While we're still in the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, there's reason for hope and optimism that some return to normalcy might be just around the corner - either sometime late this year or early in 2022. That means concerts, happy hours, and yes...hotel stays.
It's no secret that the hotel industry has taken it on the chin over the last nine months, as popular tourism destinations struggled to attract visitors and business travels slowed to a near halt. But at some point, we'll all be travelling again, and if you haven't been inside a hotel for a while, there are a few changes that seem to be sweeping the industry.
First of all, rooms that double as your office are going to become less of a luxury and more of a necessity. That means more than your typical corner desk. Hotel chains are expecting that with so much remote work, travelers can get out of town and still be plugged in. So workspaces and faster wi-fi are expected to become the norm.
Also, look for better deals for longer stays could become a thing. Similar to the workspace situation, hotels are fully expecting you to work remotely and not be rushed to leave, so your hotel choice could very well come down to who has the better discounts on longer visits.
Here are a few other things to look for going forward:
TOUCHLESS ROOM ENTRY
Outside of "social distancing" and "Karen", "touchless" and "contactless" have to be the two words that got shoved into all of our vocabularies in 2020. More and more, consumers are looking for ways to live their life without dealing with other people or, most importantly, their germs.
Touchless hotel room entry is by no means a new concept, but look for it to be more of the norm as opposed to a luxury reserved for more expensive brands. Look for "mobile keys" activated by an app on your phone, and online check-in as opposed to going to a front desk.
Due to the pandemic, some hotel chains (including Marriott) implemented a 24-hour no-penalty cancellation policy. Look for that to become standard as well as hotels learn to deal with travelers with unexpected circumstances
This isn't really something that chain hotels are going to offer you, but more and more travelers are looking for their own space, free of...well...literally anyone else. Therefore expect AirBnB to have another big year and more people opting to rent their own space than deal with the lobbies and shared spaces of a hotel
Nashville hotels already have a leg up on the competition here because the rooftop bar and patio boon started here several years ago. But look for more and more hotels to add extra outdoor common areas for the spring to make their space more attractive for groups that want to socialize in a safer environment.
With all of these changes, will you want to travel more in 2021? Or wait until things are totally in the clear?