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The hospitality guest of the future

The hospitality industry is constantly trying to keep up with ever changing consumer demands. Some of the key factors driving the change include generational shifts, technology developments, increased ESG compliance requirements, more demand for personalised experiences and finally the blurring of lines between business and leisure travel.

Shift in corporate travel patterns


Since the pandemic, there has been a shift in attitudes towards corporate travel and hybrid working patterns. Inflationary pressures coupled with higher operating costs have put pressure on companies to minimise corporate travel costs. Many businesses have realised that they can limit profit erosion by reducing employee travel and associated expenses. As a result, some hotels have seen high levels of performance across non-luxury properties due to the rise of a new type of business traveller focused on affordable accommodation. The lines between business and leisure demand continue to blur, with an increase in occupancy rates seen on Sundays due to travellers who are often working remotely on Fridays and Mondays, extending their stays over weekends.

Technology enables the luxury experience


The growing trend in luxury travel is for an all-inclusive, seamless and personalised experience with the searching, booking and payment steps all taken care of. Luxury travellers also seem to show a preference for the integration of digital interaction into their journey. As such, luxury travel brands need to present a consistent, authentic brand experience at each digital and in-person touchpoint of the guest journey. Furthermore, using technology to tailor services to the unique demands of guests will be expected, for instance, by calculating average wait times for food delivery at airports to notify passengers who might be rushing to catch a flight. Personalisation of experiences utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology can make a significant difference in guest satisfaction, but it is also important to allow travellers to make their own choices regarding how they want certain services to be delivered. The consumer is shaping AI and vice versa, and it is up to hoteliers to adapt.

Changing demographics mean different expectations


Traveller segment types are also changing, driving the need for a wide variety of offerings. Deloitte’s Future of Consumer research found that women are expected to hold an estimated 60% of wealth in the UK by 2025 and 25% of Gen Zs expect to change their gender at least once. There is also the impact of an ageing population. The average age of a UK citizen in 2021 was 41 years, 24% higher than in 1970 (33 years). As the wealth gap between generations widens, older generations who have more financial resources are increasingly having to support their less well-off children. This means they have less time and money to spend on travel. However, those who do travel are more likely to include their extended family in their plans, leading to a new trend of multigenerational travel. Technology and data analytics can help hoteliers better understand their guests, but it's essential to note that there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Before implementing any technology, it is crucial to understand the specific needs and preferences of different types of hotels and their guests.

The guest of the future is incredibly diverse. Having access to granular guest data is central to satisfying their unique needs. While many hotels still focus on overnight guests, we will continue to see the shift of focus away from overnight stay and onto the local community who might use the lobby to work, long-term stays and those wanting access to facilities like the hotel gym on a monthly membership.

– Richard Valtr, Founder, Mews

With consumer expectations quickly and frequently changing, it is vital to remain agile to cater for evolving needs. Revisiting strategies frequently and experimenting with emerging trends can help best understand the needs of future travellers. At the same time, it is also important to keep responding to the more traditional needs of consumers as well as trying not to dilute the brand offering. Budget hotels, for example, are focusing on providing a good breakfast to drive higher Average Daily Rates (ADR) and investing in advanced revenue management tools to increase Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), while some city-based luxury hotel brands are extending their food and beverage offerings at fair prices to attract non-resident visitors.

The guest of the future lies among the rise of much more granular segments, subsegments and micro-segments, with businesses expected to focus their offerings on satisfying the unique needs, desires and priorities of those guests.

Key takeaways :

  • Business travel is evolving, with a focus on cost-cutting and increased interest in hosting events
  • The luxury sector is growing rapidly; however, the experience is not always seamless, leading to an increased interest in all-inclusive super luxury holiday offerings.
  • Investing in technology to offer personalised experiences can boost guest satisfaction. However, it is essential to have a clear guest interaction strategy that balances profitability across all touchpoints.
  • Creating agile strategies that cater to future travellers and adapt to new market trends is crucial for the industry.
  • The use of AI is becoming increasingly prevalent in the hotel industry, with the potential to improve guest experiences and streamline operations. It is important to ensure that while adapting to technological advancements, the fundamental needs of the industry and its guests are not compromised.

Meet the authors

Anjusha Chemmanur

Senior Manager

Anjusha is a Senior Manager in the Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Advisory team in London. She has over 15 years’ experience in the travel, hospitality, retail and service industries, in both insight and strategy. She has held professional and entrepreneurial positions in the UK, India and the Middle East. Shortly after completing her Master’s in Business (MBA) in the UK, she joined travel technology firm Travelport, managing global projects to support the organisation’s growth strategy. Prior to moving to the UK, she was a business development manager at the Le Meridian Hotels and the Royal Orchid Hotels in India. Her experience includes extensive research and strategy across a diverse range of clients and industries, supporting global companies in market feasibility and growth, insight and thought leadership, competitive positioning and trend analysis.

Leila Jiwnani

Hospitality Advisory Lead

Leila Jiwnani is a Director in the Travel, Hospitality and Leisure Advisory team in London. She has significant operations, consultancy and M&A experience across the UK, Europe and Middle East. Her key areas of expertise include value creation services in deal and non-deal scenarios, commercial and operational diligence, post-merger integration, carve-out, operator search & selection, feasibility and market analysis, particularly in the luxury segment. Additionally, Leila has worked on a number of engagements across wider hospitality, F&B and leisure, providing performance improvement support, operational reviews, synergy identification and delivery, as well as strategic growth and branding advice. She works with a variety of clients, including leading global brands, private equity and sovereign wealth funds. Prior to Deloitte, Leila spent 6 years at PwC working on M&A engagements across the Retail, Consumer and Leisure industries. She also previously held operational roles at a number of luxury hotel brands, such as Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Marriott and Belmond, in the UK and Europe.  

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