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Hospitality and tourism

Hotels 2020: Welcoming tomorrow's guests

Gillian Saunders Gillian Saunders

Discover the hotels of the future

The hotel industry is going through a period of unprecedented, irreversible change and will look very different in 2020 than it does today. We shed light on some of the biggest questions facing the sector – how will hotels attract the business and leisure guests of tomorrow? How can they compete in a digital world? And what will their future business models look like?

Drawing on interviews with international hotel operators, industry futurists and Grant Thornton hospitality and tourism specialists, this report provides hotel leaders with guidance on how they can prepare for the consumer-led economy of 2020. 

Key findings:

  • Embracing personalisation: as millennials grow as a key target segment, personalisation will rapidly increase over the next few years. Hoteliers that can deliver effective mobile-centric personalisation will become brands of choice.
  • Taking a new approach to data and talent: many hotels are moving too slowly for the new era of digital, data-centric business. To stay competitive, hoteliers must think about the talent they will need, such as data scientists, sensor specialists, social media experts and more.  
  • Keeping the brand relevant: with online travel agencies (OTAs) and meta-search engines, brands are less visible for customers booking hotels. Smart hotels will find new ways to use their brand messaging and distinct experiences to connect with customer segments.
  • Rethinking the business model: the threat posed by Airbnb and other rivals from the sharing economy is real and hotel groups need to ask fundamental questions about their business models. ‘Wait and see’ is not an option.

The hotel industry is likely facing more disruption now than it has at any other time in its long history. Many face being marginalised, just as flat-footed rivals in other sectors have found. But, at Grant Thornton, we believe that the opportunities are immense for those hoteliers prepared to change.