During the last quarter of the year we are inundated with predictions regarding the next & newest trends in hospitality for 2019. These predictions are always a good yarn and interesting to read, particularly if you keep them and see what really happened 12 months down the line…
The usual suspects include the impact of technology, online booking trends and the currently fanciful idea of the impending flood of robot labour replacing human staff. These seem to be in almost every article, not to mention what is the next ‘experience’ a hotel will offer to attract guests – a cooking lesson, snorkelling trip, morning yoga or a pet goldfish perhaps?
I have always wondered how many people really take advantage of these fabulous new ‘experiences’. Do they really entice a potential guest to book a room in a business hotel or is this just more marketing spin from the Marketing Director desperate to look like he/she is being pro-active?
But what really are the trends and what are just the same old tired ideas? Our industry is inevitably impacted by social and societal change but is well known for its conservative native – we in hospitality are the archetypal ‘followers’ rather than ‘trendsetters’.
In the early 80’s whilst working in a resort with some 600 rooms I think we had all these same ideas – cooking lesson/demonstrations, flower arranging, Ikebana, yoga and meditation classes, guided tours, marine life excursions, etc… I think most ideas then were also reinventions, rehashes and reformatted gimmicks, so today’s ‘guest experiences’ continue to be spruced up a little for the modern traveller.
So, some of these trends are really nothing more than good old-fashioned occupational therapy for a bored hotel guest or rather what the Marketing Director with no imagination thinks guests should do in all that free time while on holidays or between business meetings.
Now here is a trend for 2019 I would like to see…
I suggest a new job be created and called ‘Occupational Guest Therapist’ – something like a psychologist for hotel guests so they can leave their issues & problems in the hotel. This counsellor will specialise in handling grumpy and bored hotel guests – all-inclusive in the room rate of course! When the guest checks in he is given a voucher for a free session with the ‘Occupational Guest Therapist’ who will compile a detailed treatment plan that includes all facilities of the hotel and also suggestions for out of the hotel activities including shopping, eating and excursions.
I think this would be a wonderful innovation – you can unload your problems while away and you get home fresh and relaxed.
I also think it should be compulsory for every resort/hotel to dedicate a room as a library or ‘history room’ with books and ideas on what to do during the stay, whilst at the same time educating people on history, culture and tradition about their destination.
Sadly, this trend would probably make the Guest Relation Manager an endangered species, but that’s progress and anyway, they had their time years ago and have really only been decoration in a lobby since then…
But, maybe I’m getting ahead of myself again. Maybe this should be phased in by 2028, as by that time I am certain our industry will have run out of ideas again.
Society has become more sophisticated, and hotels are slowly but steadily catching up with the technological innovation seen across the general economy. However ultimately, the guest is still a human being and hospitality should be about addressing their needs and wants – things that seem to have been forgotten in so many properties these days.
Here’s an innovative and mind-shifting idea for the future. Let’s keep the machine check in and automated luggage delivery with the 3 and 4 star and concentrate on people in the 5 star and above categories.
I welcome enquires about the Occupational Guest Therapist….an idea to explore, develop and grow.
About the author
Karl Faux is a veteran Hotelier and Managing Partner with Elite Search – a leading hospitality recruitment firm.
For more information about Karl and Elite Search visit http://www.elitesearch.com.au and The Elite Hotelier http://www.elitehotelier.net