As the New Year approaches and 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to think about your hotel’s guest experience goals in 2016 and devise new strategies to sharpen your competitive edge. Restaurant and hospitality consultants Andrew Freeman and Co. have been busy scoping out rising hotel trends for the near future, from changing accommodation types to new ways to incorporate tech into the guest experience. Here are five trends we expect will develop over the coming months.
1. Tiny Hotel Rooms with Big Common Spaces
Forget about walk-in closets: bite-sized accommodations will be all the rage in 2016. Micro-hotels are popping up in major cities such as London and New York City, offering creative common spaces alongside tiny private rooms. Most offer all the perks you’d expect from a typical hotel stay, just in a smaller package. Look for brands like Pod, Yotel, CitizenM and Hyatt Centric as beacons of a rising trend.
2. Hostels for Hipsters
For those who shun the idea of a chain hotel, new hostel accommodations suit travelers’ needs both for a unique, off-the-beaten-track experience and for the perks of fancier hotels. Say sayonara to dingy bunk rooms and broken lockers: hostel websites boast pools and bars that rival resort hotels, but you’ll still be sleeping in a bunk at night. How…ironic.
3. End of “Checkout Time”
In the spirit of cities that never sleep, hotels are abandoning the concept of the overnight stay (and the early morning checkout that goes along with it). Some advocate for a 24-hour stay model, while others are simply relaxing their late guest checkout policies. This trend may indicate the first step toward a redefining of conventional hotel guest guidelines.
4. Virtual Service
Concierge desks are (apparently) for old and otherwise unrushed people. Want a restaurant recommendation as you’re walking through the Lower East Side? Simply FaceTime or text your concierge while you’re on-the-go. Major hotel chains, including Hilton and Hyatt, allow their concierge to have a Twitter account to communicate with guests. Keep your eye out for an inventive meshing of technology and service in the coming year.
5. Smartphones as Keys
If airlines can do it, why shouldn’t hotels? Hilton and Starwood Hotels are investing in technologies to enable smartphones to work as hotel room keys, streamlining the check-in process to improve guest experience and saving money on those pesky pieces of plastic. Expect this technology to grow and improve with backing from key industry players.