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Infor at HITEC 2021 – Post-Show Hospitality Industry Trends and Takeaways

October 6, 2021 By Michael Schubach

Our Hospitality team was delighted to attend this year’s HITEC event in Dallas. It’s always a great chance to connect with peers, prospects, and partners. It’s also a vibrant environment in which to get a great sense of hospitality industry trends in hotels, and where technology and emerging guest expectations are taking us in this new era.

The team values the event as a vital learning experience, along with the chance to have conversations about our technology and our approach to partnership. So, what were some of the big topics of conversation? What are some of the key trends in the hospitality industry that came up at HITEC this year to indicate what comes next for the industry? Here are 3 big areas of focus that served as important takeaways.

Contactless and guest-driven technology

The last 18 months have really tested the limits of the hospitality industry. But it’s also shaken up the status quo, which is ultimately a good thing. One of the key areas touched by industry leaders and their technology partners is greater flexibility applied to the guest journey enabled by mobile and cloud technology. The focus has been empowering guests to get what they need from their hotel stay with as little necessary human contact as possible.

A few key factors have affected this trend:

  • First – social distancing mandates vital to public health and traveller safety. This has accelerated the move and the focus away from the front desk or any fixed location for check-ins, check-outs, and other hotel services
  • Second – the essential need for mobile devices and the autonomy they enable at any point in a buying experience – review of options, upgrades and upsells, promotions, pre-orders and reservations, and others
  • Third – the reduced labor force in the hospitality industry which demanded a more streamlined approach and emphasis toward guest-driven processes. Also, mobility has increased staff visibility and flexibility to accomplish their tasks more efficiently – maintenance, guest requests, schedules, and others

All these factors are addressed via essential mobile-centric functionality integrated with hotel PMS and other solutions. Over the course of years, mobility to enable remote access to services and information has represented a sea change. Industry leaders are judging functionality and investing accordingly through this lens in planning for the deepening role that mobile technology will play.

A sense of individuality

Hand in hand with the level of autonomy that mobile-friendly functionality lends to guests, personalization continues to be a hot topic. Guests define a great guest experience by the degree they can customize their visit. They want to know what their options are going to be upfront and throughout, and how they can make adjustments on the go. Guests want the flexibility to upgrade, make restaurant reservations, access amenities, and other vital factors according to their own preferences, timing, and convenience.

From a hotel PMS perspective, the personalization piece is about an integrated CRM that prompts the right offers to the right guests, based on their history. Effectively, this is an exercise in building relationships with guests, increasing their lifetime value, and providing a sense of continuity that adds personal value for the guest over time. It’s about engendering a sense of loyalty, fostering repeat business, and building brand awareness during each step of the guest journey.

Woman with mobile phone on escalator

New ways to turn resources into revenue

A big part of the shake-up over the last 18 months has been rethinking property space and leveraging its use for new sources of revenue that match contemporary needs. During periods of lockdown, many hotel organizations turned to a model of guest rooms as workspaces. The same has been applied to traditional events spaces – conference halls, meeting rooms, even converted outdoor areas, or zones within the lobby. The same goes for combining business and leisure travel, today’s bleisure trend in hotels, with all of the unique implications of multi-purpose travel.

Flexible omnichannel digital strategy is a must as hotels continue to adapt to meet the evolving needs of their guests. This means integration across systems and properties, leveraging the power for cloud technology. It also means having the ability to repurpose a hotel’s physical spaces to generate new revenue opportunities. This means unifying sales and catering, PMS, and RMS solutions on a single platform, leveraging precise forecasting and reporting tools to sharpen insights into revenue and productivity.

Lifelong learning and growing

The hospitality industry’s newest trends reflect the convergence of technology and culture. Our job as solution providers is to enable service technology to evolve, not just in terms of software features and benefits, but also by creating a dynamic and rewarding environment for guest and hotelier alike.

To get that right, technology partnerships that focus on innovation, collaborative approaches, and a willingness to adapt and learn from each other is paramount to success. HITEC’s recurring themes of communication and partnership are always valuable reminders of our role in the hospitality industry: shaping the here-and-now with what is what lies ahead down the road.

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Interested in Infor’s approach to the industry and the development of our products to serve it? Check out our hospitality solutions page for an overview right here.

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