In 2019, the hospitality industry had a market size of over $6B and was projected to grow 13.14% by 2025.1 No one could have imagined the devastation that COVID-19 could have wrought on such a large portion of the global economy. Having been completely upended, people around the globe are wondering what the industry will look like post-coronavirus. But even though times are tough, the industry is evolving and hospitality professionals are adjusting to succeed during this time.
What to Expect – Step 1
With such a sudden and unexpected shift in the hospitality industry, it’s no surprise that many aspects look different than they previously had. One of the major changes due to the virus is an increase in safety protocols. Locations like airports and hotels, where people once crowded together, now strongly recommend (or require) people wear masks and practice social distancing, with hand sanitizing stations being commonplace. Airlines are requiring face coverings to be worn through the duration of their flights, and some are even leaving the middle seat open in order to keep fliers socially distanced. Hotels are increasing their cleanliness standards, along with offering guests’ new items in their room, such as hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves, and extra face masks. Remotes are sanitized and individually wrapped. Not only are airports and hotels increasing precautions, event venues are following suit by implementing similar protocols. Venues are limiting the number of attendees allowed in the space at one time, and increasing space allocated for previously booked programs.
What to Expect – Step 2
But increased safety measures aren’t the only alterations to expect in the hospitality industry. Another common shift is events occurring on a virtual platform rather than in person. While organizations are making the switch to virtual, some are still missing the many benefits that come with live meetings and events. To satisfy everyone’s needs, companies are turning to hybrid events, which combine aspects of both virtual and live events. This allows attendees to decide how they want to experience an event based on their comfort levels.
Trends to Watch For
- Offer on-site medical assistance and on-site pharmaceuticals for day-to-day colds, runny noses, testing, etc.
- Improved sanitation methods, such as UV light robots that quickly and efficiently disinfect, which could mean “meeting spaces . . . will be almost as sanitized as an operating room”2
- Shifting mindfulness and wellness offerings toward more personalized, in-room activities and food offerings being packed-full of vitamins
- Increase in the need for transparency; attendees will want to know about event cleanliness and sanitation procedures proactively
- Creating new technology to accommodate the ever-changing hospitality landscape; examples of new tech include:
- Digital labor, such as artificial intelligence, to replace humans and minimize contact with others
- Watches and name badges that notify attendees if they’re breaching social distancing
- Attendee check-in kiosks that simultaneously take their temperature
- Creative venue sourcing that allows attendees to social distance, such as utilizing outdoor spaces
How Gifting Can Help
With so many changes taking place in the industry today, there’s one thing that remains the same: the need for gifts. Even when live events were occurring regularly, event gifting was a way to make attendees feel recognized, appreciated, and engaged in your meeting. But as we continue to see a shift toward virtual, gifting has never been more important. Giving your attendees a gift can help restore the personal connection that is often lost when conducting a virtual meeting. Plus, who can honestly say at this point that they haven’t experienced Zoom fatigue? Receiving an event gift can break up the monotony of a virtual meeting and make attendees feel important. Check out our Connect, Applause, and Wellness Boxes to send your guests a gift they won’t soon forget. Or customize their experience with our Build Your Own Box option—we promise, you will thank us later, and your attendees will thank YOU!
- Markets, R. (2020, April 17). World smart hospitality market to grow from $6 billion in 2019 to over $12 billion by 2025 – rising demand for real-time optimized guest experience management. Retrieved from https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/world-smart-hospitality-market-to-grow-from-6-billion-in-2019-to-over-12-billion-by-2025—rising-demand-for-real-time-optimized-guest-experience-management-301042192.html
- Folmer, K. (2020, June 12). In hotels and beyond, UV light robots and lamps could help protect against coronavirus. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/hotels-uv-light-robots-lamps-protect-coronavirus/story?id=71205829