As technology continues to evolve, and direct bookings continue to grow from 2020, it’s safe to say that the playing field will be changed for hotels to compete with direct bookings. But, as the world of travel continues to change rapidly, the big question is, what’s next for independent hotels in the future?
In this article, we explore some of the top trends that hotels can expect in 2030 and beyond, and show why hotels should embrace the philosophy of HyperCommerce to compete with the online distribution Goliaths and take their business to the next level?
The Story of Independent Hotels – Where have we come and where are we going?
Back in 2006, big companies like Marriott and Hilton preferred direct investment because they had the staff, technology, budget, marketing, and brand presence to help run their business. Independent hotels, even though they were small and with limited resources, had the Internet as an opportunity to manage properties with big brands and OTAs. With this in mind, we set a vision to empower independent hotels with the same tools to compete with the big brands.
After travel stopped in 2020, and in the two years of disruption that followed, many tourists around the world chose to cut out the middleman and engage with hotels they could trust to provide straightforward information and customer service. As a result, direct bookings increased significantly, and empowered hotels to re-engineer their distribution channels.
In 2022, which turned out to be the best year ever for independent hotels – in terms of the number of independent hotels and direct business – we analyzed the progress of our work and saw that the original vision to completely eliminate the sector has been achieved. Hoteliers now have many advanced tools from many providers that really help to attract the online market. Within our portfolio, we see many hotels with a 50% market share in direct bookings.
Now that hotels have a place to compete with the big, traditional online distributors, it’s time to target 2030 and beyond. The first step in this process is to look at the top 5 trends we expect to impact hotels:
- Short Term for Buyers: The emergence of new generations, especially Gen Z, brings short attention spans. Travelers quickly seek out concise information to make informed decisions. Social media, video, and social media influence their travel planning, making them more interested in booking immediately.
- Increasing Demand for Hyper-Personalization: Guests now expect experiences based on their preferences, whether it’s specific locations, room types, or special events. McKinsey & Company reports that 71% of consumers want to connect with their customers, and 76% are disappointed when they don’t. Hotels should provide proper information and streamline the booking process by removing unnecessary information.
- Technological Advancement and Change: Technology enters our lives, and hotels must adapt to the changes that are taking place. Artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, and virtual reality will continue to impact the industry.
- Payment Changes: Current payment methods, such as credit cards, can be inefficient and frustrating for hotels. Solutions to these challenges are expected to emerge, simplifying the payment process and making it similar to e-commerce. The flexibility in deposit restrictions may continue but with other options such as insurance or deposits.
- Growing Importance of Stability and Purpose: Sustainability is no longer an abstract concept but a concrete business driving force. Certification systems and consumer pressure will push hotels to adopt sustainable practices. Booking.com has already implemented sustainability measures, and user reviews will play an important role in driving the implementation of sustainable practices.
When you consider all of the above, it is clear that our business is changing. For hotels to be competitive, they need to adopt technology to adapt, provide the best experience to their guests, and grow their business.
What is HyperCommerce and how can it help Hotels Use It and Grow Direct Business?
After looking at all of the above and putting them together, we concluded that hotels need a new strategy for their online presence. Thus, the HyperCommerce philosophy was born. HyperCommerce aims to create a system that encourages interested hotels to offer amazing experiences to guests, wherever they are found on the Internet.
Traditionally, the hospitality industry (especially hotels) has been slow to embrace technology. This is because workers were more available while this is changing. Hotels should focus on providing the best possible experience for their guests at all stages of the journey, from check-in, to check-out, and beyond. And the only way to achieve this is to build HyperCommerce intelligence into their offerings.
Below are three ways HyperCommerce can help Hotels based on the information listed above:
1. Reach Users Early on the Image
To break out of the limitations of online distributors, such as OTAs and tour operators, hotels need to be in early communication. This means that hotels must reach consumers before mass distribution channels.
Whether it’s on Tiktok, Instagram, or any other social media; or, whether it is on social media such as ChatGPT that will change the behavior of guests on the Internet, interacting with guests at the beginning of the process will be the most important factor for hotels to compete in business on the Internet.
We believe that HyperCommerce will become a revenue generating platform for hotels. Hotels must think about how to grow their business, whether it’s finding the right guests at the right time and making offers that are often difficult and difficult to book.
2. Provide Relevant and Hyper-Personalized Offers to Visitors
HyperCommerce also aims to provide guests with a personalized experience, including everything hotels can do to create personalized experiences, from the moment guests start their search to checkout and beyond. It is important that this seamless experience starts at the beginning of the conversation between hotels and their guests.
HyperCommerce enables visitors to easily deconstruct what is offered and rebuild it in a way that best suits the needs of visitors. It is important for hotels to consider how they can adjust their promotions in such a way that guests will be willing to pay extra, or discount to get rid of some of the extras.
This emotion-based marketing should come in a simple and familiar way, which is what HyperCommerce is all about. Hotels should focus on reaching guests in new and exciting ways, and lead them to make reservations in a simple and direct way.
3. Reduce Spending on Hotels
Apart from satisfying guests’ online experience, hotels also need to simplify their operations. One of the things that hotels always struggle with is customer satisfaction. As technology advances, HyperCommerce will provide a complete solution that can handle all operational challenges, whether it’s booking, handling, or issuing orders.
Our goal in building HyperCommerce was to provide an intelligent solution that is easy to use and provides hoteliers with actionable information easily and quickly. We analyzed customer behavior on websites and booking processes etc., then built this intelligence into the HyperCommerce system – creating insights that hoteliers can see and respond accordingly. A complete HyperCommerce solution provides information that helps hotels make better decisions to grow their business.
Hotels will need to embrace sophisticated yet easy-to-use tools to manage business transactions in a way that drives business growth. HyperCommerce is a smart solution that can learn to use and with data, show visitors how to improve their performance or their prices etc.
HyperCommerce is not an island. Hotels have a lot of tools from different suppliers that they can continue to use, and HyperCommerce needs to integrate well with the existing ones. This means that HyperCommerce must be integrated with legacy and other hotel systems. It should also be new, but reliable and easy to use. Finally, for hotels to truly benefit from the power of HyperCommerce, there must be a human element to support.
Technology is not something that is intuitive. They are used and managed by people, who may have questions, doubts, or forget information. Therefore, it is very important to have a human face behind the technology to help hoteliers get the most out of their business, whether it is helping to solve problems when they appear or promoting better ways of working.
In short, HyperCommerce aims to transform the guest experience, providing reliable and easy-to-use tools for hotels. It also involves having a team of professionals who provide the necessary support to fully utilize these tools.
Will your Hotel embrace HyperCommerce to meet these needs in the future? Tell us in the comments.
More on GuestCentric
GuestCentric is a leading provider of cloud-based digital marketing software and services that help luxury hoteliers promote their brands, drive direct bookings and connect with customers across all digital platforms. GuestCentric’s all-in-one platform offers hotels the only integrated way to manage their guests’ online journey: successful, high-performance websites; integrated, easy-to-use booking engine; social media marketing tools and publications; GDS chain code is a channel manager to offer rooms on Amadeus, Booking.com, Expedia, Galileo, Google, Sabre, TripAdvisor and hundreds of other platforms. GuestCentric is a proud provider of solutions that increase direct bookings for hotel groups and independent hotels from categories such as Design Hotels, Great Hotels of the World, Leading Hotels of the World, Relais & Chateaux, Small Luxury Hotels and Small Danish Hotels. GuestCentric is featured on the Skift Travel Tech 250, a list of the top 250 travel companies that create innovative travel solutions.
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