Hospitality Comeback Prompts Big Changes

Hotels adapt to guest preferences to make stays more efficient and pleasant.

With hospitality recovering across all property types and markets, hotels are adapting to shifting consumer needs and wants. Professional services company Colliers International shares insights into the changes and their expected longevity.

The apps have it. Downloading an app to check in, using your phone as a room key, and ordering services through a hotel brand’s app all improve customer experience. Such improvements accelerated in the aftermath of COVID-19 and are here to stay.

Travel patterns evolve. People are combining work and leisure travel to a greater extent than in the past. People who travel for work are asking, “Why don’t I just stay here for the weekend?” Most used to travel on a Friday or Saturday and leave on a Sunday. They now are more likely to check in on a Thursday and stay into the next week, changes that are likely permanent.

Communal spaces gain ground. Travelers want gathering spots: Business guests working remotely want public areas that are accommodating and spacious. Leisure travelers want clean, cozy spaces where they can chat with friends or family.

Business destinations still recovering. Leisure travel areas are outperforming those that depend on convention and corporate business. Savannah, Ga., for example, had higher occupancy in 2021 than it did in pre-pandemic years. But for some primary business markets, recovery to 2019 levels isn’t expected until 2026 or 2027.

Adapted from “Southern Hospitality,” an interview with Helen Zaver published in the CCIM Institute’s CIRE magazine, Summer 2022. Zaver is a senior vice president at Colliers International and a member of its National Hospitality Group.

Construction costs, up 25% to 35%, have reduced the supply of new hotel properties. Some projects were supposed to start but never did, in part because of costs and in part because of a pullback in the availability of financing.


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