Thursday, December 22, 2016

Hotel trends for 2017

Over the past several years, we have seen some notable changes in the services and amenities offered by the nation’s hotels. The booking site Reservations.com predicts that travelers will see some surprising changes in the coming year.

Recently, we have seen technology based changes including apps that allow travelers to check in, access their rooms without a keycard or key, and check out again, all without interacting with a live human being. We have also seen changes driven by the changing attitudes of travelers, causing hotel operators to shift features like free Wi-Fi from the category of perks to standard features.

One of their predictions is that the industry will experience a retro-trend as live travel agents are becoming increasingly popular. Although there have been enormous advancements in automation, the industry is seeing a trend to bring back the human element for more custom-tailored experiences, the company said in a statement accompanying its predictions.

“With a new generation of travelers seeking to curate one-of-a-kind trips with the guidance of a travel expert, online travel agencies are offering access to live customer service agents to assist,” the company continued.

TheTravelPro published an article discussing the need for travel agents to become travel advisors in January, so it is satisfying to see the industry embracing that requisite.

Along a similar line, personalized travel planning experiences will be on the rise. With platforms including Reservations.com offering personalized recommendations based on a user’s travel behavior, travel brands will have to shift to this custom-made mode to attract and accommodate savvy travelers, the company said.

Another predicted travel trend will be increased data persistence. Don’t let the “wonk-speak” make your eyes glaze over. What that means is that travelers will be able to start planning on one device such as a third-party widget, continue it on the desktop website and finalize on a mobile device all without having to reenter their preferences and information. That data will be maintained across a variety of platforms to enable travelers to complete the booking process effortlessly.

Loyalty programs will continue to evolve, and more will allow the mixing of points and cash to pay for upcoming trips, as Hyatt’s (NYSE:H) Gold Passport program and several others do today.

2017 will see more “bleisure travel.” That is a newly coined term for the rising trend of combining business and leisure travel, and the practice is here to stay. In a related prediction, researchers said travelers can expect to see a rise in high-tech and other trendy amenities in what were previously considered business-only hotels.

Finally, 2017 is expected to bring full-circle booking, as hotel-only booking sites become a thing of the past. New services offering online itinerary building in addition to hotel booking, such as activity and tour reservations, car rentals and travel insurance options, are becoming the standard in new booking platforms, the company said.

Visit my main page at TheTravelPro.us for more news, reviews, and personal observations on the world of upmarket travel.



Photo by Carl Dombek
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