Survey outlines lodging's biggest trends

A new survey released by the American Hotel & Lodging Association analyzed the biggest trends currently favored by the hospitality industry. Conducted by data analysts at STR and funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation, the survey investigated amenities, guest services and more, with special attention paid to technology.

The Lodging Survey is conducted biennially since 1988, and has more than 8,000 participants.

“Anticipating the needs and wants of our guests, and providing a rich and rewarding work environment, are vital to the success of the hotel industry. Hotels are fully committed to providing exceptional customer service and implementing initiatives that are important to both our guests and employees such as a strong commitment to sustainability and charitable giving,” Katherine Lugar, president and CEO of AHLA said in a statement. “These insights have a profound impact on our industry, helping hoteliers make decisions that will allow them to deliver the best possible service and guest experience as well as develop and enhance their properties and workforce.”

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“We are thrilled to once again partner with AH&LA on this survey, which provides helpful guidance for hoteliers, industry vendors and the traveling public,” said Amanda Hite, president and CEO of STR. “This benchmark allows key stakeholders to understand and embrace the opportunities within the industry.”

Key findings of the survey include: 

Technology

  • Central-reservations systems are nearly universal across chain scales
  • Use of mobile apps for hotel service continues to climb, peaking at 35 percent for the industry overall
  • The overall use of mobile devices for check-in rose greatly, with this service being offered in 65 percent of hotels
  • High speed in-room internet plus wireless access is now an industry norm, expanding to 98 percent of hotels
  • Only 9 percent of hotels charge for room internet
  • High-definition and/or flat-screen TVs are in almost nine out of 10 (88 percent) U.S. rooms

Sustainability

  • In-room energy-management sensors are at their peak overall usage with 48 percent of hotels adopting
  • 90 percent of hotels use high-efficiency/LED lighting
  • 94 percent of hotels offer a linen/towel reuse program
  • Almost half (47 percent) of participating hotels have an amenity (shampoo, soap) recycling program

In-Room Amenities and Property Offerings

  • In-room air purifiers are largely an upper-end amenity and are led by luxury (68 percent) and upper-upscale (40 percent) chain scales
  • Branded amenities products usage grew to include 90 percent of properties
  • The percent of hotels reporting indoor (36 percent) and outdoor (43 percent) swimming pools both saw a small drop from 2014 levels
  • Luxury and independent hotels lead the way in music/entertainment/night clubs at 55 percent and 25 percent, respectively

Guest Services

  • Complimentary breakfast (62 percent overall) remains a primary mainstay of upper-midscale (80 percent), midscale (96 percent) and economy (81 percent) hotels
  • The proportion of hotels offering non-smoking rooms reaches 97 percent, an all-time high
  • Free airport shuttle service is provided by 85 percent of hotels located at an airport location
  • 73 percent of hotels overall offer dry cleaning, while almost all luxury, upper-upscale and upscale properties provide this service
  • At 100 percent, valet parking is the standard among luxury scale properties, with upper-upscale trailing at 64 percent and a quarter of independents reporting valet parking in 2016

Charitable Giving

  • 85 percent of hotels contribute to charity
  • Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of hotels make in-kind contributions of room nights, meeting space, goods or services
  • Well over half (61 percent) volunteer hours to charity

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