There are various stats and studies showing and projecting growth for the US hotel industry.
An article on TheStreet from earlier this year reported that Marriott opened 55,000 new rooms, and combined with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, signed 880 new hotel deals in 2016.
Per Best Hospitality Degrees, travel and tourism are the fastest growing industries and accounts for nearly 10% of the global GDP and almost 300 million jobs.
It would seem as though the outlook for the hospitality industry is rosy.
But this isn’t to suggest that growth is guaranteed for every hotel. There are some important factors that must be understood. Read on.
Despite some issues with the economy, many people are still opting to travel and stay in hotels. The main difference is they are keeping their trips more affordable by planning closer to home.
Local getaways offer travelers the opportunity to leave home without breaking the bank. And, they still get to explore destinations they’ve never been to, or even go where few tend to venture.
Even for hotels that are off the beaten path or a little out of the way, there is an opportunity to increase business. And, travelers do not appear to be spending less on food and beverage. Local restaurants can also benefit from national visitors.
Hotels could potentially benefit from these trends by adjusting their marketing. If you’re primarily focused globally, then a more local focus could bring guests your way. It’s worth experimenting with a few different approaches to see if you can capture localized tourists.
Retiring Baby Boomers
Another important factor is Baby Boomers who have either started retiring, or are already retired. They are spending more of their time traveling and enjoying their freedom.
Wealthier Boomers may be more likely to plan international trips, but many are opting to travel within the States.
Millennials may not be traveling quite as much as Boomers yet, but are still taking short-term interstate trips. With Millennials entering their prime earning years, they are likely to become a more significant market soon.
Again, appealing to the right demographic may be a matter of adjusting your marketing more than anything else. If you believe you could appeal to the Baby Boomers – if you aren’t already – it could be worth targeting this market.
Innovation is another oft cited reason for growth in the hotel industry. The previously mentioned Marriott is a prime example of this. Per Fast Company, after they acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts, they became one of the world’s largest hospitality companies. Their renewed effort to offer better customer service has extended into free Wi-Fi, exclusive room rates, and loyalty programs. They also launched an app to allow customers to share their preferences with the hotel they’ll be staying at.
Per Aurecon, “the application of cutting-edge technologies and innovation has become a burning issue in the construction and refurbishment of hotels.”
Many hotels have put greater focus on reducing their environmental footprint and are taking steps to become more energy efficient.
Innovation could mean many things for different hotels. The important part is to be forward thinking in your approach, and to put the customer at the center. Think carefully about how you can offer them a better experience.
If you want to take advantage of growth in travel and tourism, you must be proactive in keeping up with economic shifts and trends.
Your unique selling proposition has never been important. How you connect with your target audience can be a significant factor in the business you ultimately capture.
The US hotel industry may be booming, but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can stand by and watch as your rooms inventory automatically fills up every night. You’ll need to take proactive steps to ensure you benefit from current market conditions.