How do you see startups disrupting the hospitality industry in the next five years?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
A. High-Tech Hotel Rooms
The most extensive technology you might find in a hotel, even at a high-end location, is a flat screen TV and AC panel. Imagine hotels that have motion sensors that turn off the lights when you're out, wake-up calls that open your curtains or raise the lights slowly and even showers that allow you to program the water temperature. Hotels will once again be an adventure away from home.
- Kelly Azevedo, She's Got Systems
A. Personalized Service
I think the hospitality industry will do a quick U-turn. It went from personalized service to online booking, and now I feel it is going back to personalized service. The only difference is that technology allows hotels and airlines to better manage inventory and pricing.
- Yuriy Boykiv, Gravity Media
A. Sustainable Travel
A massive upcoming trend is sustainable travel -- not just ultra-luxury eco-holidays for the elite, but socially impactful travel options for the consumer market. Imagine having dinner with local families, going fishing with local fishermen, cooking at local community houses and micro-volunteering and micro-philanthropy during what normally would be a regular holiday.
- Christopher Pruijsen, Raising IT
A. Social CRM
Surprisingly, many hotel properties haven't realized the power of social media as a CRM tool. Management often doesn't believe in the benefit of social media or puts it on a growing list of responsibilities for a marketing person who doesn't have time to do it right. As the hospitality industry moves toward providing more personalization, social media is key to creating memorable experiences.
- Alex Frias, Track Marketing Group
A. Affordable Alternatives
Startups such as Airbnb are promising effective (and affordable) alternatives to the larger travel/hotel booking companies. With the advent of similar services, the hospitality industry will dramatically change in favor of consumers.
- Daniel Wesley, Creditloan.com
A. Reducing Unused Inventory
Hotel Tonight seems focused on higher-end properties, but I see a huge opportunity for hotels that could cater to the "staycation" folks willing to book a last-minute weekend trip 100 miles or so from home.
- Jim Belosic, Pancakes Laboratories/ShortStack
Hospitality across the board is making a slow turn to adopt data into its market positioning, sales generation and social interaction. The industry must capture its audience's behaviors, likes, comments and demographics. Otherwise, there is a missed opportunity to connect, improve and create authentic touchpoints in the future.
- Grant Gordon, Solomon Consulting Group
A. Central Trip Planner
Sites will emerge that allow consumers to keep track of all of their travel plans in one centralized portal. You will be able to keep track of logistics (plane, hotel, rental car, etc.), your itinerary, which will be integrated with third-party calendars, and other important aspects of your trip. You will be able to see an interface like Google Maps of where you are going, when and with whom.
- Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors