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With Levity, Here’s My List of Predictions for Trends
in the Hotel Industry in 2010

 
by Daniel Edward Craig, January 12, 2010

In the midst of all the doom and gloom, I think we could all use some levity. Here’s my annual list of predictions for trends in the hotel industry in 2010. 

1. Hotels to rival used-car salesmen in price integrity. Attempts to curb rampant discounting in 2009 by offering value-adds like free breakfast and parking will prove futile in 2010 as hotels panic over weak demand and drop rates even further -- without taking away the value-adds. Meanwhile, a prized mathematician at Cornell proves once and for all that discounting does not increase demand, but is denounced by the hotel industry, who announce another fire sale -- third night free! 

2. Hotels shoulder burden of bargain-hunter economy. Airlines, who stopped fussing over trifles like customer satisfaction years ago, will counter periods of weak demand by simply canceling flights and hiking fares. Car rental companies, who apparently missed the memo about the Great Recession, will continue to charge premium rates for substandard cars. Meanwhile, travelers will expect bargain rates from hotels while refusing to tolerate lapses in quality and service. 

3. Bungled bundling. In an attempt to offset losses, hotels will craft packages more complex than cell phone plans, hoping to confuse travelers into paying higher rates, but will end up only confusing themselves and giving away even more. 

4. Flagrant spending is back! (just not for you). Luxury went mass-market in 2008, then in 2009 became a symbol of shame and excess after people discovered credit has limits. Now it’s set to make a comeback -- as a niche market. The glamorous world of private jets and champagne Jacuzzis will revert to its originally-intended audience: billionaires, royalty, celebrities, bankers and hotel doormen. 

5. Lifestyle: the new luxury. Filling the void created by conversions of luxury hotels into RV parks, lifestyle hotels will open at a rate of one every 3.7 seconds. Brought to you by the big-box chains, these boutique knock-offs will cater to the conscientious traveler’s demands for eco-friendly practices (as long as it doesn’t cost more), social responsibility (provided no extra tipping expected), and affordable style (quirky patterns and garish colors that will have guests screaming for the days of all-beige hotel rooms).

6. Hotels join the social media conversation. No longer willing to remain silent while guests misbehave and then post nasty, biased reviews on TripAdvisor, the hotel industry will launch a website of its own called DickAdvisor™. Employees will post candid reviews of guests, rating them on manners, tipping, honesty, brainpower and tidiness, as well as providing details regarding alcohol and porn consumption, late-night visitors and missing and damaged hotel property.

7. Travel goes virtual. Advances in mobile phone technology will allow travelers to check in to hotel rooms remotely, raid the mini-bar, sleep, attend a meeting, and check out, all without leaving their home. 

8. Safety first, service second. Faced with threats from the swine flu, terrorism and reverse peephole viewers, hotels will install full body scanners at check-in to weed out terrorists, virus carriers and pervs and redirect them to the nearest competitor. Employees will use hand sanitizer sprays like mace to keep sniffling and leering guests and other vermin at bay, with a special fire-extinguisher format for groups.

9. Heavenly Deathbeds. As the economy recovers, nonessential amenities will creep back, and hotels will resume the quest to build the ultimate bed, adding “essentials” like 3,000 thread-count sheets and seventeen varieties of pillows. This trend will take a tragic turn, however, when a hotel guest discovers a room attendant buried deep within the layers of his bed, having suffocated there while attempting to make it. Thereafter, hotels will strip beds down to a mattress and pillow, charging a fee for everything else. 

10. Vegas is out, Iowa City is in. The corporate meetings segment will rebound in late 2010 with a new era of cost-consciousness in the wake of the “AIG Effect”. Popular excursions like all-night tequila-and-stripper blowouts in Vegas will be replaced with authentic experiences like cabbage soup cook-offs and quilt-making in the Amish heartlands.


Daniel Edward Craig is a hotel consultant and the author of the hotel-based Five-Star Mystery series. He is the former vice president and general manager of Opus Hotels in Vancouver and Montreal and its current blogger-at-large. For more information visit www.danieledwardcraig.com or email dec@danieledwardcraig.com
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Contact: 

Daniel Edward Craig
dec@danieledwardcraig.com

 

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Also See: Hotel Industry Trends in 2009: A Lighthearted Approach / Daniel Craig / January 2009
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