ManagementNewsNews In Brief

Adapting to the new normal & current hospitality trends

Jonathan Kenny on navigating the current economic climate & capitalising on emerging guest preferences

With the industry still recovering post-pandemic and the current cost of living crisis, hoteliers are preparing themselves for a slow start to summer. 

However, Jonathan Kenny, Chief Operating Officer at SiteMinder said the current climate isn’t all doom and gloom. Instead, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your online presence. 

Siteminder Jonathan Kenny
SiteMinder Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Kenny. Image: Supplied

What are the current trends in hospitality?

Jonathan Kenny: Obviously, we’ve seen a rebound post-COVID. We’re seeing international travel expand steadily, we’re not quite back to pre-COVID levels, but we’re seeing a nice steady increase. The biggest change in terms of the international travel component is that China hasn’t really come back into the market in great numbers just yet, but we expect to see that in the future.

A trend I feel passionately about is hoteliers using data and analytics to attract more guests and I think that’s going to continue. I also think things like AI are going to become more and more prevalent, particularly I see these capabilities being injected into smaller hotels.

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How can hoteliers best attract guests in the current climate?

Jonathan Kenny: With the current economic climate,  international air fares may become unaffordable for some travellers. So consequently, we may see an increase in domestic travel.

Having a good website and presenting the hotel in the best light is key to attracting these travellers. We see so many accommodations where you go to the website, and they’re really poor and difficult to use.

So you defer back to an OTA because you’re used to using those tools. So I think having a great booking experience is very important. 

Promote your accommodation, present it in the best light and then make it very easy for a guest to use the site to book directly.

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What sort of stays are guests currently seeking?

Jonathan Kenny: Luxury escapes is an area where we’ve seen an increase in activity, guests are really looking for something different and for an experience.

I think that trend is only going to increase over time. 

How can hoteliers attract new guests, particularly international travellers?

Jonathan Kenny: You have to be presenting your hotels in the right channels to attract those customers. For example, Trip is a channel that’s very popular with Asian travellers.

So if you’re not on Trip, it’s going to be difficult for you to attract some of those customers. So I would certainly be looking to be on the channels that are popular internationally. 

People are also looking for a very digital experience. So things like remote check-in and check-out, the digital natives are growing as a percentage of the population, and increasingly, they’re going to come to expect those things.

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