Changes coming to popular hotel chains

Hotels are trying to attract both millennials and baby boomers

By Erin Brookshier - Virginia Today Reporter

Big changes are coming to hotels in 2018 as many popular chains are working to address the needs of guests. 

Changes will focus on two major groups, technology savvy millennials and aging baby boomers.

Changes in place for the older generation will be more visible, going far beyond just the ADA requirements of years past. Travel and tourism expert and professor at the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business Vincent Magnini says hotels are making a big push for more adjoining rooms for multi-generational travel groups. You can also expect to see more lever-style handles that are easy for aging adults to use. 

When it comes to the younger generations, he says they’re looking for hotels are environmentally friendly. That’s why more hotels are emailing invoices instead of printing them out, including recycling bins in the guestrooms, and showing off their sustainability efforts. 

“Exercise equipment in the workout room that converts workout energy into electricity that’s fed back into the hotel,” says Magnini. “People like to see environmental initiatives that are eco-friendly and visible. The more tangible they are, the more people can appreciate them.”

Surveys may soon be a thing of the past as well, as more hotels are turning to data mining to get the information they need. Instead of repeatedly calling or emailing visitors to answer questions about their stay, hotels are now searching for that information on blog posts, on social media, and other platforms were guests are giving their honest opinion. 

Following the deadly Las Vegas shooting in October 2017, we can also expect to see an increase in security at hotels nationwide. 

Some security changes will be obvious, like bike racks, metal poles, or concrete planters on the sidewalk in front of hotels. While they often blend in with the surroundings, these permanent barriers also work to prevent the threat of a vehicle from driving into the building or into the lobby. 

Many of these changes are being put in place as new hotels are built and existing ones are updated. We can also expect to see a change in the layout of the buildings and how employees are trained to respond to threats. 

“Hotels are becoming more in tune with preparedness training for active shooting cases and with acts of terrorism, within hotel design and in putting concrete planters in front of the door,” Magnini said. “It may also be a change in the style of door handle on the exit door, one that cannot be chained shut would be another example of that. These are several things that make it easy to react in a serious situation.”

National security expert so we can take extra measures when checking in to a hotel to protect ourselves as well, like identifying the exits and knowing all the paths to get there, taking note of the areas where you could easily hide if needed, and knowing basic first aid.

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