A question that bedevils every forward-thinking General Manager – what will my guest look and act like in ten years’ time? And how can I prepare for this change (assuming there is one)?
While it is almost impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy, there are certain trends we can point to which could provide some guidance:
- Mobile will dominate – already mobile is beginning to play a major role in all of our lives, and changing the way people interact with hotels – from mobile bookings to mobile learning. In the not too distant future, keycards could become a thing of the past, as guests simply stroll into their hotel (no need to check-in, automatically done via mobile), take the lift to their room and open the door with their phone. In fact, guests may even choose their hotels based on its compatibility with their phone’s Operating System.
- Reality will become more virtual – slowly but surely Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming a reality, or rather accessible to more people. Estate agents in the US are already offering VR tours of their clients’ future homes, soon hotels will be expected to do the same. There may come a time when they can rearrange their room in VR – preferring their bed to be nearer the window, the cupboard closer to the door, the TV next to the bed – and expecting these changes to be made by the time they arrive.
- The rise of cybersecurity – compared to some of the larger, more high-profile cyber-attacks that have happened recently (Experian/T-Mobile, Sony Pictures), hotel companies have escaped largely unscathed despite a few credit card hacks over the past few years. It is only a matter of time, though, before a major cyberattack on a hotel or hotel chain ensures cybersecurity becomes a priority for guests. With the amount of sensitive and personal data being collected – from dates of stay to food requests, allergy information and even drinking habits – guests will rightly wonder if the hotel they’re staying at has robust-enough cybersecurity processes in place.
So perhaps it is time for hotels to start thinking about investing in more sophisticated cybersecurity capabilities, start mapping their rooms for VR or getting ahead of the curve by installing more efficient mobile tech into their operations. A major characteristic of the Millennial traveler is easy, fuss-free service and simplicity – something that technology, when done well, is designed to provide.