Post-Pandemic Travel Trends for the Hospitality Industry in 2021

In Hospitality by Ashley Harbin

After several months of being quarantined at home during the pandemic, there’s considerable evidence of demand for travel. According to Forbes, 70 percent of people are already or about to start planning their 2021 vacations. However, many are still hesitant about traveling again and hotel managers need to adapt to meet consumers’ changing expectations. Here are our top post-pandemic travel trends to encourage visits by making consumers feel more safe, comfortable, and confident.

Transparency

Transparency is going to be key to consumer confidence for future travel. Although people have a strong desire to travel at this time, they need greater assurance before booking a trip in case of cancellations. Research shows 60 percent of consumers need a guaranteed refund for travel accommodations. Thus, it is very important your pricing and refund policies are transparent to avoid poor customer experiences and negative reviews.

Safety Standards

Communicating your guest safety protocols is more important than ever before. According to a recent survey from Hotel Management Magazine, 75 percent of travelers said that the hotel should have clearly defined cleaning standards and 67 percent would only consider staying in a hotel where the staff disinfected everything that people might touch in their room.

Travelers are paying closer attention to the hygiene ratings of hotels, and online reviews are going to become even more crucial in helping people decide where to stay. Guests will be writing about their experiences to document how clean the hotel is and whether they felt safe at the property. Monitor and address negative reviews on Google, Facebook, Yelp, TripAdvisor, and other travel sites. Your website content should also outline guest safety concerns, so guest know that there are thorough cleaning and safety standards in place.

Contactless Technologies

Making technological changes will play a critical role in recovery while rebuilding consumer confidence in travel and hospitality. Since guests expect cleanliness and social distancing during their stays, contactless technologies can safely provide hotel information and support without in-person contact. The survey also showed 80 percent of respondents said they would download a hotel app that would allow them to check in and out of your hotel.

Additionally, 73 percent would also use an app that would allow them to open the door of their room, reducing staff and customer interactions. Hotels can even offer contactless payment methods for convenient transactions and fewer card or cash exchanges. By implementing these contactless technologies, you will show your guests that you prioritize their safety while delivering exceptional experiences well beyond the pandemic.

Local Experiences

Almost 50 percent of travelers see themselves taking trips within driving distance in the next 6 to 12 months according to Lodging Magazine. As more consumers make their way to nearby destinations, hotels have an opportunity to provide fresh local experiences that draw travelers back on a more frequent basis. Hotel marketers should create digital ad campaigns on platforms like Facebook and Google to target people within driving distance. We also recommend creating new content on your site that address hesitant but interested guests to give them a sense of what kind of experience to expect when they stay at your hotel.

Sustainability

Today’s travelers are looking for ways be more sustainable and socially responsible. In fact, a study conducted by Condé Nast Traveler reveals 58 percent of travelers said they choose a hotel based on whether it gives back to local people and the planet, and 73 percent of global travelers intend to stay at least once in an eco-friendly or “green” accommodation when booking their next trip. We recommend providing your guests with sustainable options such as less towel and linen changes. This shows that you care about making a positive impact on the environment and adds an extra level of value to your services.

Still have questions about these post-pandemic travel trends? Contact us today to learn how HMG Hospitality can help hotel managers improve customer confidence in the hospitality industry.