Hospitality may be one of the oldest industries, but it is also one of the most persistently changing industries. 2018 hospitality trends will show how this evolution continues as we progress into an increasingly global and digital age.
Hospitality brands, both large and small, plan on implementing huge overhauls to their amenities, guest experience and security in 2018, as well as the technology required to make it all work. Most will look for hospitality financing so that they can raise the capital needed to grow and evolve without taking on significant risk.
For those in hospitality trying to grow and advance alongside their competitors, here are the top four 2018 hospitality trends you should consider when deciding how to invest in your business.
h2>Steady Growth Leads to Interest in Mid-Sized Cities
Recent industry projections from CBRE show that the hospitality will continue its current pace of growth through 2018, but that growth may potentially slow.
What has no risk of slowing down are hot, mid-level markets throughout the U.S. that have been seeing huge development and growth in hospitality services. Cities like Nashville, Cleveland and El Paso have annual RevPAR growth and high occupancy rates that indicate there is room for the market to get bigger. Charleston, Pensacola, Savannah, Memphis, and Little Rock also experienced an over 10% increase in tourism this past year compared to the five-year average before.
Boutique hotels like the Hotel Indigo chain are especially popular in these up-and-coming cities.
Increasing Volume of Group Bookings for Conferences and Events
Experts also predict continuing investment in expanding facilities for conferences and groups. In response, many hotels and other hospitality businesses have increased their marketing focus on group rates. According to a study by American Express, the volume of group rates grew by 4.2% in 2016 and is expected to grow for several years to come.
Big hotel brands have prepared for this shift in focus by providing amenities specifically for business customers and groups. For instance, amenities like free Wi-Fi have been shown to increase bookings near conference centers, as have loyalty perks like complimentary breakfasts.
Evolving Cruise Amenities to Differentiate from Competitors
Hotels are far from the only hospitality businesses stepping up their game in 2018. Huge cruise lines are taking their record-breaking revenues and using them to invest in new amenities for their ships.
Norwegian Cruise Line, for instance, just christened the Norwegian Bliss, a ship boasting a two-level electric kart track with a 1,000 foot course that towers 18 stories over the sea. Karts will be able to reach 35 mph on the track.
Not to be outdone, Princess Cruises will be introducing an “Ocean Medallion” program. The titular Ocean Medallion is a wearable technology piece similar to Disney’s MagicBand. It helps track spending, meals, activities, and makes personalized suggestions based on the wearer’s information.
Amenities like these require significant investments, but hospitality loans have been instrumental in helping these companies achieve growth.
Increased Security for Guest Protection
While most of the above trends represent a step forward, tragic events that happened this year are causing everyone in the industry to also take a step back.
There’s no mincing words: guests have become afraid following mass shootings and other incidents that occurred on hospitality properties, and they look to their hosts for assurance that they will be protected from harm.
Unfortunately, few in the industry have worked out reliable ways to protect guests without compromising the experience. Some hotels, such as Las Vegas’ mega casino resorts, may begin to scan more bags. Others suggest combining staff training with computer algorithms to identify suspicious behaviors.
Then there are extreme measures. For instance, The King David Hotel in Jerusalem prepares for all manners of potential security threats with its ultra-tough structural systems. Its windows can withstand rocket blasts, its security center includes technology to scan the building for bombs, and its ventilation system can rapidly vent out poison gas attacks.
However, these measures are quite costly. Most hospitality business owners will therefore have to look to a compromise for security solutions that protect guests, monitor for threats and prevent horrible incidents from happening again without spending through all their cash reserves doing so.
Finding Hospitality Financing to Grow and Evolve Your Brand
Whether trying to show guests a better time, making room for groups, or protecting guest safety, smart growth and innovation strategies are the way of the future in the months ahead.
If your business intends to grow, expand, renovate, or add to its existing programs in 2018, you can gain access to low-interest loan products like working capital loans.
Let ARF Financial help you secure favorable loans and merchant cash advances for your business. Our application process is minimal, and you could receive approval in just 48 hours and have your money in as little as 3-5 business days.