What’s shaping global hotel trends in 2023

It’s all happening in 2023, and this is what’s in store for hotels around the globe.

The return of Corporate transient travel has increased hotel occupancy to 90% of pre-pandemic levels. As corporate travel stabilises, hotel demand will remain variable in 2023. High inflation globally and corporates curbing travel spending means hotels must adopt flexible pricing models to deal with current short-booking window trends and ongoing market crises.

Hoteliers are also increasingly turning to technology to alleviate the market pressure, offset ongoing labour shortages and make life easier for guests. And the technological innovation in the hotel industry is truly remarkable. Some key trends include:

1.  Keyless entry

Wave goodbye to the old plastic key system that had you running back to the reception because you’d kept your card key next to your cell phone, and welcome in keyless entry apps.

These smart solutions, previously exclusive to high-end hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott, are now being adopted by hotels worldwide. They add value by:

  • Providing better security for your guests
  • Improving the guest experience
  • Simplifying operations and freeing up the front desk

2.  Chatbots

The global nature of travel demands around-the-clock service solutions. That makes chatbots invaluable in the booking process. Guests can now make enquiries and have their questions answered at any time of the day or night. They receive service and support throughout the booking process without burdening staff, reducing pain points and resulting in a happier and more loyal clientele.

3.  Mobile app check-ins

No more waiting in queues, guests can complete the entire check-in process via their mobile devices. It follows the same principle as digital check-ins for flights and makes for seamless travel from departure to the final destination.

4.  Virtual reality

Virtual tours of hotels, wedding venues and conference facilities give guests a good idea of what they can expect. This technology has been adopted by accommodation venues, including Airbnb venues and is an effective tool for building confidence and trust in your brand.

5.  Smart rooms

The luxury lifestyle of the rich and famous is soon to be at your fingertips at hotels across the globe. That means lighting controlled via mobile apps, temperature control and in-room entertainment at the touch of a button for guests. Here in South Africa, an uninterrupted power supply is the next imperative. Many hotels are integrating smart thermostats and other forms of smart IoT technologies that can reduce energy consumption, as well as solutions to ensure constant connectivity.

6.  Smart payment

Automated industry-specific software is now available to take the tedium out of non-core, time-consuming administrative functions like the payment experience. Hoteliers are now implementing consolidated, end-to-end payment solutions that incorporate payment gateways, processors, and acquirers under a single umbrella service integrated with their tech stack. This relieves time constraints on staff and frees them up to focus on customer service while giving hotels the flexibility to allow guests to pay where they want and how they want. 

7.  Bespoke guest experiences

Personalised guest experiences are all the rage to differentiate offerings. Hoteliers are using data to customise packages and in-room products that tell guests they matter.

The tourism industry as a whole is under the spotlight as a beacon of hope and recovery, and we’re expecting exciting advances that capture the interest of travellers globally. Hoteliers who have weathered the storms stand to reimagine space and transform experiences on the ground to promote the resurgence of travel globally.