#1 - Guests (still) focus on wellness and well-being
Maybe even more than back in the days, people want to be fit and healthy. So, they start looking for hotels and B&B's with these facilities included or close by. As independent hotel or B&B, you might not have the option to have a gym or wellness centre on your own. But you might have one 10 km down the road (or a dear friend who is a masseuse).
Get your guests in good shape with healthy nutrition and promote this in your hotel or B&B's description, or... by telling a story
#2 - Sell a story
Although you have a great gym in or close to your hotel, it will be the stories that stick. George Clooney stayed in a hotel room, but wanted his own exercise bike. And when George left the hotel, the bike stayed. This is one of the stories Ben Rafter, owner of OLS Hotels & Resorts, gladly tells his guests. You should brag about the well-equipped gym you have and the healthy ingredients you serve, but in the end… it's the story that sticks. Share the story about why you started, why you chose your interior or... what George Clooney did in your hotel.
And of course, let your guests share their positive experience as well!
#3 - Create unique and local experiences
A hotel's primary intent is creating the best place to have a good night rest. A place where the cleaning lady would knock on one's door and clean up the clothes from the ground. But… things have changed. People are looking for an experience. Preferably a local one. Hence, as a hotelier it's a good opportunity to partner up with local vendors or exotic companies and offer special packages. Key thing to do: think outside the box and create an unforgettable experience for your guest. Or even better: let them get to know your local habits (or the one's of your cleaning lady).
And this is where Airbnb steps in.
#4 - Homestays: threat or ally?
So, people want to experience. And that's why homestays are still (and becoming more) trendy. Going to someone's house asking them for directions and local tips is an experience on its own. Examples of well-known homestays are Airbnb and HomeAway. Whether they are a threat or ally, they are popular amongst travellers and therefore important to connect your hotel to.
New research shows that homestays are becoming more popular amongst business travellers, and homestays remain popular amongst millennials.
#5 - Millennials on the run
Millennials refer to the generation of people born anywhere between the early 1980s and early 2000. They are the largest group travellers. By some they are called Tripsters, a combination of 'hipsters' and 'travellers'. And this generation is experience-hungry, like taking selfies, and they love to 'travel brag' on Instagram and Facebook.
And… above all, they love technology.
#6 - Guests want connectivity and technology
The most important requirement of a hotel room is having excellent Wi-Fi connection; it has to be fast and always working. This was a demand before 2018, but guests want more. They want to watch television on smart TVs, set the temperature with their smartphone or unlock their room with a mobile app.
Not only guests want more. Hotel and B&B owners also want technology. Hotel software needs to be responsive to different devices. And, more importantly, software needs to be cloud-based, as it gives flexibility to run your hotel from anywhere, anytime.
#7 - Messaging with hotels
At first, guests contacted the hotel or B&B by email or telephone. Next, the Booking Engine was a way of communicating. Now, it goes a little bit further. People want to arrange things quickly, and that's why instant messaging is getting more and more popular. Hoteliers can do this by installing WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
RoomRaccoon made it easy to apply instant messaging, because their partnered up with Staying, an app to chat with guests via WhatsApp, WeChat, etc.
#8 - Robots that communicate with your guests?
Chatbots are a form of instant messaging. Large hotel chains use it to fasten communication in a more effortless way. Chatbots are more efficient (though technical). A chatbot is a combination of robot and chatting: a chatbot. It's basically a computer answering your guests, instead of a person. With this, guests get on-demand information 24/7 in a natural and conversational way. Chatbots can be used for online check-in, customer service, setting the alarm, opening the curtains, ordering breakfast and much more, without ever talking to a human being.
And, chatbots can also be used for communication apps on mobile phones.
#9 - Moving to mobile
It should come as no surprise that many people use smartphones in 2018 and that this number grew immensely over the past decades. Mobile device usage will also be implemented more in hotels. Some hoteliers use a keyless entry or check-ins through a mobile app. These two things may be too advanced for your independent hotel or B&B. But, what you should have is a well-performing responsive website, which make the website userfriendly for mobile-users.
Especially the booking module should be mobile userfriendly, as it may stimulate direct bookings.
#10 - Direct bookings are evolving
At first, it was almost unthinkable that travellers would go to the hotel or B&B's own website to look for a cheaper or more service-oriented option. It would be too much of a hassle for them and OTA's would show all the results perfectly. But, nowadays, people do. And that's good thing, because hotels and B&B's don't pay commission over the bookings that are made via a booking system.
These are the top 10 trends to know. And maybe to respond to.
Best of luck!