourism

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.