Hotels Target Millennials, Prioritize Green Sustainable Initiatives, Advance Technology
The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) on Friday released the results of a comprehensive Lodging Survey, a detailed assessment of advancements in amenities, guest services, sustainability and technology, in addition to other industry trends. This recent survey underscores how hotels advance, accommodate and innovate the guest experience. Consumers can expect seamless transitions between their everyday lives and their lives on the road thanks to increased mobile compatibility, flexible dining options and welcoming accommodations.
This comprehensive survey is conducted every two years by industry data provider and AHLA partner STR, renowned for providing premium data benchmarking, analytics and marketplace insights for global hospitality sectors and funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF), the hospitality industry’s philanthropic organization, dedicated to helping people build careers that improve their lives and strengthen the lodging industry. Convenience and communal experiences are leading trends that impact both hotel design and guest enhancements, demonstrating an industry-wide commitment to elevating the consumer’s overall travel experience.
“The hotel and lodging industry is paving the way in innovation as evidenced by STR’s latest trend survey,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We continue to be laser-focused on meeting the dynamic and diverse desires of consumers, focusing on service and guest experience, as well as developing and enhancing our properties and workforce.”
Catering to Millennials
In an effort to meet the needs of influential millennial travelers, hotels are continuing to innovate, focusing on community and convenience. Fostering community amongst travelers is increasingly important and hotels are recognizing the desire to create functional shared spaces. While the sample should not be considered representative of entire industry segments, over 10 percent of responding luxury, upscale and midscale properties reported the implementation of communal living spaces. Travelers looking to retain their healthy and active lifestyles while away from home can increasingly expect sit-down food alternatives, such as grab-n-go markets, available in a third of hotels around the country, and healthy dining options consistently offered at higher priced hotels.
- The higher end chain hotels are more likely to report having communal rooms with shared living space
- Food alternatives such as a grab-n-go marketplace or similar pickup service have seen a steep gain in just two years, rising from 21% in 2016 to 31% in 2018
- Higher priced hotels are consistently more likely to provide vegetarian and/or healthy menu options
Supporting sustainable initiatives remains important to the lodging industry as a whole. As of 2018, 25 percent of domestic properties have received a Green Certification, the gold standard of sustainability. Linen and towel reuse programs are nearly universal among properties, and a majority of hotels across all segments have implemented a water savings program.
- Green Certification in 2018 stands at 25%, up from 16% in 2016
- Linen / towel reuse programs are nearly universal among affiliated hotels (range: 94%-99% across chain scales), with independent hotels (83%) not far behind
- About two-thirds of hotels within all chain scales report some type of water savings program
The shift towards mobile remains a priority. More guests than ever before are using apps to access hotel services. Repurposing mobile devices as room keys has more than doubled in popularity, and mobile device check-in remains on-trend with participation from more than 80 percent of all mid-price and higher segment properties.
- Using mobile apps to access hotel services is more popular than it has ever been, up from 35% in 2016 to 40% in 2018
- Hotels’ use of mobile devices as room keys had a sizable two-year increase, moving from 6% in 2016 to 17% in 2018
- Mobile device check-in is definitely an “in” trend among midprice or higher price segments (all 80%+)
“We are proud to be a part of this survey. Data like this helps the industry continue to move forward and create new opportunities for its guests, employees and surrounding communities,” said Amanda Hite, president and CEO of STR.
The 2018 Lodging Survey was commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation and conducted by STR, Inc. Every two years, all United States’ hotels (with 10 or more rooms) are invited to participate in the survey and are asked a variety of questions about their guest services and amenities. This survey is the most comprehensive analysis of the trends in the hotel and lodging industry based on direct feedback from a diverse group of hotels and property types.
To read the complete report, click here (AHLA members).