26 Thoughts About 5 Trends — Coming to Hospitality Now or in 2020

The HSMAI Americas Board of Directors is a heavyweight bunch, long on experience and quick with insights and analysis. Whenever they get together to conduct the business of HSMAI governance, as they did earlier this month, we always take advantage of the opportunity to pick their brains.

What emerging trends have surprised them? What predictions do they have for 2020? Here are five themes they flagged, including individual observations from individual board members — all presented in no particular order:

  • The only people talking about a recession are the media.
  • There are alarm bells going off about the economy.
  • Translating the mixed signals – trying to make sense of all of it – is difficult, so we’re preparing for some kind of bad outcome but not pushing the button to execute yet.
  • Will we be able to trade on something other than rate during a downturn?
  • The majority of the industry is not prepared for a downturn because most of our marketing and sales teams have never been through a recession.
  • We as a hotel industry might have a recession even if the larger economy doesn’t — primarily due to the slower growth we are experiencing; RevPAR may be flat or down a half point.
  • There is a lot of dirty data out there that is making our predications not so accurate.
  • Privacy is harder and harder all the time.
  • We struggle to produce, consume, and access the data to its fullest potential — we keep throwing a lot of money at the human and tech sides, but it never seems to be enough.
  • Clients are getting really sophisticated in their use of data; the application of data is starting to become meaningful.
  • There is continuing difficulty with sourcing the right talent — like data scientists.
  • Finding the right kind of talent — that can grow with you — is tough.
  • The need to bring in the right people and keep them in the industry is something we’ll be working on and talking about for years to come.
  • Salaries, wages, insurance, benefits, etc. have increased exponentially and will continue to put pressure on owners.
  • More and more people are working for themselves versus exploring traditional models of employment; 1099ers are a real thing and will continue to grow.
  • People are spending much more time and effort focused on pricing.
  • Layoffs at big tech companies like Expedia may be evidence that they are seeing softening demand.
  • Maturation of pricing is happening in Europe and Asia – especially in independent hotel space.
  • We will as an industry will be tempted to go back to the OTAs when tough times come and we’re looking for demand.
  • We’re going to figure out how to keep pricing cleaned up. “Bed banks” are running scared now, which is a good thing.
  • The 2020 elections will have an impact on the business cycle. People don’t give enough consideration to the weight the presidential race has on the industry’s demand.
  • Customers are going to want more for less in 2020.
  • Regulation and taxation on the alternative accommodation providers is growing — and the playing field is being leveled.
  • Brands who are strong in the market will be prepared to take advantage of their strengths when a recession comes.
  • There’s a continued rise in platform-based providers like Airbnb, OYO, etc.
  • There is a saturation of casino properties in the U.S., but there are opportunities in Europe and Asia, where casino companies are looking to expand their brands into other major markets, such as Greece and Japan.

Are these things on your radar? Have you and your team made plans to address them? And what else might 2020 hold for hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization? Keep checking this space — we’ll have more articles, special reports, and other resources to help you anticipate and respond to whatever lies ahead.

Categories: Marketing
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