The end of room types, robots at the concierge and achieving ‘cult status’: new Amadeus-IHG research asks if this is the future of hospitality in Thailand?

With hotel accommodation having contributed to over 28% of Thailand’s overall tourism expenditure in the first half of 2018, Amadeus and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) today launched a new whitepaper which reveals the latest trends and opportunities for Thailand’s hospitality sector.


Informed by over 7,500 consumers and industry experts worldwide, including from Thailand, Amadeus and IHG’s Drivers Of Change In Hospitality whitepaper reveals three key trends:

 

The Beginning of the End for Room Types: Traditional room types have been around forever – single, double, twin, suite or family room. It’s a tried and tested format, beloved by hotels and understood by guests the world over. However the research by Amadeus and IHG suggests that this will change dramatically as guests become able to swap desks for yoga mats, stream their own content through the in-room TV, or ask for that third-floor room with the view they have always loved.

 

Consumers are used to buying exactly what they want and need when it comes to music, entertainment, fashion and travel. Hotel accommodation, which has traditionally been bought in a standard and uniform way, will need to adapt as 61% of global travelers state a preference for hotels to be priced in a way that allows them to add-on bespoke options. This will see the emergence of attribute-based booking, where guests pick and choose the individual components of their room, marking the end of traditional room types.

 

New selling models will become more mainstream too, with guests able to book a room for a length that suits their needs rather than a traditional overnight stay.

 

Among the 12 markets surveyed, Thailand ranks highest in the potential for room customization. 38% of Thai travelers have already stayed in a personalized room and 45% are interested in doing so in the future, indicating the opportunities for growth as hotel companies invest in new technology.

 

“The rise of personalization is a major trend faced by the entire travel industry. Consumers expect more personalized experiences, from the moment they begin searching for a booking, to checking out of a hotel room”, says Ahmed Youssef, EVP Corporate Development and Marketing, Hospitality, Amadeus. “However, a challenge for personalization in the hotel industry is siloed legacy systems, built on a closed architecture. With a majority of data being fragmented, the industry struggles with guest recognition and personalization as these systems lack a complete overview. This is where cloud technology has the ability to solve data fragmenting, and consolidate technologies together through an open platform. By unifying systems, hoteliers are able to understand the guest profile, and preferences across all touch points.”

 

The Rise of Tech-Augmented Hospitality: Hotel guest experiences have and will continue to change in light of new technologies. Today, artificial intelligence is already being adoped by many hotels to create more personable, memorable experiences. In the new future, hospitality industry leaders expect these technologies throughout the guest journey.

 

Commeting on how AI and augmented technology will change guest experiences, Leanne Harwood, Managing Director – Australasia & Japan, IHG, said: “Using AI, guests are able to use voice commands to order room service, control curtains, set alarms, or even ordering additional towels. If a guest says ‘I want to work,’ room lights will automatically adjust, the television will turn off, and the curtain will be drawn. Recently we saw the likes of Amazon interject into the hospitality space with a hotel specific, Alexa for Hospitality. This means the technology will become more accessible and affordable for hoteliers and we could see AI and smart rooms become standard across the hospitality industry.”

 

However, although smart rooms have the potential to become standard across the industry, the findings from the whitepaper emphasize that human touch in service is still valued. For example, the study found that while 42% of guests prefer to use automated service to book a taxi, 67% prefer making complaints with hotel staff. The main reason guests prefer to interact with a person is because of the emotional interaction. So to provide better guest experiences, Thailand’s hotels must use technology to support human interaction, not replace it.

 

To help with this, the study details how technology will be used to empower staff to deliver unprecedented levels of service at scale. For example, the deployment of real-time translation earphones and smart glasses could ensure that concierges easily interact with guests in their native tongue.

 

Achieving Cult Status at Scale: The kind of status usually reserved for luxury or boutique hotels will be available for all, if they can build a loyal following of fans who feel an emotional connection. In the competition for guest loyalty, hospitality providers need to identify how to offer value through delivering memorable, shareable and unique experiences, which 73% of global travelers say are the most important thing for a vacation.

 

To do this, hotels must  have a holistic understanding of individual guests on each trip, from their temperament and hobbies to in-the-moment needs, and offer a host of special and unexpected surprises. In fact, 70% of global travelers would like hotels to provide more advice and tips about unique things to do, with only 20% saying they currently get ideas from their hotel.

Ongoing guest relationships must be underpinned by data-driven technology if they are to function at scale. Data allows hotels to anticipate the best way to make each individual guest feel valued, whether that is through unexpected perks, experiences or rewards.

 

Underpinning all of the trends detailed in the study is the emergence of advanced data analytics and artificial intelligence. Without the strong and powerful back-end systems able to crunch through multiple datasets, deliver information to where it is needed and simplify the implementation of new models, it is clear that hospitality providers will struggle to meet the future requirements of guests.

To download the report Drivers of Change in Hospitality go to:

https://amadeus.com/en/insights/white-paper/drivers-of-change-in-hospitality



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