In recent times, the hospitality industry has seen hoteliers shifting from traditional services to digitalized ones. The trend emerged from the aftermath of the COVID-19 era that propelled the advent of innovations and technological advancement in the hospitality industry. As we begin a new year, it is pertinent to consider some of the key innovations every hotelier must embrace in 2024.
Since the vital aspects of the hospitality industry are human resources, customer satisfaction, information technology, sustainability, and wellness, our top 10 innovations in the hospitality industry in 2024 have been carefully handpicked to drive towards a technology-inclined environment in any hotel, restaurant, and other setups in the hospitality industry.
With that said, let’s see the top hospitality industry trends 2024.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Internet of Things (IoT)
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) (Virtual Tours)
Robotics and Automation
Contactless technologies and solutions will continue to lead innovative trends in 2024 since it is applicable across a wide range of hospitality services. From improving the process of checking in and out for the customers to maximizing cost reduction for the hotelier, contactless technologies have remained the go-to innovation for every hotelier to elevate its customer services to the next level.
In case you are wondering what are contactless technologies? These technologies include mobile applications, smart room keys, QR codes, and other technologies that do not require the physical appearance of the customer before booking the services of a hotelier. Several surveys like this one by Botshot were done in 2023 to check the perception of customers towards the innovations in the hospitality industry in 2024. In a survey, 80% of hotel guests said that they would prefer to download and check-in/out and gather hotel information through the hotel app.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes next on the list as a major innovation to watch in 2024 in the hospitality industry. By harnessing the power of AI algorithms, hoteliers can analyze vast amounts of guest data, including preferences, behaviours, interactions, metadata, and social data. For instance, this efficient technological tool can suggest available rooms, dining options, and other activities based on data analyzed from their recent behaviours.
Furthermore, AI-driven automation tools like chatbots and automated virtual assistants are gradually becoming the cornerstone for enhancing operational efficiency in the hospitality industry. Chatbots and automated virtual assistants run by AI can provide first-hand information on customers’ routine queries, reservation processes, and other
issues they may face. AI also facilitate Dynamic Pricing and Revenue Management which enables hoteliers to adjust room and service charges in real time based on factors like demand, seasonality, and competitor pricing. This ensures that hotels can optimize revenue by offering the right prices at the right times.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the third on our list of innovations in the hospitality industry in 2024 as it has gained quite a good reputation among hoteliers recently. IoT allows for the existence of smart controls for devices such as thermostats, lighting systems, kitchen equipment, and other in-room controls thus, empowering guests to personalize their environment and take charge of their stays at hotels. Since IoT devices can also be integrated into a Centralized Management System (CMS), it is even easier for hoteliers to monitor and adjust settings remotely to meet certain needs of customers who are not so familiar with the smart controls.
Additionally, IoT-enabled sensors in hotel rooms can signal the housekeeping department when a room needs attention, thereby, optimizing cleaning schedules and ensuring rooms are prepared promptly before the arrival of new guests. It also helps to save costs and optimize the maintenance routine of every hotel by predicting and informing hoteliers about possible technical issues that may be faced in the future based on the current data. The implementation and benefits of IoT are boundless and cut across several areas in the hospitality industry.
What if guests can get a glimpse of the experience at a hotel before visiting it? Or even get a complete outlook of the hotel in real time? These are what AR and VR offer as VR can take guests on virtual tours of the rooms and facilities in a hotel while AR provides them with vital information about what they see via interactive maps and serves as virtual guides in real-time. However, the adoption of AR/VR is still low but is expected to increase drastically up to over 34% in the next few years.
Moving on, the hospitality industry has witnessed a growing trend towards virtual events and conferences since the COVID-19 pandemic and VR got the perfect solution to this. VR platforms provide an alternative to physical gatherings, allowing participants to engage in virtual conferences, meetings, or events from the comfort of their locations. Attendees can use VR to explore virtual exhibition spaces, interact with content in real-time and network with other participants like in the real world. Hence, this opens up another opportunity for hoteliers to explain their revenue stream and elevate the overall customer experience in their hotels.
The hospitality industry is looking to become more customer-centric and reduce misjudgements by staff which created an entry for robotic and automaton into the industry. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is particularly a popular option to automate repetitive and time-consuming tasks. RPA handles everyday data entry, invoice processing, and inventory management tasks accurately thus, allowing the human resources to focus on more complex and guest-centric responsibilities and reduce the probability of errors.
Interestingly, robots can also be deployed for tasks such as delivering room service, handling luggage, and providing general information to guests. These robotic assistants not only add a futuristic and innovative touch to the guest experience but also contribute to operational streamlining. For instance, robotic room service eliminates the need for staff to make certain deliveries, allowing them to focus on more personalized guest interactions. Importantly, while robots cannot replace the human touch in hospitality, they can complement human efforts by handling routine and repetitive tasks, leaving staff more available for guest engagement and service customization.
The next on the list of innovations in the hotel industry is the latest generation of wireless technology - WiFi 6. WiFi 6 offers substantial benefits for the hospitality industry by providing guests with seamless connectivity and high-speed internet access. With the growing reliance on digital devices and the demand for bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming, online gaming, and internet browsing, every hotel needs a robust and efficient network infrastructure to handle their guests’ requests. WiFi 6 addresses this issue by offering faster data transfer speeds, increased network capacity, and improved performance, especially during peak hours. This means that guests can now enjoy a smoother and more reliable internet experience while enhancing their overall satisfaction during their stay at hotels.
One notable feature of WiFi 6 is its ability to handle a higher density of connected devices simultaneously. In a hotel or other hospitality settings where guests bring multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other smart gadgets, this capability is crucial. WiFi 6 employs advanced technologies like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) and Basic Service Set (BSS) Coloring allowing the network to efficiently manage and communicate with multiple devices at the same time. Hence, it not only accommodates the diverse connectivity needs of guests but also ensures that each device experiences optimal performance seamlessly.
In terms of security, WiFi 6 brings improved security features such as WiFi Protected Access 3 (WPA 3) which enhances encryption and protects against security vulnerabilities. This is paramount as the security of data and other sensitive information comes first in the hospitality industry. By implementing WiFi 6, hotels can enhance their network security and provide a secure environment for both guests and staff. The adoption of the WiFi 6 is one way to stay ahead of the curve in a world where internet connectivity is optimum.
Inarguably, data security is of paramount importance in the hospitality industry since hotels handle a vast amount of sensitive guest information. This information includes personal details, payment information, booking histories, and even some behavioural data. The implementation of robust data security measures is crucial not only for legal compliance but also for building and maintaining trust with visitors. Hoteliers must implement encryption protocols to safeguard data during transmission and storage while access controls and authentication mechanisms that ensure only authorized personnel can access sensitive information must be put in place.
Unfortunately, the hospitality industry is a main target for cyber threats and fraud due to the volume of financial transactions and the valuable personal information stored in hotel databases. Thus, implementing advanced cybersecurity measures is essential to thwart potential threats. These measures include deploying firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and antivirus software to monitor and protect against malicious activities. Also, regular security audits and vulnerability assessments are crucial to identify and address potential weaknesses in the system.
Data security in the hospitality industry goes hand in hand with compliance with data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other regional laws of the country where the hotel is located. Hotels must adhere to these regulations to avoid legal consequences and financial penalties. Compliance involves adopting practices such as obtaining explicit consent for data collection, providing transparency regarding data usage, and ensuring the secure disposal of data when it is no longer needed. By following these regulations, hoteliers will not only mitigate legal risks but also inform their guests that their information is safe and handled with utmost care.
The application of green energy in the hospitality industry is not only a commitment to environmental responsibility but also a strategic innovation in the hospitality industry 2024 for cost reduction. Hotels consume significant amounts of energy for lighting, heating, cooling, and various operations. Therefore, implementing renewable energy sources such as solar panels and geothermal systems allows hotels to harness sustainable energy and reduce their reliance on traditional (fossil-fuel-based) power sources. While the initial investment in green energy infrastructure may be significant to some hoteliers, the long-term benefits are substantial. Thus, hotels can achieve energy independence, reduce utility costs, and insulate themselves from fluctuations in energy prices with green energy.
Furthermore, adopting green energy practices in the hospitality industry can significantly enhance a hotel's image and attract sustainable environmental lovers. In no doubt, modern travellers increasingly prioritize sustainability when choosing accommodations. Hoteliers that actively invest in green energy initiatives showcase their commitment to environmental stewardship, attracting a growing market segment that values eco-friendly practices. This commitment can lead to increased customer loyalty, positive word-of-mouth marketing, and a distinct competitive advantage in the market.
The COVID-19 raised the bar for health and well-being in the hospitality industry. Thereby, making the application of smart healthcare in the hospitality industry reflects a proactive approach towards guest well-being and experience. Hoteliers can integrate smart healthcare technologies to offer guests personalized wellness services and amenities. For example, smart rooms equipped with health monitoring devices can track vital signs, sleep patterns, and physical activity, providing guests with insights into their well-being during their stay. This not only aligns with the growing trend of wellness-focused travel but also allows hotels to differentiate themselves by offering a unique and personalized guest experience.
By providing access to smart healthcare solutions, hoteliers can contribute to the holistic well-being of their guests, promoting a sense of care and consideration that goes beyond traditional hospitality services.
As the shift to a more customer-centric approach becomes more essential in the hospitality industry, focusing on how to personalize the visit of each guest should be a top priority for every hotelier. Each guest is unique with individual preferences and needs and must be treated that way. Personalization starts from the moment a guest considers booking and extends throughout their stay. By leveraging data analytics and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, hoteliers can gather information on guest preferences, previous stays, and special requests. This data enables hotels to tailor the entire guest experience, from room preferences to personalized amenities and services.
A more personalized approach fosters a sense of recognition and connection and encourages guest loyalty. Returning guests who consistently enjoy personalized experiences are more likely to choose the same hotel for future stays and better still, may become advocates for the brand and contribute positively to its reputation.
Innovations are necessary in the hospitality industry considering the continuous shortage of labour in the industry. Our top 10 innovations in the hospitality industry in 2024 have highlighted some important technologies and trends that will further shape how the industry operates and cover up for the unavailable labour.
However, this list is not exhaustive as there are still lots of trends you can tap into to take your hospitality service to a new dimension and stay ahead of the curve. The most important thing is to ensure you are not left out of the trend and utilize the suggested innovations to look out for job opportunities explore your career options.