The last two years have certainly seen the hotel and hospitality industry take a hit with COVID-19 and the pandemic. With many in the corporate workforce switching to work-from-home (an estimated one-third of workers from May - June 2020), corporate travel saw a steep decline. Zoom meetings and conference calls became the go-to options for collaboration.
Fortunately, we are seeing signs of a return to normal as we navigate the early stages of 2022. Leisure travel is on the upswing with travelers eager to get out and explore new destinations, visit family favorites, and make up for lost time.
On the other hand, corporate travel is returning at a slower pace and that is to be expected. Employee health and safety is at the forefront of conversations and employers want to ensure their workers feel protected when traveling.
As you venture back out into the world of travel, what changes await you? The pandemic forced hotels to make changes for guest safety. It also gave them the opportunity to rethink the type of experience they offer guests and make improvements to the overall guest experience.
Here are six ways your hotel experience may look different for business travel in 2022 and beyond.
Let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane. For those of you old enough, remember the days of checking into a hotel and using an actual metal key to unlock and enter your room? If you were lucky, there was a remote control for the TV, but you weren’t worried about how you were going to charge your smartphone or stream your favorite show.
In 2022, hotels are moving toward “smart rooms” that utilize technology in a wide variety of ways to mimic your life at home. From smart TVs with the ability to stream your shows to keyless entry and more, the technological experience a hotel provides can be more important than anything else to guests.
Hotels also realize how important fully-charged electronic devices are to guests, so you will notice more charging ports in strategic locations around the room including the bedside.
As life slowly returns to a sense of normalcy, hotels must find new and creative ways to entice guests back. One of those ways is by offering more rewards, from expanded food and beverage options to collaborations with area restaurants for free delivery.
In terms of the corporate travel world, the question becomes how to begin booking work conferences and outings again. To solve that issue, hotels are increasing their capacity to host hybrid events which combine physical attendees with virtual attendees, as well as introducing private coworker spaces that are clean and safe.
Sustainability Will Be Key
Customer demand has pushed hotels to increase their levels of sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices. If you are a fan of collecting that travel-size shampoo and conditioner bottles traditionally found in hotel rooms, you may want to stock up now, as single-use plastic will become a thing of the past. Daily housekeeping and fresh towels will need to be requested as companies look to conserve resources.
A net-zero carbon footprint will be the goal of many hotels. This includes using reusable containers, more vegan and meat-free dishes, conserving water usage, and buying ingredients from local suppliers.
But it goes beyond that, as guests demand a complete integrated green hotel, from solar panel power to on-site produce gardens.
Digital Nomad Friendly
First, what is a digital nomad? A digital nomad is someone who has the ability with their job to work remotely, theoretically anywhere in the world. This means that all they need is a good internet connection to stay connected with the business world and they can travel or live anywhere they like.
This trend will continue as more companies realize that work traditionally thought of as office work can be done at home and often with increased productivity. For companies, this offers the added benefit of saving on the cost of office space.
Hotels are catering to this demographic by bolstering their internet capacity, providing comfortable workstations, and integrating coworking spaces. For hotels, the added plus is that if done right, digital nomads may stay for a week, a month, or even longer, providing a steady stream of revenue. To incentivize these types of long-term stays, hotels are offering benefits such as free local food delivery, curated events and excursions, and family-friendly activities for those with children.
Four-legged Friends Are Welcome
With not much else to do and plenty of free time on their hands, many saw the pandemic as the perfect time to adopt a new furry family member. In fact, according to a survey by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), from March 2020 to May 2021, about one in five respondents adopted a dog or cat. Hotels are now making it more convenient than ever to bring along your pet when you travel. For example, pet-stay incentives are trending with pet-specific stay packages in mind. These include services such as dog walking and dog sitting, as well as pet-specific room-service menus. And just when you thought your pup couldn’t be any more spoiled, right?
Will corporate travel bounce back to the levels it was pre-pandemic? We will have to wait and see, but there is no doubt that your hotel experience will be different than it was, with new innovations, smart technology, green-friendly practices, and more.
For all your corporate hotel booking and travel management solutions – including corporate payment solutions, comprehensive reporting, and consolidated billing – join now and let CLC Lodging help streamline the process as we journey through 2022.