Tomorrow's Hospitality A-Z – Navigating the future

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The term “Industry 5.0” refers to the direct cooperation between humans and intelligent machines (robots), which means robots helping humans to work faster and better by using technologies such as the internet of things and big data. In addition to the familiar two pillars of Industry 4.0 – automation and efficiency – this requires a personal, human touch. The same can be said for the hospitality industry, which must also adapt in a post-COVID world to remain relevant and indeed survive.

Considering that the people who could always be relied upon to book business class flights and rooms in five-star hotels – i.e., senior and middle management – have reduced business travel to a minimum, it is becoming more and more necessary to rethink the approach to hospitality in less picturesque city locations. Similar to “workations,” a mixed form of business and leisure travel (“bleisure”) could prove promising. So for hotels that were once geared almost exclusively to business travelers – guests who sleep, have a quick breakfast and strain the Wi-Fi to its capacity – it is not enough to offer an “anti-inflammatory-super-collagen-boost latte” alongside the filter coffee.

To survive in this evolving world of hospitality, hotels that formerly targeted business travelers must now focus their efforts on revitalization and the creation of a contemporary brand image that is attractive to the modern-day traveler. This means making the transition from a “room upgrade, with free Wi-Fi and good airport connections” to a “green 5G-ready hotel with a spacious onsen spa and self-check-in via the app,” in order to get a “safe-travel stamp” from one of the major hotel booking portals.

However, such a paradigm shift requires not only a creative approach to contemporary design and taking on more hip and qualified staff who are familiar with individual preferences (yoga instructors, baristas, etc.) in a time of acute staff shortages, but also a brave leader – a leader who does not lose their resolve to transform the business, even during lengthy and heated negotiations with the various parties who all have a stake in the hotel, such as hotel owners, operators, franchisors and restaurant lessees. This driven individual must also have unwavering faith in their vision since they are the ones who must ultimately pitch the business plan to the final decision makers: the financing entities.

Key takeaways
  • Hotels and hospitality companies must adapt to meet the changing demands of the modern-day traveler.
  • Industry players must adjust to changes in the post-COVID hospitality landscape.
  • Lenders and investors must re-evaluate their short-term expectations for operational properties.
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