Back in January, the travel and hospitality industry was busy forecasting the top hotel trends of 2019, anticipating what the next twelve months may have in store for the world’s travelers and accommodation providers.
Now that we’re just about halfway through the year, it’s the perfect time to take another look at the hospitality trends we recommended watching out for in 2019.
Hotel News Now saw mobile taking center stage, while data-driven personalization in a time of heightened data security was at the top of Hotel Online’s 2019 trend report. Travel Market Report consulted a hospitality professor, as well as hoteliers around the world, and reported their expectations for what the new year would hold. Skift was interested in the trends that will shape experiential travel in 2019.
One thing everyone seemed to agree on was that hotel technology was set to play a bigger part in virtually all aspects of hospitality, from standard operations to marketing techniques, fulfilling guest expectations, and everything in between.
Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest hotel industry trends that hospitality’s thought leaders, researchers, and insiders predicted would take shape in 2019.
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2019 hotel trends in marketing: voice search and augmented and/or virtual reality
Long-tail keywords to work for voice search
A travel study done in 2018 revealed that 50% of all surveyed travelers use voice search for some part of their trip. Hoteliers may start bidding on conversational long-tail keywords, such as “Where can I find a hotel near me?”. Keeping all the hotel information listed online up to date will be important in 2019 for this reason as well.
Augmented reality and virtual reality
Augmented reality and virtual reality have huge potential in the hospitality industry. For marketing, AR and VR can give travelers a three-dimensional feel for a hotel room, the property, its venue spaces and surrounding environment — differentiating the hotel and helping the guest make a well-informed and inspired booking decision.
2019 hotel trends in distribution: focus on mobile and a stronger push for direct bookings
Focus on improving mobile conversion
Even though mobile devices dominate hotel online traffic (and have done for a couple years now,) desktop still brings in the bigger revenue share for hotels. 2019 will be the year for hotels to focus on optimizing their websites and booking engines to effectively convert the growing number of mobile bookers.
Want to learn more about how to optimize a property’s customer journey for mobile bookers?
Offsetting acquisition costs with direct bookings
As hoteliers become more confident with leveraging technology to compete online, we could be seeing many more of them running CPC campaigns that deliver lower-cost direct bookings through their websites. And smart tools, such as trivago’s Rate Connect with its budget recommendations and auto-optimized daily bids, will also help make direct distribution more time- and cost-effective in 2019.
2019 hotel trends in design: Local and green, with the comforts of home
Local flourishes for a sense of place
Expect hotel design in 2019 to cater to the rising traveler expectation for a sense of the local culture. This could be by integrating traditional artisanal crafts or works by local artists into hotel rooms and communal spaces.
Adding greenery and going green
We mean green in two senses of the word: Literally, as in, more plant life incorporated into the hotel’s aesthetic. But also, eco-friendliness, with reusable bottles and glasses, LED lighting, and other measures to reduce the hotel’s and guest’s carbon footprint.
Want to find out more about sustainable hospitality trends?
Simple, home-like amenities
As peer-to-peer accommodations continue to attract travelers, hoteliers can take a page from their book and offer their guests simple accouterments such as a book library, coffee machine and locally sourced brew and tea, or batch of fresh-baked cookies.
2019 hotel trends in the guest experience: privacy and experiential travel
The privacy plus personalization paradox
Given changes to Europe’s data privacy regulation, the GDPR, many EU-based hotels will need to reexamine how they collect and handle guest (and staff) data in 2019. However, personalization is still possible. Adapting to the new GDPR will in large part be a matter of taking simple steps such as making sure the hotel website has the appropriate privacy settings, using software that complies, and communicating privacy notices to guests.
Interested in the topic of data privacy protection in the hospitality industry?
Culinary travel, local excursions, and more hotel-organized activities
2019 will put the “experience” in “guest experience” in exciting new ways, whether it’s through wild food safaris or can’t-miss, once-in-a-lifetime activities. As travelers increasingly seek out memories and Instagram-worthy moments over traditional souvenirs, expect more partnerships between hotels and local restaurants and excursion providers.
2019 hotel trends in technology: more important and more pervasive than ever
Hotel tech to improve operations and the guest experience
In 2019 technology is everywhere. And as more hoteliers understand that embracing tech isn’t just unavoidable, but hugely beneficial for their businesses, it will be an integral part of hotel operations, marketing, and distribution everywhere as well.
Considering the above trends, tech to improve the traveler’s experience and booking process on mobile would be a wise investment. It might also make sense for cloud-based property management systems to be another priority tech addition for many hoteliers in 2019, who find that running a hotel with a pen-and-paper method just isn’t doable in today’s modern, digital world.
2019 hotel trends in metasearch: properties using metasearch to increase visibility and drive direct bookings
Back in January the travel industry’s leading research authority, Phocuswright, published a study on the state of independent properties in the online marketplace.
The research found that such properties consider metasearch to be one of the most effective marketing channels available to them, and a solution to the rising costs of OTA commissions.
According to the study, nearly two-thirds of independent properties now receive direct bookings from metasearch, and almost 90% intend to maintain or increase their use of metasearch for visibility and bookings in the future.
On trivago, there are already 500,000 registered properties that are using the metasearch platform to promote their business and reach travelers online. Join them by registering for free and claiming your property’s trivago profile.
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A version of this article was originally published in January 2019.
Featured photo by Chastity Cortijo