When the American Hotel & Lodging Association asked its members what they see on the horizon for 2017, 8,000 hotels responded. The results of the 2016 Lodging Survey, conducted by industry data provider STR, were released today. Here’s what we see as the top six trends:
1. Ubiquitous in-room technology
You just can’t do without in-room technologies—especially high-speed wireless Internet and high-definition flat screen televisions, which are now available in 98% and 88% of U.S. hotel rooms, respectively.
2. More dining options
From time-pressed guests to business travelers, hotel guests want dining options onsite. Nearly two-thirds of hotels (62%) offer complimentary breakfast; it’s a mainstay of the midscale sector (96%) but also popular at upper-midscale (80%) and economy (81%) hotels. The higher end of the spectrum, the luxury segment and resort location hotels, look more to offering a varied selection of options throughout the day, with both reporting an average of three food outlets per property.
3. Holding the line on resort fees
Only 4% of hotels nationally charge resort fees, the study found—down from 7% in 2014 and not many more than the 3% that did so in 2006. Most of them are in the luxury segment (31%) and independent hotels (17%). Fees for checking out early reached an all-time high, though, at a whopping 34%.
4. Luxury and upper-upscale segments are defined by services
What makes staying at a luxury or upper-upscale property so special is the elite level of service offered. Every luxury scale property polled offers valet, with upper-upscale trailing at 64%. A quarter of independent hotels reported having valet parking. Nearly all luxury, upper-upscale and upscale properties offer dry cleaning services as well.
While overall the percentage of hotels providing room service dropped, that was outside of the luxury and upper-upscale segments. The top two chain scale segments didn’t change their offerings.
The luxury segment also led the way in entertainment and nightlife options for guests, at 55%, compared to 9% of hotels overall.
5. Safety is paramount
It’s a scary world out there. The percentage of properties with security cameras in the lobby reached an all-time high at 86%, nearly double the number (58%) in 2012.
6. Convenience and comfort are the top priorities
Bring on the mobile check-in and mobile apps. The use of mobile apps for hotel service continues to climb, peaking at 35% for the industry overall. Nearly two out of every three hotels (65%) polled use mobile devices for check-in, but they are mainly in the top levels, from upper-midscale to luxury.