Judit Grotte

Associate Professor, Head of International Hotel & Hospitality Management specialization

School Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality; University of Applied Sciences Budapest




Everything is changes. But, what are the most important changes in the Hospitality Industry? New segment, new technology, new expectations on quality appeared on the market. Millennials have become the fastest growing customer segment. High quality service is the only way to ensure loyal customers for the hotels. Innovative technology is a must to have: electronic /mobile check-in time is here. Reputation Management is on focus by guest reviews and comments .

Know your guests, satisfy their needs and create your services around them is the best recipe of a successful hotel operation. Due to new technologies, and changes in guest behaviour, consumers’ satisfaction is everything, but not easy.

One of the most important priorities at our College is, to be able to provide the most up-to-date information to our students about their future professions. We always follow recent changes in the hospitality industry the appearance of new legislative provisions, or latest technologies, for instance.

Keywords: New trends, Demanding segment, Innovative technology, Reputation Management



Changes in the macro environment in terms of technology, economic situation, cultural and generational differences, political uncertainty, etc. cause shifts in the hotel industry cycle.

In recent years consumer behaviour in the international hospitality sector has changed dramatically.

The ’new’ consumer the Millennials has become the fastest growing customer segment within the hospitality industry. Millennials, as the member of the newly formed consumer society, has always the problem with the shortage of time. “Today’s 86 million Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000, hold $200 billion in spending power and represent the most lucrative market for hoteliers.”[1]

Therefore all the solutions that are effective and fast mean the way to success. As a result, the importance of the up-to-date information has increased.

According to Rauch (2014) this consumer segment is interested in utilizing technology to do things that many others have become adopted to doing manually: checking in at hotels, make up their restaurant and bar bills and looking up places to eat, shop and play to name a few.

In addition to wanting technology, Millennials have no problems speaking up. If what they are looking for is not handled to their liking, they will turn to Twitter, Facebook, Yelp or TripAdvisor to voice their complaints.[2]

Easily accessible information coupled with economic uncertainty has made today's tourists extremely discerning in their choices regarding the hotel properties they book and how they book them.

Meanwhile, hotel keepers are under pressure to maximize occupancy, fight for every guest and earn their loyalty. Simply relying on offline marketing practices, offering a promotion or two, or counting on online travel agencies (OTAs) to fill rooms is not enough anymore. It is obvious that this is a disrupted marketplace for hoteliers.[3]

If the hospitality industry wants to react immediately on the arising demand, should be aware of the new emerging trends.


Innovative technology -New Trends in the Hospitality Sector

This new segment is very demanding and expects high quality services from the commercial accommodations. Therefore customer service is strongly highlighted among the new trends in the hospitality industry in 2015.

In the past years the adaptation of the tools of electronic and information technology in the tourism industry made the customers as well as the suppliers to study. Due to the rapid changes of the technology, the role of the new online tools like social media and mobile applications formed a very strong influencing power on the customers’ decision making procedure on travelling. “High tech, high touch”[4] is the service, the e-tourist wants from the hotels.

E-tourism represents the paradigm-shift experienced in the tourism industry as a result of the adoption of ICTs and the Internet[5].

Innovative technology became one of the most important issues in the operation of hotels. Electronic check-in can be done either by mobile phone or by an Apple watch. But what is electronic check-in exactly? Most of the hotels are offering it as a part of their “Loyal Guest” programme. Customers registered as Preferred/Privileged guests are sent key cards equipped with the latest of identification technology that uses radio frequencies.

On the day of guest’s confirmed arrival, a text message is relayed to his mobile device, carrying basic figures like room number, timing, etc. Upon his actual arrival, the client doesn’t need to confirm his stay at the Front Desk. He simply moves to his room and apply the key-card.[6]


2.1. Guests can use their mobile phones as the key to the hotel room

Hilton Worldwide launched digital check-in with room selection technology, now available at more than 3,700 hotels, and worldwide by the end of this year.

This technology empowers Hilton HHonors members to check in via their HHonors profile on desktop, mobile or tablet and choose the exact location of their room - right down to the room number.

Mobile-enabled room key goes a step further in simplifying the guests' travel, allowing travelers to check-in, select their room and access their room upon arrival entirely via the HHonors app on their smartphone. Service Available for Hilton HHonors members staying at U.S. Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton properties.[7]

“Unlock a whole new way to stay”-Starwood is already offering mobile room key in a number of Aloft, Element and W hotels. The website even shows a video about it: https://www.spgpromos.com/keyless/[8]

But, why is it good for the hotels? Mobile room keys bring the following benefits to both the guests and to the hotel (according to the brands and the door lock companies): [9]

Seamless Check-in…when combined with the rise of mobile check-in, mobile room key introduces the seamless check-in for the guest. The traveler can now check-in via his/her smartphone and go right to their assigned room without needing to stop at the front desk.

Reduced load on Front Desk = Labor savings for hotel & let staff to focus on meaningful interactions with the arrival guests that choose a full service check-in process.

Convenience & Choice of Service for the Connected Guest…those travelers that value the ‘full service’ check-in procedure can go to the front desk as has always been the case. At the same time, the “silent traveler”…those guests that value speed and convenience can choose their preferred silent path.

Increased TripAdvisor Scores… the research is in. Hotels that deliver on service choice and decreased waiting gain higher scores on the all important review sites. And as the industry now notices, increased review scores directly lead to increased revenues. Proof? A hallmark study conducted by the Cornwell University School of Hotel Administration[10] found a 1% increase in RevPar (an industry measure of revenue) for every 1% increase in the hotel’s “online reservation score” directly equating improved ratings with increase revenues.

Mobile room key is part of a larger industry shift that in the end will be a win-win for the hotel and for guests.

Apple Watch is the new hotel room key

The upcoming new Apple Watch[11] is a possible game changer for travelers everywhere: the era of losing your hotel cardkey may soon be gone.

Starwood hotels is developing an app for the Apple Watch that will allow hotel guests to use it to unlock their rooms. Just wave it in front of the door and there you go! If you have the watch (and a compatible iPhone), you can get into your hotel room. [12]

Accor Launches Accorhotels app for Apple Watch. In honor of the recently revealed Apple Watch™ Accor is launching an Accorhotels iOS app available starting at the end of April.

"By launching the Accorhotels application for Apple Watch™, Accor is establishing itself as a leading digital hospitality player," said Romain Roulleau, Accor's SVP e-commerce and director of the "mobile first" program.

"The policy is part of the group's digital plan that aims to align with the changeover to new mobile practices. Accor is keeping up with consumer demand by embracing the era of connected wearables and is providing guests with a value-added service before, during and after their stay."

The Accorhotels app for Apple Watch™ will be available in ten languages and works in connection with the smartphone app. In addition to promoting hotels and destinations, the app will allow users to manage current bookings. With the app, Accorhotels customers will be able to:

Receive alerts telling them the online check-in service is open

Access information about their bookings: arrival date, number of nights, number of guests

Receive information about the hotel's services (free Wi-Fi, parking, spa, swimming pool, etc.)

Access the interactive map, including the hotel's location and the local weather forecast

Access Le Club Accorhotels loyalty card details, including status and loyalty points.[13]

Apple Watch and Android Wear are most certainly the platform of the future. Horological history shows how clocks migrated from bell towers, to walls, to pockets, to wrists. A strong allegory will be drawn from desktops, to laptops, to smartphones, to smart watches. Surely, one day we’ll look at smart phones the way people in the early 1900’s looked at pocket watches.[14]

According the eMarketer’s forecast[15] the number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016. For the first time, more than one-quarter of the global population will use smartphones in 2015, and by 2018, eMarketer estimates, over one-third of consumers worldwide, or more than 2.56 billion people, will do so.(Chart1)

Chart1: Smartphone Users and Penetration Worldwide (2013-2018)