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What’s the Future of Hospitality?

Hospitality is a broad industry which according to Wikipedia includes: “….lodging, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.”

Being such a broad and diverse industry means there is a lot of change taking place in different ways. To get an understanding of what these changes look like at a macro level, we asked the question:

What’s the future of the hospitality industry?

This is what we learned…



Paul Breslin, Managing Director of Horwath HTL, Atlanta

“What we know from the trends today that people are ever changing and in search of new experiences. The reason for people to travel will be for business and leisure some part of groups and some as individuals.

What will change is the hotels will deliver separate experiences in the same hotel for the different types of guests. Look for hotels to improve how they serve the leisure guests needs such as families, couples with the use of technology.

Hotels will be designed around the specific needs of the traveler with more individual personalized services and improved advance notice of what the guest expect and delivered just “in time” as expected with a wow!

Hotels and their guests will have greater connection with the local environment, providing deeper connection with the local culture, think farm to table in everything we do. Food will be fresher, local, healthier, back to basics, more organic and less of it per person, yes smaller portions. There will be more guest-oriented designs, a lobby that is ever changing, creative, innovative.

Hotels will think differently, be healthier and offer immediate satisfaction.  Hotels will be a guest experience that touches all of the senses.”


Sergio Barros, Director of Sales at Tenerife Tourism

“The hospitality industry in 10-15 years will look significantly different than what we know today. Hotels are going to have to be even more high tech to accommodate the business/leisure traveler.

As millennials are entering more senior positions and creating new opportunities, they are going to seek out accommodations that will allow them to mix business and pleasure.

Hoteliers will need to include access to unlimited free high speed Internet, an intuitive concierge that will provide business services as well as recommendations for the hippest and trendiest venues in their city.

Travelers will need to optimize their time way and will expect a comprehensive infotainment system with updated to the minute weather, news and destination specific programming in their room.”


Scott Kalwei, Founder & Owner of Ruins Pub

“The platform business model has upended entire industries through better asset utilization. What does this mean? Well think about the biggest taxi company in the world, Uber. They don’t own a single taxi yet they are the biggest taxi company. The biggest hotel? That would be Airbnb.

No longer will you do all your own marketing, you’ll try to get your customers/employees to do that for you via social media. Shared kitchens, community kitchens, and food trucks will provide on demand kitchen equipment to lower fixed costs. Startups will be more regular with decreased startup costs. Waste will be reduced with platforms utilizing waste between businesses.

The industry as a whole will become more fluid. Change will become constant and uncertainty will be the only certainty. To stay ahead you’ll have to constantly be working smarter. Scrambling to stay ahead of technology will be the new future.”


David Jacoby, Co-Founder of Hostfully

“The trend keeps moving towards a more personal and more local travel experience. That is one reason vacation rental accommodations have increased considerably: travelers get to live in a local neighborhood instead of downtown, they get unique recommendations from their host, and they can even go to the local farmers market and cook a meal in their kitchen.

The challenge for all accommodations is to provide an authentic experience. Airbnb is aggressively leveraging this with their live their campaign and their new Experiences offerings. Hotels need to keep up.”


Ben Guttmann, Co-Founder & Partner at Digital Natives Group

“We’re looking at more and more adoption of voice-controlled devices in hotels and other temporary spaces. This means either mass-market technologies like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, or custom-built controllers for heating, air conditioning, lighting, entertainment, alarms, etc. Voice-control will eliminate the need to learn a whole new set of buttons, remotes, and thermostats with each hotel stay – and simultaneously make rooms feel more like home.”


Keith Kefgen, Managing Director & CEO of AETHOS Consulting Group

“20 years ago you had to be an operator; 10 years ago you had to be a finance and real estate executive; Today you need to be a revenue/pricing specialist; Tomorrow you will need to be an innovator & technologist.

Hospitality leadership will need to more creative and innovative as the industry and economies undergo dramatic change. Leaders will also have to have some “good old fashion” servant leadership as employees and guests become more fickle and have more choices in the way they work and travel. Technology will continue to drive competition and make it easier for upstarts to go “toe-to-toe” with major chains.


Ravneet Bhandari, CEO at LodgIQ

“The hotel industry will continue to be steady for another year, but as new hotels get developed it’ll make it tougher to keep breaking records. There was a time in 2016 when the industry was on an upswing for 68 straight months, the longest upswing ever. But, at some point during the next year we will see cracks in the fundamentals and a slide downward will most likely begin. This is when it’s imperative that hoteliers invest in backend technology to help optimize their revenue and forecast demand.

The industry will continue their focus on the Asia Pacific region, specifically China because outbound trips from China are expected to grow by 50.5% between 2016-2021. This means that China could be positioned to be one of the largest and most important tourism source markets – especially in Asia Pacific.”


Tom Engel, Principal of Boston-based TR ENGEL Group

“The future of the hospitality industry—for both hotel teams operating in the workplace to management supervising on a global level—is inextricably tied to the continued growth of technology.  While today’s hotel rituals–booking rooms,  booking a meeting,  reserving a table for dinner, checking into a guest room—are increasingly facilitated by technology, the reality is the hospitality business is taking baby steps compared to technology’s future impact.

The question we have is: what effect will rapid tech growth have on delivering great customer service? For our hotel guests who thrive on technology we believe keeping pace with their tech requirements will be a must, not an option. For guests who turn over the i-phone, the laptop, etc….the human touch better be there!”   


Jeff Hands, President of TracRite Software

“With the overwhelming rise of consumer devices and ever-evolving capabilities, the future of hospitality is going to have to consider IoT and consumer customization in real-time. This is already happening in some respects, like digital menu tablets at restaurants that allows customers to place their orders directly with the kitchen. Moving forward, this trend will continue to spread through the hospitality industry as customers expect greater control over their experience.”



About the author

Nick Hastreiter

I write about the future of business. I approach this by interviewing founders, CEO's, and other game changers to share their vision for the future of their industry.

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