Hospitality in 2023: A look into the last year

by | Dec 21, 2023

The last year marked several changes in the realm of hospitality. As the industry overcame several economic and cultural challenges, almost reaching its pre-pandemic levels of activities, it also witnessed new technologies, trends, strategic changes and fluxes in market behaviour. As we conclude 2023, it is essential to understand the lessons learned and the imprints left behind by these shifts.

1. New industry trends witnessed in 2023

The hospitality industry is expanding its horizons, branching into new areas. The experimentation with flying cars, underwater hospitality and the popularisation of aparthotels were at the forefront last year, promising new attractions. With the anticipation of new experiences, it is imperative to understand where they intersect with hospitality, as these trends have the potential to provide hospitality services tinged with luxury and a slice of futurism. Conversations revolved around exclusive tour package ideas with exceptional transit services, personalised luxury experiences around apartment hotels, novelty staycations and recreational activities surrounding underwater stays. The rise of market trends also led to a surge in tourism, and new traveller types are emerging. International tourism is returning to pre-pandemic levels, and twice as many people travelled during the first quarter of 2023 than in the same period of 2022. Combined with revenge travel and socialising, these tourists started to show a new post-pandemic economy, showing new traveller behaviours and consumer habits. Ranging from solo travellers and wilderness/ nature enthusiasts to wellness lovers, each of these traveller segments demanded diversified services. However, with new hospitality habits emerging, there also came the responsibility of guest management and population control.

2. Emerging technologies that power the industry

New trends lead to innovations. Technology aids hospitality in guest management and other challenges they have faced over the years, namely, disaster recovery, labour shortage, and overtourism. For instance, tablet-based POS systems and mobile ordering solutions solve the labour shortage in the industry, enabling employees to process orders faster. Full-stack ERP systems empower hotels, restaurants and leisure establishments alike to manage their inventory management, bookings, and sales. Particularly during periods with fluxing demand—disaster periods, tourist seasons and holidays periods—the demand for services either collapses immediately or is followed by increases. Such significant shifts in market dynamics create a need to re-evaluate inventory and sales strategies. Introducing guest management technologies such as timed entry tickets, reservation systems, table booking software, or check-in modules can help businesses and destinations control their inventories and visitor numbers. Cloud adoption, in particular, is predicted to increase globally, with most hospitality operations relying on cloud technologies, including full-stack ERP systems, POS or reservation modules. In fact, 90% of companies have spent more time in the cloud due to the pandemic and consequent changes. The pandemic era has given cloud computing services a brand-new purpose in the hospitality industry. Most business operations have migrated to the cloud, responding to the high competition, increased demand, and labour shortage.

3. Changing consumer behaviour

The evolution of digital technologies and changing travel and socialisation habits also resulted in changing consumer behaviour and the rise of unique audience needs. As overtourism forced communities to step back from the post-pandemic travel haze, one significant travel habit that rose was purposeful travel, a habit that encourages travellers to make responsible decisions when booking travel. Purposeful travel, also known as sustainable travel, is about travelling with a particular goal and limiting unnecessary strain on destinations. Breaking biases and creating inclusive spaces, most establishments started to accommodate culturally and socially diverse groups. Secure communication options such as apps and fully mobile front desks for women who seek safe adventures, expanding wellness treatments for male audiences and changing hotel spaces to increase accessibility for disabled guests are some of these solutions. Meanwhile, on-premises solutionsrequiring minimal network connectivity revitalise nature experiences for travellers wishing to complete a digital cleanse in the wilderness.

4. Strategic focuses

A strategic shift is also happening in the industry to keep up with the new consumer behaviours. Inspired by tourist cities such as Las Vegas, there is a rise in digital entertainment like e-casinos and digital gambling. Gamified experiences are also becoming a successful marketing strategy, with website games and booking stage games enticing more purchases and post-stay hotel connections. Meanwhile, the F&B sector rose to the challenge of catering to impulse buying behaviour. Mobile ordering apps and booking solutions, digital menu boards, and immersive dining experiences added a new dimension to restaurant experiences, enticing immediate purchases from guests. These new services and amenities also lead to new opportunities for businesses to tap into new revenue streams. As guests started travelling for various reasons such as business, wellness services, or to indulge in nature, businesses have started looking for ancillary revenue streams, such as offering bleisure amenities in hotel rooms, including curated spa packages or tour packages.

Moving forward sustainably

If there is one thing this year taught us, the industry is constantly changing. Combined challenges of the pandemic and the economic crisis have accelerated change within hospitality, and there are constant fluxes in demand patterns and travel behaviour. The growth of the industry over last year reflects the need for sustainable operations to move forward. Operations need to look beyond just green initiatives, expand their paradigms, and break norms to create positive social, cultural, and economic change that brings about profits to businesses and guests alike.
Manoj K Mohanty | IDS NEXT


Manoj K Mohanty

Senior Vice President - Sales, South Asia & South East Asia

He brings extensive industry experience and a track record of success in selling technology and services to global clients across hospitality markets. He has proven to be essential and crucial Sales personnel who is primary involved and contributing to acquiring new clients in South Asia and South East Asian regions.