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Hospitality in 2050, the future of the industry.

The hospitality industry in 2050, a mere 30 years from now, could be something we never expect. What has changed the last 30 years? Well, in 2018 the average ADR in Europe was $138,80 (US Dollars), according to Statista. In 1990, it was not even possible to establish this figure. Also, in the ’80s, loyalty programs emerged. These loyalty programs are now one of the standards of a hotel (group). Furthermore, smoking was ordinarily everywhere in the hotels, including the rooms. Ultimately, a lot can change in three decades.

One of the biggest changes in hospitality in 2050 will reflect is the increase in automation and influences of technology. Artificial intelligence will be increasingly introduced, with a high tech gadget in the room that arranges your entire stay, (e.g. Alexa from Amazon). The room will also offer virtual & augmented reality options. Artificial intelligence will also impact the customer journey/experience, virtual assistants, chatbots, artificial intelligence-driven OTA’s (e.g. Allora), room service robots, biometric scanners, check-in and check-out by your personal technological assistant united with your personal device, all of this will be “normal’’ in 2050. There could also be one big database, where all hotels can retrieve & store information concerning sales, revenue management and guest relations. In addition, all of the guests and employees will be riding in electric cars in 2050, so there will be no space for normal parking and there will be the need for electric car chargers.

Most people in hospitality, including me, would say that the hospitality industry is known for hard work and long hours. These factors influence the work-life balance, risk for burn-out and job attractiveness. In 2050, there will have been a revolution in working conditions and there will be no more long, hard and bad working hours/conditions. The earlier mentioned technological advancements will play a major role in this. Instead, there will be six working hours per day or four working days a week, as a full-time job.

Since not only the hospitality industry is growing, but also other industries, fulfilling positions with new employees in all of the departments might become more difficult in the future. Therefore, it is likely that more “hybrid’’ learning environments will be created on all levels of education in collaboration with hotels. This means a better learning experience for students in hospitality, as well as a better pool of potential employees for those hotels that take the time to curate & support university programs in hospitality.

In terms of sustainability, the industry and consumers will move to zero-impact travel, so hotels and guests will have no impact on the environment. However, this goal will not be realized in 2050, simply because we do not have the time necessary for those changes to take effect on a grand enough scale. Furthermore, hotels will live more in harmony with the local surrounding in terms of nature, community and like-minded organisations.

The food and beverage (F&B) offerings will become more future proof, for example, molecular gastronomy, where science influences the physical or chemical transformation during cooking or cultured products such as what we now know as cultured meat. These will be F&B offerings that will be able to sustain the demand of the growing global population and hospitality industry. With more people being able to consume in the hospitality sector it means new ways of delivering the same or similar service that establishments have always strived for. In addition, F&B offerings could also include unimaginable technical innovations such as having a 3D food printer in your room!

Many things can change in 30 years. The things you think that are completely normal now can be completely different in 2050, going back to my original example, smoking 30 years ago had a completely different social implication than it does now. Before the health risks of second-hand smoke were the concern of the general public, it was perfectly normal to smoke in enclosed spaces that in today’s world would be positively frowned upon. Technological advancements, demographic trends, international collaboration and social awareness will all be part of shaping the future of hospitality.

Jorn Heikens | LinkedIn