Hospitality: The Future of the Hospitality Industry

This month, we’re looking at hospitality on the blog. Not just the hospitality industry itself (though we will touch on that), but the events that just about every business throws from time to time that require some hospitality specialists, such as banquet servers or bartenders.

It’s an interesting time to be in the hospitality industry. As much of the industry is considered elective or optional purchasing, a healthy hospitality industry can be a sign of a truly healthy, recovered economy. Do we have a healthy industry? Well, let’s see…

Earlier this summer, TripAdvisor released their TripAdvisor Industry Index, a global survey of thousands of hotel owners. The Index offers a fascinating look into the hotel industry and plenty of neat infographics. Among the trends spotted:

Cautious optimism about the economy: American hoteliers were somewhat positive about the nation’s economic recovery; echoing that caution, 15% of them planned to increase their staffs in the coming year.

Online booking gap: 94% of major hotels offer online booking systems, but only 81% of smaller inns do, and that percentage drops to 63% for B&Bs. We weep when we think of this lost revenue.

Blow your green horn: While four out of five U.S. hotels have eco-friendly policies in place, 34% of those that have them don’t tell their customers about them. What a missed opportunity!

The National Restaurant Association released its Restaurant Industry Forecast back in February—yes, with infographics. According to the report, the future is looking pretty good for restaurateurs:

Now hiring: As the private sector’s second-largest source of employment, the restaurant sector is expected to add jobs at a rate of 2.3%, which outstrips the projected national rate of 1.3%.

Record revenue: As of early 2012, restaurants were on target to have total sales of $632 billion this year. That’s a new high, and hopefully a sign of an economy in full recovery.

Tech opportunities: According to the Forecast, about 40% of consumers are interested in applying smart technology to their restaurant experiences: ordering from their table via an electronic menu, at-table electronic payment options, even apps for viewing specials and making reservations.

And of course, the event planning industry has its own forecast too. Special Events published its Corporate Event Forecast in early July, and its projections look pretty good:

Uptick in revenue: According to outside research, the event planning industry had a 3.5% growth in revenue last year, three times the rate of 2010.

More events: A full 40% of corporate event planners surveyed said they expected to have more events in 2012 than they did last year.

More connection: Many event planning experts predict that one major trend for the coming years will be genuine interaction between event attendees and the companies throwing the event. Fewer big giveaways, more interactive experiences.

Overall, the picture that emerges of the industry and its relative health is: pretty good, could be better. There’s still plenty of room to grow, lots of confidence in the economy to repair and many technological efficiencies that can be used. If you’re in the business, how can you use this knowledge (or your own research and forecasting) to improve your business now? Let us know in the comments!

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