In light of constantly evolving societies and technologies, shoppers’ expectations are accelerating, and the industry is making bold moves to keep up with them. But what happens in retail isn’t staying in retail. The expectations consumers have in this arena are transferring to every industry – hospitality included.

A recent report, commissioned by leading technology provider to the global travel industry, Sabre, lead in partnership with global consumer trends and insights experts TrendWatching, we’ve come to identify six actionable trends, alongside examples of how innovative retail and hospitality players are harnessing these trends that will fuel the industry’s next innovation, and get hoteliers to understand the crux of what guests will need, want and expect from them next.

TRENDS

1. Sentient Spaces

Travelers are increasingly aware of an ever-growing ecosystem of cameras and sensors. They’ll expect that it’s all put to work to deliver truly smart physical spaces –retail spaces, hotel rooms and more – that can identify and respond to the people moving through them.

2. A-Commerce

Busy travelers with places to go and sights to see will expect from their hotel what they’re already being served by retailers: the ability to outsource certain experiences and tasks to algorithms and smart devices. This means the automation of hunting, negotiating, purchasing, and more.

3. The End of Excess

The chatter around single-use plastics has made your guests realize that the ‘grab-go throw’ mindset is a dead-end for the planet. But it doesn’t stop at plastic. Travelers’ eyes are opening to all kinds of waste – wasted materials, wasted space, wasted food, wasted time and more. They’re demanding that every brand they interact with (their hotel included!) rework its model to eliminate excess at every turn.

4. Practical Representation

Now, those who have traditionally been marginalized are demanding real change. They’re expecting brands to put ‘inclusivity’ to work to serve the practical needs of a diverse set of consumers. In other words, products, services, and spaces that cater to everyone.

5. Fantasy IRL

Thanks to AR, VR and a host of other immersive technologies, fanciful worlds permeate the real world as never before. Travelers will play at the blurring boundaries between real destinations and imagined ones, embracing new chances to imagine, escape, explore, create and connect.

6. Villiage Squared

Tech-fueled lifestyles. Polarized societies. Aging populations. Urbanization. A whole host of factors are contributing to an increasing sense of isolation. Smart retailers and hotels are responding by transforming their spaces in new ways to foster connections and promote social wellbeing.

MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

As consumer trends evolve, and brands continue to find innovative ways to reach their target consumers and build loyalty, the hospitality industry is faced with sizeable opportunities to enhance their guest experience. By adopting integrated hospitality technology solutions, hoteliers can capitalize on the retailing trends that are shaping traveler expectations. However, to make this happen, a highly reliable and scalable platform is required.

Sabre Hospitality Solutions offers the leading CRS solution: SynXis Platform, which connects hoteliers to the points of sale they want to be in, all from one, convenient place. It’s a versatile solution, compatible with over 450 online channels, all major Global Distribution Systems (GDS), 14 different revenue management systems, 130 property management systems, 18 customer relationship management systems, and 24 content management systems. SynXis CR streamlines workflow processes by managing rates, inventory, and stay controls on a daily basis, and can also help support revenue strategies by driving ancillary revenue through customizable packages and pricing.

The most evolution of Sabre’s SynXis Platform, is the groundbreaking solution SynXis Intelligent Retailing (SIR), which provides a true retailing platform for the hospitality industry. Empowering hoteliers to monetize every feature, amenity, service, space, event, or experience accessible at and near their properties, without being tied down to room types and reservations, SIR allows hoteliers to distribute room as well as non-room retail offers, whether owned by hotels or third-parties and across all channels.

In line with the latest industry trends, SIR leverages the power of machine learning to build and recommend relevant offers to guests and enables hoteliers to make targeted offers dynamically for any room and non-room inventory including:

• Rooms and spaces

• Physical items (e.g. slippers, robes)

• Non-physical items (e.g. late check out/early check-in)

• Products and services offered by external businesses approved by the hotel property

The impact on the day-to-day roll-out of hotelier operations is massive, as SIR helps to maximize ancillary revenue and yield higher booking revenue to improve profitability, enables memorable experiences for guests while increasing your share of wallet. Moreover, SIR drives revenue from any third-party products or services that matter to guests, it elevate the brand experience by enabling guests to shop for exactly what they need, and ultimately, increases guest satisfaction and brand loyalty.

CONCLUSION

In addition to leveraging the benefits of the latest technological innovations and to propel your business into the future, knowing the latest trends driving the industry is also essential. But ultimately, trends are useless unless they are applied to a strategy. No matter which trends a hotel property or chain chooses to act on, the following conclusions should always be in mind:

• A brand is never “just” a hotel brand. Hoteliers are also retailers! After all, guests are purchasing goods from hotels. Minibar treats, clothing, toiletries, snacks, gifts, you name it. Can the Infinite Retail trends help transform rooms and lobbies into new kinds of sales channels?

• The lines are blurring. The lines between retail and hospitality are becoming less clear, especially as retailers themselves harness their expertise to step into the hotel industry.

• No need to wait. Finally, hoteliers should be fearless when it comes to using trends. No need to wait for some other hospitality brand to hop on a trend first to feel to think “now’s the time to try this out”. To be truly innovative - to do what few in the industry are doing - it’s imperative to look beyond the boundaries of the industry for inspiration. Time to be bold!