Honestly, how often do predictions actually come true? We know some of ours did. Prioritizing technology — greater use of first-party data — a focus on sustainability in travel — check, check, and check!
Every year, we source predictions for the year to come from top hospitality experts who have their fingers on the pulse of the industry. Here’s what they have to say.
What you will see here
1. Even more data-driven decision-making
As hoteliers make strides in technology advancements, it’s getting easier and easier to leverage rich guest data for strategic decision-making. There’s honestly no room for anything less. It’s data-driven or bust. Without leveraging rich guest information, it’s hard to imagine intelligent operations. That’s why so many hoteliers are backing every marketing campaign, every lead follow-up, and every guest interaction with data.
Patrick Norton, Managing Partner and Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Brittain Resorts & Hotels has those same expectations for next year, saying on episode #71 of the Hotel Moment podcast, “If you don’t have some sort of data-driven piece as the nucleus of your technology stack, then you’re doing something wrong, and you’re gonna fall behind.”
“2024 is about data,” he continued. “We feel we know the difference between fads and what’s the next big thing. I think a lot of companies are going to fall behind in AI and business intelligence.”
When it comes to collecting that data, there are two types to pay special attention to.
In case you aren’t familiar with zero-party data, it’s basically any information your guests proactively offer up. And research shows they’re pretty willing, with 82% of consumers sharing personal data for a better customer experience. For example, those form-fills and survey responses help make some of the most accurately personalized communication that you can turn right back to your guests. Zero-party data isn’t new, but its use is picking up speed as we head into 2024.
And if you weren’t padding campaigns with first-party data this year, it’s never too late to start. Highly reliable and cookieless, first-party data includes demographic information, stay data, and web capture. This data type allows you to factor in different customer behaviors while protecting guest privacy and personalizing experiences with greater accuracy.
No matter the type of data you collect, those insights are the building blocks for your guest relationships. So, if you’re in pursuit of strengthening guest relationships, then you’ll need a sophisticated tech stack that not only collects guests’ data, but removes the data silos and allows for easy segmentation and personalization.
The relationships you create, nurture, and sustain are what’s going to tip the scale toward increased loyalty and profitability for your properties. Guests appreciate that personalization, and 71% even expect it — so ensuring you reach those expectations in all of your communications only increases brand affinity and encourages guests to book again with your hotel.
2. The rise of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs)
Are you in on the CDP conversation?
“CDPs are going to continue to be a big topic of conversation. I continue to hear from industry folks about trying to connect data from all these different places and creating these more robust profiles,” says Jason Pirock, Corporate Director of Marketing at Springboard Hospitality, when asked about trends for 2024 on the Hotel Moment podcast.
The hospitality industry is still in the thick of the “digital transformation” — enhancing operational processes with tools and technology to improve the guest experience. Much of these advancements aren’t replacing staff, but instead reducing manual tasks and augmenting their work. A CDP is a prime example — shaping up to be the all-encompassing solution for hoteliers to reach that goal of peak stay experiences.
Unlike a CRM or PMS, a CDP is the ultimate connector — ingesting data from a variety of channels and performing actions like identity resolution and data integration while also syncing that data — something a CRM and PMS can’t do. It’s no wonder why more hoteliers are considering CDPs in their 2024 budgets to elevate their personalization and generate stronger guest loyalty.
3. Location-specific experiences
This year we saw a major preference for local experiences, with as much as 75% of travelers making it a priority for their trips. And according to Hilton, that’s not about to stop in 2024.
Shawn Jereb, Senior VP of Revenue Management & Distribution at Montage International, shared his perspective on this ongoing trend for 2024:
“I think for the first time, what I’m experiencing is a divergence in specific products and locations. Meaning in the past, we’ve said, on a macroeconomic basis, “This is what’s happening in the United States.” But now, it’s really come down to product by product, location by location … So, it takes a much more, I think, fine-tuned approach than we’ve historically taken.”
If you’ve been eyeing this trend, now is a great time to get a jumpstart on it for 2024. Think about how to meet the craving for authentic local experiences as you curate offerings for each property. If you’re choosing to or plan to embrace the local culture and lifestyle, promoting the features that make that place unique (think cuisine or popular entertainment for that area) will be just as important.
Naturally, segmentation and personalization play a critical role in achieving a hyper-local experience. As Jereb mentioned, a “fine-tuned approach” is needed if you want to show guests you’re listening to what they want. Almost 42% of Gen Z and 44% of Millennials are interested in learning about the local culture when they travel, so don’t hesitate to pull that through when you talk to them over the phone or online as they book.
It’s hard to pinpoint the exact reason travelers are craving “local,” but one thing is for sure, tapping into your guest database to capitalize on that interest is one way to secure more direct bookings next year. Try using some of that first-party or zero-party data to send some personalized offers to these “local-focused” travelers.
Stay on top of next year’s hospitality trends
As we prepare for another year, we’re working closely with hospitality leaders across the industry to understand shifting trends and help hoteliers adapt. To listen in on these insights and learn how hotel technology plays an active role in the success of hoteliers around the globe, tune in and subscribe to the Hotel Moment podcast.