Hotels. Motels. Inns. B&Bs. Airbnb. HomeAway. Mobile homes. Couchsurfing. Tents. When it comes to choices for stay, vacationers and business travelers are spoiled. In 2013, the hotel industry made a cool $163 billion in revenue—a number that was up nearly 6 percent from 2012 and cannot be sneezed at. But when competition is stiff and you have to fight with apps for business, then it’s kind of nice to offer a little bit extra to woo new and keep existing customers.

Hotels are trying to win people’s hearts by making a guest’s stay more experiential. Here’s how:

Booking at your fingertips

In this age of tech obsession, people prefer using their smart devices to book hotel accommodations. It’s simple. It’s convenient. It’s easy. And it’s right there in their hands. Click and you’re booked in. Hotels have finally realized that when it comes to customers, it makes great business sense to improve their user experience and digital presence. Mobile bookings are up. Add to that last minute discounted bookings because, who can resist a thrifty deal?

Amenities and features, again, at your fingertips

Apps make life easy for the weary, tech-happy voyager. Hotels have recognized that guests feel more at home when they are in the relative comfort of their mobile devices zone. In-room touchscreen controls that operate everything from the television and lighting to the curtains and thermostat? Why, yes, thank you, St. Regis San Francisco and ARIA Resort & Casino. Free Wi-Fi access and complimentary iPads for use in hotels, and check-in kiosks at airports to simplify the process for travelers? Oh, my! Starwood’s bold decision to introduce SPG Keyless, a smartphone app which allows their guests to use their phone to unlock their room door, is already a hit. A little pampering goes a long way to retaining customers.

Staying fit and eating well while on the go

Traveling takes a toll on everyone’s diet. Plus, it’s difficult to include a workout into their busy schedules. Guests, with their varied eating habits, appreciate being catered to with a well-balanced meal. Throw in a juice bar, and gluten-free or vegan food options, and you have a happy customer. Hotel brands like Westin are also including fitness-focused programs to help guests maintain their exercise regimen during their stays. Kimpton hotels provide yoga mats and complimentary bikes for every guest.

Fur family members are welcome too

Even your four-legged or feathered or scaly family member gets a little bit of pampering. Loews Hotels’ Loews Loves Pets, Kimpton Hotels’ Very Important Pets and W Hotels’ Pets Are Welcome (P.A.W.) programs go out of their way to make guests’ furry companions feel at home. From offering welcome treats, bowls, and beds, to specialized room service menus and pet massages to offering a park with a dog run and water stations, you can be assured that your pet will get the star treatment.

With such fantastic offerings and amenities, the indulged business and leisure traveler is sure to find it difficult to return home. (image via Shutterstock)

Source: Erin K. Shields | Top Hotel Trends to Watch in 2015 | January 27, 2015 |

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