Guest loyalty to support hospitality sector growth

Business Wednesday 31/January/2018 12:38 PM
By: Times News Service
Guest loyalty to support hospitality sector growth

Muscat: A new approach to loyalty programmes and smart technology will define the hospitality industry landscape in the next five years until 2022, according to data released ahead of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2018.
The forecast, published by Colliers International, indicates a rise in ultra-personalised guest services and technology-led changes to the physical configuration of hospitality spaces, with new job roles to accommodate these changes.
The trends will be explored at ATM 2018 during a panel discussion titled “The Hotel Landscape of The Future.” Chaired by Content Inc director Gemma Greenwood, the discussion will span high-tech hospitality, new hotel concepts, and the brands and hotels due to arrive in the region.
“The trends identified in this report will define innovation and growth across the regional hospitality landscape in the coming five years. The findings demonstrate that today’s hotel guests don’t want to be part of the crowd – they want a unique experience, personalised to their tastes and expectations and, preferably, in an unexplored or emerging destination,” said Simon Press, senior exhibition director, ATM.
The data predict eight major global trends will also play out in the regional market. These are fresh and communal themed designs; destination experiences; personalised loyalty benefits; “co-everything” shared spaces; multi-role jobs for hotel associates, empowered by technology; authentic experiences; data; and smart hotels.
While the period 2016–2017 saw heightened merger and acquisition activity, the trends foreseen for the coming five years are expected to focus on concepts, design and marketing, as well as associate job descriptions.
Driving evolution across operations, responsibilities will merge as associates shift from micro-tasking to multi-tasking and transition to multi-functional roles, enabled by technology. As data applications advance, the traditional “yield manager” could be replaced by data scientists, who mine and analyse data on consumer behaviour.
Other major expectations include authentic over obvious luxury, adopting a genuine and more personalised style, and in-room destination guides offering curated and branded experiences. The introduction of personalised benefits through loyalty schemes will see hotels offering bespoke benefits, based on customer buying behaviour.
“Using the trends of recent years as a springboard, the hospitality industry will start to pursue new lines of business in 2018, placing a focus on engagement, with personalised and bespoke attention now crucial to the luxury experience,” noted Press.
“The predictions on the hospitality landscape underline the need for the stakeholders to look at existing systems and processes and prepare for a highly evolved industry that leverages the newest tools in digitisation. With enhanced guest experience as the bottom line, we have already rolled out our digital transformation plan with three key projects that will reshape the way we serve our guests,” remarked Olivier Harnisch, chief executive officer of Emaar Hospitality Group.
ATM, considered by industry professionals as a barometer for the Middle East and North Africa tourism sector, welcomed over 39,000 people to its 2017 event, including 2,661 exhibiting companies, signing business deals worth more than $2.5 billion over four days.