A look at the trends and predictions for the hospitality industry in 2022
If 2020 was the year that knocked the hospitality industry off its feet, 2021 was the year of false starts and uncertainty as the industry struggled to get back up. The pressing question now is, what will the state of hospitality be in 2022? It’s clear that people are itching to travel again, but will new Covid variants, travel restrictions, and ongoing staffing shortages continue to thwart their travel plans and disrupt the hospitality industry? As we prepare and plan for 2022, here’s what may be on the horizon for the travel and the hospitality industry.
The Big Question: Will There Be a Return to Travel?
The ongoing challenges of the pandemic, particularly the Omicron variant, make it difficult to predict at what capacity travel will return in 2022. In a recent STR forecast report, a strong demand for travel, in particular domestic travel, is predicted to continue throughout 2022 assuming no new variant will cause further travel restrictions. In a recent study on current customer engagement, Hospitality Tech found that consumers’ increased confidence in hotel safety, due in large part to the safety and health efforts taken by hotels to protect their guests such as the adoption of contactless tech solutions, could also help drive hotel recovery in 2022. The study noted that because of their confidence in hotel safety, guests are more comfortable using hotel amenities and engaging in activities such as gym and pool use, spa treatments and attending entertainment events.
On the other hand, potential rising inflation, lingering labor shortages, and struggles to access vaccinations may continue to impact travel in 2022. At the 2021 NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference, the panelists discussed how some places in the world, certain areas of the Caribbean for example, are still struggling to get access to enough Covid vaccines for their population, contributing to a decrease in travel in 2021 and potentially in 2022.
So will there be a return to travel this year? The answer is yes–but with a caveat. There will be a return to travel but there are still many unknowns as to what types of travel restrictions and safety concerns hotels, resorts, and casinos will be dealing with in the coming months.
The Prime Focus: How Can We Recoup Revenue?
In 2020, the hospitality industry had to pivot to implement contactless options and mobile solutions. And for many hoteliers, that new tech wasn’t fully put into place until 2021. As we head into another year dealing with pandemic-related challenges, hoteliers are no longer strangers to lockdowns and travel restrictions. The focus has shifted from a scramble to implement needed tech to an exploration of how tech can support recouping of revenue losses. Last Autumn we wrote about how hoteliers are finding success with incremental revenue opportunities through their hotel guest app; offering digital storefronts and in-app dining allows for major revenue increases without needing a huge lift from the hotel staff or even an IT department. You can expect hotels, resorts, and casinos to lean even further this year into hotel tech to make up for the losses of the past couple of years.
The Optimum Opportunity: What are People Saying About You?
“The importance of positive online reviews remains central as well—the well-known ‘halo’ effect of positive reviews helps to reinforce a hotel’s overall messaging and ensure guest confidence.” – Hospitality Technology 2021 Report
Now more than ever, new guests want to know what others have to say about a property before booking. Highs and lows, wins and mistakes are all communicated through word of mouth and online reviews. Which is why hoteliers with guest apps are taking the opportunity to make it easier than ever for guests to leave a positive review. But what about negative reviews? A hotel app supported by a comprehensive guest platform can filter negative reviews and send them straight into service recovery, providing a hotel with the opportunity to fix any problems and restore customer satisfaction.
The Best Path: Be Ready to Adapt!
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this pandemic it’s that you have to roll with the punches. Whether your property has a full team or a lean staff, losses to make up for or opportunities to expand, being flexible and adopting the right technology will help you address bumps in the road that may still be in store in 2022.
Want to learn more about holistic guest platforms that can help recoup losses and support any size team? Start a conversation today.