Last week our team took part in one of the most important travel-related trade shows in Europe, the ITB Berlin. It is the place to be for information and inspiration in the hospitality industry. Our CEO, together with the Director of Operations, as well as sales managers and representatives for different markets got the perfect chance to talk to the professionals in various fields of the industry and exchange ideas as well as listen to their opinions on the market. Today, we will talk about the possible trends awaiting in the future of the hospitality industry.
Robotization and Automatization
Undeniably the biggest trend, visible not only at conferences and trade shows, but all over this, and every industry is the growth of technology. It all started with the internet. After the creation of the World Wide Web, the development of technology sped up. It seems inevitable, that it will only grow in importance. After all, it does seem impossible to function without the smartphones, computers and internet connection, doesn’t it? And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
What does that mean for the travel industry? Firstly, automatization. Every aspect of travelling will become easier and more intuitive. The processes will run smoothly, because they will be, in a large part, automatic. Guests and hoteliers will not have to go through as much paperwork as today. Robotization and automatization will go hand in hand, making the experience easier and faster.
Robotization is actually the keyword. Many predict, that robots will take over many tasks in the travel industry. There are robots in the place of receptionists at hotels as we speak. And that is just the beginning. Robots are effective and never get tired. I believe, that they won’t completely overturn humans, as they lack compassion and understanding of emotions. However, they will surely be of help.
Smart Hotels, Rooms, Bags…
As the society becomes more and more advanced, the everyday objects follow that path. The expressions such as “a smart room” or “a smart travel bag” are becoming common. Because that is what the future will bring.
Smart rooms will respond to the guests’ voices. You will tell them what you expect, like early wake-up, morning coffee, a certain temperature, humidity and even brightness of the lights, and the room will set everything up for you just the way you like it. Do you want to go to sleep? No need to stand up and switch off the lights, just say it and the room will do it for you, as well as shut the curtains and even change the positioning of your bed to your liking. Do you want to take a nice, warm bath? Just say it out loud, choose the temperature, even the essential oils you would like to use and simply wait until it is ready. That is the future.
Smart rooms are fairly easy to grasp, we have been hearing about them for years. But what are the smart bags? Companies are working hard on the bags that will answer your every need. There are prototypes of bags that follow you around everywhere you go, that open and close on command, have fingerprints detectors and tracking systems.
In the not so distant future, travelling will be as effortless as possible.
The Booking Systems
Professionals from the industry believe, that while the Online Travel Agencies will not lose their power, there will be a shift towards more hotelier-friendly approaches. Hotels will seek to have as many direct bookings as possible and fight back the unfair commissions and rate parity agreements. At the beginning of the century, when the Internet was still a novelty and not many knew how to operate in the complicated systems it provided, the existence of agents that provided help was inevitable. Now, everybody knows how to work the World Wide Web. Hoteliers are aware of what they can do and hire marketing and operations professionals who can ensure they get as many customers onto their websites as possible. They know that it is possible to find new ways of distributing their vacant rooms.
That is why Bidroom.com is such a perfect solution. Not only do we provide direct bookings, we do not charge extra fees besides a one-time startup fee. We want to grow our own company without undermining our partners.
There are more and more solutions to the problems that occurred in the industry throughout the years, and even more, will occur as the time passes by.
Apart from the OTAs, other online service providers will be more relevant as the time passes by. It is connected with the automatization, as their goal is making processes easy, fast, and comfortable. Thus the growth of channel managers, online project management tools, email tracking and graphic design tools.
Everything comes down to the do-it-yourself attitude of customers and entrepreneurs. They want to be able to control their businesses, but also have the ability to do as much as possible on their own. That means, planning, executing projects, designing graphics and controlling the social media. And while nothing beats the help of a professional, those tools will be especially significant to smaller companies.
Overtourism and Political Tremors Affecting the Industry
Lastly, two major issues discussed at the ITB, were overtourism and political tremors. The former is a direct result of lowering the prices of trips, in terms of both the flight costs and the room rates. It is now cheaper than ever to go to almost any part of the World, and we all use it to our advantage. The problems occur when too many people do the same. Many cities from all parts of the World are faced with such amounts of foreign and domestic visitors, that they are unable to accommodate them all. Apart from that, the travellers claim that overtourism is ruining their experiences, as they cannot enjoy their holidays to the fullest due to long lines and difficulties with booking the perfect stay. The latter is connected with terror attacks and political imbalance. While it is a very difficult and delicate subject, it is unavoidable. Countries lose revenue from tourism because people are scared of visiting certain parts of the World. People start choosing their destination not only based on their needs, but also on the safety of locations.
Those issues will continue to grow in the upcoming years, and it might be harder to fight them than it seems.
Altogether most of the changes are, in fact, positive. The steps are being taken to make travelling as easy and pleasurable as possible to people of all nationalities, ages and needs. Observing those changes is very interesting. It will be fascinating to see where will the future take us.