Business travellers are set to benefit from a raft of innovations in 2015 as technology rapidly evolves within the hotel accommodation sector. My predictions for the year ahead are as follows:
1) Improved bookability of hotels for business travellers
In 2015, business travellers are set to benefit from improved content when booking accommodation as hotels realise that content is king when it comes to converting bookings.
Hotels are quickly starting to realise, that it’s not just location and price, but also that the breadth and depth of information they provide can have a major impact on the conversion of searches to bookings in both online and offline environments.
This will mean that business travellers save time in finding a hotel that best suits their needs as they will be able to access much improved photography for each property, detailed information about facilities, booking conditions, services and location, room availability and guests’ comments and reviews.
2) Improved functionality and personalised recommendations booking accommodation
As the functionality of booking engines improve in 2015, business travellers will find that they start to have more personalised experiences when booking hotels online.
For example, HRS is trialling a recommendation engine in 2015 which will intuitively match the needs of the traveller to a recommended hotel. The technology can even ensure that business travellers are receiving the best rate at that time, even if it is lower than the company’s negotiated rate. We expect business travellers to trust the recommendation as they become used to this technology.
3) Hotels embracing latest technology to bring convenience and personalised experiences for business travellers
This year, HRS conducted a survey with the Fraunhofer IAO that revealed that 42 per cent of guests from the UK would rather operate their hotel room’s lighting, air conditioning and TV via a single device rather than using a separate remote control or switch.
As the fast-paced high-tech world finds its way into hotels with tablets instead of guest folders, smartphones instead of room keys, and apps instead of remote controls, the hotel industry is starting to respond to customer demands, and we predict that innovation in this area will really take off in 2015. Hoteliers are starting to recognise that business travellers want the latest technology and best gadgets available during their stay to ensure that they have the best experience.
4) Public work areas on the increase for business travellers in hotels
According to recent research by HRS, 75% of business travellers in the UK typically have to conduct business duties at the hotel they’re staying in. In response to this need, we are seeing that there is a trend for hotels to introduce ‘co-working’ spaces into their public areas to create pleasant working environments within their lobbies. As a result, business travellers in 2015 are likely to be able to take advantage of open space within hotels which are equipped with features such as mains connections, docking stations and free Wi-Fi.