As another busy year in the hospitality industry comes to a close, attention turns to what is in store for operators and providers in 2024.
Throughout this year, staff shortage has continued to be a problem for the industry with providers increasingly turning towards automation to help ease the burden. This digital transformation is set to continue into next year as the industry learns to adapt.
The popularity of alternative accommodation will carry on into 2024 with an increased demand for flexible technology; adoption of AI is also set to gain momentum with hospitality providers needing to ensure that they don’t get left behind; and finally, the rise of invisible payments will challenge the industry as a one-size-fits-all PMS is no longer sufficient. Let’s dive into it.
Since the pandemic, the popularity of alternative lodgings has soared as consumers turn their focus away from purchasing physical goods and instead spend money on experiences. From shepherds huts to treehouses, the demand for unconventional accommodation has resulted in numerous startup providers in the industry. This trend is shaping the hospitality landscape and we predict that by 2030, half of the world’s top 10 hotel companies will be less than a decade old.
Recently the two-year old company Raus, a Berlin-based luxury outdoor hospitality brand, has secured €8.5 million in funding as it looks to scale its brand of remote luxury cabins. This category of hospitality accommodation, with multiple properties and a diverse range of amenities, highlights the need for a super flexible, composable technology solution. The ability for businesses to shape their technology infrastructure according to their unique requirements is imperative to meet the needs of this growing category. The demand for a more bespoke tech stack for alternative accommodation providers is set to increase into the coming year.
Staff shortages continued to cause problems for the hospitality industry this year with providers struggling to recruit workforces. This ongoing problem is resulting in a substantial effect on service standards and is forcing businesses to embrace alternative strategies to help them adjust. Accommodation providers are increasingly turning to self check-in and digital front desks as a way of managing the issue and to free up the staff they do have to improve guest experience..
A number of providers including Koncept Hotels, and Teleport Hotels are leading the way in this digital transformation and now operate a totally staffless or self-service approach. Koncept Hotels initiated a self check-in strategy in response to the industry’s staff shortage while Teleport Hotels have chosen to prioritise the customer experience by integrating a digital approach, making staff more available to guests.
Companies that embrace technology and use it to their advantage, will always be in a better position to provide guests with a seamless, digital journey while retaining an important personalised touch that defines hospitality.
Throughout 2023 the momentum of AI adoption continued as hotels increasingly looked at ways it can be harnessed to improve internal and external operations. For guests, AI plays a pivotal role in shaping and enhancing the customer journey, providing more personalisation
With generative AI companies launching an ever-growing number of plug and play solutions, 2024 is already announcing itself as the year for the early majority to embrace it. Technology companies with API-first approaches will have a head start in providing actionable tools for their customers to gain efficiencies and streamline operations.
From a property management perspective, this means “user-interface-less” experiences are just around the corner. Imagine a scenario where specific KPIs or reports can be accessed in seconds without the need to trawl through a performance dashboard; specific guest requests are answered and addressed ahead of their arrival; AI provides trigger actions which would have previously required a manual sequence of clicks in a system, like bulk-checking in selected reservations. The shift to automated operations is well underway, but we’ll likely begin to see a bigger move to user-interface-less operations over the next year too.
Hospitality providers should future proof their technology in 2024 as AI presents operators with new possibilities, especially for guest journeys and data management, offering customers a personalised tech-driven experience without replacing the human touch.
Part of a seamless guest experience during a hotel stay is the ability to easily pay at check out using whichever method is most convenient. As recently reported in Adyen’s hospitality report, 56% of guests like to have multiple payment options when it comes to settling their bill.
For operators, the increasing trend of invisible payments, where there is no visible interaction between the customer and the payment system, provides a consistent and hassle-free transaction for both guests and staff. However, to offer a variety of payment options, a one-size-fits-all PMS is impractical.
Teleport Hotels experienced this problem when they were having to use manual workarounds to collect payments from a range of OTAs. Despite integrating advanced technology into their operations, they prioritised the need to resolve this issue and fully automate their payment solution. Making the switch from their previous hotel PMS to Apaleo’s API-first platform, Teleport Hotels effortlessly developed a script capable of handling the diverse scenarios required for payment automations. The script now manages all incoming reservations, and offers the flexibility to automatically remove charges for each reservation.
In anticipation of 2024, the hospitality industry highlights resilience and invites pioneers to shape a future where technology seamlessly enhances guest experiences and operations. With an expected surge in demand for flexible technology solutions, the industry is set to embrace automation, reducing the reliance on manual processes and enhancing adaptability to change.
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