Changing trends within the hospitality industry can be responsible for increased expectations among your patrons. As competition for business within the hospitality industry continues to rise, it is important to consider whether it is worth integrating some emerging trends into your own business strategy.

Here are some of the top hospitality trends emerging for 2014:
Online Booking

Whether you want to believe it or not, many people turn to the internet before choosing a hospitality establishment. Before making any bookings at all, some people like the option of being able to check estimated costs, availability, and even browse through photo galleries to get a feel for what they will experience once they arrive. You will also find that there are a growing number of people who prefer to make their bookings online rather than via the phone. Likewise, the online availability of your menu or upcoming events can be a big drawcard for undecided patrons.

There was a time when the hospitality industry could rely on word of mouth between people to account for a percentage of new customers. However, the availability of online review sites makes it much easier for happy customers to spread the word about your establishment much faster and to far more people. Likewise, unhappy customers also get to vent their opinions without ever having to speak with you.

Waiter in casual clothes taking orderThink of online review sites as your digital word of mouth machine. Positive online reviews written by previous customers can play a pivotal role in increased booking numbers, especially when you take the time to thank those people for their reviews personally. By comparison, your prompt and professional responses to resolve any unhappy reviews can actually increase your business’s reputation in people’s eyes, leading to an increase in business overall.

Your online reputation management does not stop with your website or some simple reviews posted online. The social media scene is one of the fastest growing trends within the hospitality industry – and has continued to be for some years now. Customers have come to expect a certain level of interaction between establishment owners and patrons.

Many hospitality establishments have also ventured further and developed their own mobile application. Such apps allow you to extend your service to your potential customers whether they are in your establishment or not, increasing their awareness of your business and the potential that they will make their next booking with you.

Delivering great customer service is not a new trend, but it is one of the more influential factors involved in capturing new customers and encouraging existing customers to return. Most hospitality managers and employees understand that customers expect a certain level of service. However, those hospitality establishments that over-deliver on the expected customer services expectations and focus on creating a unique guest experience are those that continue to thrive.

Your choice of hospitality furniture can create a warm, welcoming ambience in your establishment, or it can create an air of disappointment in a customer’s eyes. The trends for hospitality furniture change accordingly with the needs and expectations of your customers.

Paleo Cafe orange chairsSimple, practical cafe tables and chairs may have been quite acceptable in many hospitality settings some years ago. However, your establishment may have evolved to incorporate a range of quality lounges, armchairs and other comfortable furnishings designed to appeal to a broader range of patrons.

There’s also a growing trend for people to expect a more international approach within many hospitality establishments. This has led to the emergence of more gourmet-focused restaurants and cafes, incorporating hospitality furniture that reflects a more international atmosphere, rather than a casual dining setting. The same can be true for the style and design of hospitality furniture chosen for reception areas and lobbies that play a part in setting the scene for your customer’s experience with your business.

The hospitality industry will always continue to grow and change. Where your business fits within the scope of the industry may just rest on your ability to adapt to new trends as they emerge.

Nextrend is a hospitality furniture specialist in Australia, helping people transform their venues into a practical and creative environment.