2017 brought along lots of dramatic changes and opportunities for the Caribbean hospitality and tourism industry. Along with the huge impact of climate change, the industry continues to face the challenges brought about by technology, political upheaval and meeting the ever-evolving needs of the global traveler. The following three top trends have been selected that will most directly impact our industry and region in the new year. They can be implemented by all hotels, large and small. Resolve to make these part of your day to day operations in 2018.
Guests expect to have a basic technology package consisting of a high-definition television with a wide selection of channels, a phone and access to WiFi. However, in order to truly improve the guest experience, hoteliers need to be know their guests better than ever before. Hotels need to make it a goal in 2018 to gather as must guest data as possible to improve the overall guest experience. Guest management software can now create a personal profile on each guest to anticipate needs before they even arrive. That means adding your favorite candy to the minibar, favorite magazine or bottle of wine by the bed, and even a customized scent throughout the hotel room. Other customizable services include keyless room entry using a phone app, personalized guest room climate control and lighting. Some of these customizations require technological aid, but some just require attention to detail, excellent customer service and a spreadsheet.
Travelers in 2018 are looking for more unique, native experiences. From exploring the local culture to ticking off the bucket list they want to experience everything but in a different way. This trend goes beyond the experience of living like a local. They want to be transformed. They want their travel to have an impact, on their lives and the destination they are visiting. This is why we see hotels across the globe partnering with local vendors and travel companies. Out-of-the-box ideas are becoming a requirement. With numerous OTA options, travelers don’t really need a travel agent to book their tickets or hotel stays. However, if they are looking for a life-changing experience, the travel agent becomes a consultant that can cater specific packages keeping their needs and wants in mind. Travel agents can be your best ally in the realm of Transformational Travel. Click here to read more about Transformational Travel.
At the core of any memorable hotel stay is the experience. The experience of travel, the experience of your hotel and the experience of the destination itself. Telling the story of how your hotel came to be, how it’s just moments from an award winning bakery, how within minutes you can be exploring hundreds of years of history… these are the stories that pique the interest of prospective guests. These are the stories that can start to shape your guests’ experience, long before they consider booking. Stories inspire us to travel, often implusively. As Google’s Travel Trends 2016 report showed, travelers increasingly illustrate impulsive behavior in I-want-to-get-away moments, instigated by the content they’re digesting. Indeed, 82% of travelers hadn’t chosen their accommodation provider and 78% hadn’t thought about which airline they’d fly with when they first started thinking about taking a trip. Often they’ll turn to search engines or YouTube for inspiration – a well optimized, structured and edited story in these channels could help steer customers your way. Click here to read more about the art of digital storytelling.