The economic downturn gripping the global economy has had a major impact on the hospitality industry. The effects - both negative and positive - look to be long lasting. The cutbacks in both business and leisure travel led to a severe drop in occupancy rates and revenues. This has caused many sectors in the industry to suffer multi-year declines. While the most severe aspects of the downturn may have abated, they are still being felt.
While growth in developed countries like US and western Europe seems to have stagnated, developing economies such as the Middle East, India and China are seeing a huge growth. This growth is fuelled by the GDP growth, and also by the fact that these nations are not hosting major international sporting events like the Olympics and FIFA
Some of the trends emerging in this sector are:
- Customers are looking for Solution Integrators who can provide end-to-end solutions.
- Nowadays, whether a guest is visiting an establishment for the first or fifth time, the experience provided is the same. Hotels are unable to capture guest preferences and customize their stay either in the same hotel or across the hotel chain. Guest preferences have also changed - modern guests are now comfortable using touch screen devices and Generation Y is more comfortable with self-service.
- Multiple and different networks are used for guest internet access and hotel operations. Hotels invest in two different networks every time the guest internet network is outsourced to service providers with a revenue sharing agreement. Guest internet access over Wi-Fi has gained importance and very few hotels nowadays do not provide internet access. The revenue for hotels that do charge for internet access has increased 30 - 35 per centYoY.
- Revenue from guest telephone usage has dropped significantly. With the increasing usage of mobile phones and internet, the revenue from the hotel telephone system has fallen to 10 per cent of what it was a decade ago.
- Triple play converged solutions are becoming the trend. Now there are solutions available that allow all services required in a hotel room to be communicated over a fiber pair. These services can include voice, internet, TV and Wi-Fi. The cost of fiber is at par with copper, and fiber provides practically infinite bandwidth. Therefore, such solutions not only reduce the initial CapEx but also reduce maintenance costs as all services are now provided from a single network.
- Security is very important for all hotels. It is now mandatory for all hotels to have CCTV/IP surveillance and access control solutions in lieu of the increasing threat from terrorists, fire and/or any other calamities that can arise.