As with many industries, the pandemic has transformed the premium hotel sector, condensing what would typically be a ten-year evolution into a one-year game of fastball. The significant reduction in business and recreational travel and widespread remote working has forced a rapid transformation of the luxury travel market, and some interesting new trends have emerged that now look set to remain.
The multitude of innovations in hotel management can typically sit under the banners of going green, going smart, and streamlining operations. At the heart of change? The need to provide a meaningful and differentiated luxury experience front-of-house, while streamlining suppliers to sustain a margin.
Today, we’ll look at a few of these hotel trends, and the impact they can have on the premium hotel landscape.
1. Going green - the eco-friendly hotel
While some environmental attention is not a new idea, recent climate disasters and the pandemic have created a tipping point in customer expectations around eco-action. No longer can hotels put the onus on guests with the single-towel usage suggestion, rather, guests are now expecting visible, integrated eco-friendly practices, and seem to derive a greater sense of satisfaction from staying in hotels that are doing this well.
There are countless actions hotels can take in this area, including but not limited to:
Evidence is now emerging that hotel groups that are truly investing in eco-friendly integration are winning both on the revenue front with increased bookings as well as the profit front, with lowered costs of operations.
2. Going smart
The last decade has seen smart homes become commonplace in Australia, as homeowners have invested in smart systems that monitor energy consumption, security systems, lighting, appliance automation and more. Similarly, hotel experiences are becoming ever more digital. Guests who have had a two-year hiatus from the premium hotel experience might be surprised (and delighted) to see in-room features such as:
Wireless device charging
Smart controls for temperature, light and power
Tablet-based control for room service, spa bookings and any other hotel services
Smart mirrors which combine mirrors with TV screens so you can catch up on the news while getting ready for the day
Keyless entry via smartphone apps
Smart TVs that offer you the chance to log in to your own streaming service, with an automated log-out on checkout
While seeming to be future-focused in terms of technology, hotels have come to realise that many premium travellers have these experiences in their homes, and appreciate being able to travel light and yet have the modcons of their home while they’re away. Similarly, many of these services again reduce overheads for hotels in the long-term, providing a more sustainable service that guests enjoy.
3. Streamlining suppliers - the coffee case
A growing segment of coffee connoisseurs will now travel to destinations where they can expect a high standard of coffee, whether in-room or while dining. Recently, premium hotels in Australia have had to partner with two and sometimes three coffee suppliers in order to create experiences that travellers prefer. There are a handful of coffee suppliers that can manage the scale, servicing and training required to provide large hotels with conference and breakfast coffee, as well as quality in-room machines and back-of-house servicing. Meanwhile, travellers often demand locally-roasted or artisan style coffee in lobby cafes, which few large-scale suppliers offer.
However, the cost and effort associated with managing multiple suppliers and supply chain pressures have created headaches for hotel procurement, and this has seen an increased desire for supplier consolidation.
Luckily, established global suppliers such as Lavazza have seen this coming. Combining global buying power and robust supply chain with a diverse portfolio, Lavazza now services premium hotels in Australia across all occasions. Lavazza’s La Reserva de ITierra range, ticks the boxes of a sustainably produced and locally roasted coffee, while Lavazza’s premium hotel offering services all other occasions seamlessly.
While there are literally hundreds of trends emerging in the global premium hotel space in 2022, smart technology, eco integration and streamlined operations are three we’ve seen deliver some stand-out hotel positions here in Australia. The accommodation sector has seen some hard times that have led to forced change, however, it seems that current trends are offering some fantastic opportunities both for the guest and the hotel groups to thrive.