Five Top Trends that will reshape the US Hospitality Industry in 2021

Hospitality professionals and business owners are expecting a swift recovery in 2021 as they leave behind 2020 with gloomy memories of COVID19. The news of successful vaccine trials has already given hope to the entire US economy, added with expectations of a bailout package for the industry. 

The increased emphasis on health and well-being demands hotels to upgrade their cleanliness and sanitization standards, while keeping a check on guest health and safety at all times. The dawn of contactless service is also assisting hospitality professionals in easily migrating operations to digital alternatives. 

Today, we take a look at five major trends that will reshape the US hospitality industry in 2021.   

Health Safety, Cleanliness Standards & Sanitization Rules 

The buzz word for hotels, resorts, and country clubs will be health and cleanliness. The AHLA has already provided US hoteliers a rich source of upgrading their health & cleanliness standards through their Stay Safe initiative. 

Stay Safe provides hoteliers a complete framework to reform their health safety, cleanliness, and sanitization standards. The critical point however is that both hotel staff and guests must adhere to these rules for more meaningful results. 

In a recent traveler survey, Metova research identified that more than 90% of travelers prefer staying in hotels that offer complete information about their health & cleaning practices. Similarly, other surveys have identified that travelers demand hotels to provide certified sanitization and cleanliness information over their websites and mobile apps. 

Contactless & Digital Services 

Since human contact is out of the question for a while, contactless service assisted by computers, mobiles, tablets, and robots will be a leading trend for US hospitality. 

Allowing guests to check-in & out through digital kiosks, mobile apps, and tablets are already becoming popular in branded franchises like the Marriot, aLoft, Hilton, and Sheraton hotels. Many hotel chains have also automated their room services through robot butlers that are synchronized with the hotel mobile app. 

The advent of mobile room keys has also allowed hoteliers to provide a much safer guest experience. The option to tap your phone app and open the doors keeps guests from touch surfaces while making it safer for staff when cleaning later on. 

Digital entertainment will also be one of the most popular features in the quest experience allowing guests to bring their entertainment to hotel smart TVs. Voice assistants are also becoming a popular feature in higher-end hotels, providing guests timely information in their rooms. 

The absence of human interactions requires hotels to stay connected at all times with their guests. Professional hotel technology management providers recommend a live chat feature in mobile apps and over websites to make this simpler. Assisting guests through a chat interface allows them to feel cared for and heard, especially when they are confined to their rooms.   

Sustainable Hospitality 

Sustainability has been used more as a marketing gimmick in hospitality than as a mainstream ethical practice. The deepening coronavirus pandemic will see the growing trend of environmentally friendly power generation, waste management, food sourcing, and cleaning standards. 

Hotel owners will look to improve power consumption with leading power conservation systems and natural power generation technology. The Courtyard by Marriott-Lancaster become the first fully solar-powered hotel in the United States, known to produce more electricity than it actually consumes.  

Hoteliers who applied sustainability practices in their properties over the last decade have made a positive impact on the local environment, improved guest experience, and experienced decent revenue growth. Sustainability will remain one of the top trends in US hospitality as more businesses experience the massive cost savings and guest preferences for such initiatives. 

Mobile Technology 

Mobile technology is truly evolving hospitality, adding new avenues for contactless service while allowing hoteliers to grow revenue at the same time. Mobile apps and room keys are becoming a popular feature in even small and medium-sized hotels. 

Hotels are investing in mobile services to grow guest loyalty, enhance their branding efforts, and discover new markets. A mobile app is just as important to a hotel today as a concierge. Yes, that is exactly how essential a digital mobile experience is for hotels. 

Leading mobile app developers like ALICE and Marriott’s BonVoy are already leading the way for hospitality proving the true power of mobile technology. Websites, social pages, and other digital tools are bridging the gap between hospitality providers and prospective customers through timely information delivery over smartphone screens. 

Multiple surveys have highlighted guest preferences for mobile apps in US hospitality. Hospitality providers are offering rich features through mobile technology like one-tap check-in, BLE room keys, dining, tours, loyalty points, personalization features, room control, etc. to make guest experiences more consistent even without human interactions. 

Hospitality Technology Management 

Hospitality will go through rigorous automation and digitization of services to ensure guests’ health safety. The introduction of mobile apps, robots, digital assistants, and online payments will require providers to maintain a reliable, secure, and consistent technology infrastructure at all times. 

Hotel technology management will be one of the leading professions in 2021. While each vendor will ensure installation, technology systems from various vendors will require a central management provider to consistently monitor the performance, security, and reliability of hotel technology systems. 

Hotel technology management providers are an insightful source for assistance for contactless guest experience planning, cybersecurity, mobile services, PCI compliance, vendor management, installations, support, and continual compliance of digital services. 

Professional hotel technology management will be essential for hoteliers to ensure their payment systems are compliant. With a shift towards digital payment methods, the scrutiny of online payment vendors is essential. Hospitality providers must have the correct infrastructure and mediums in place for safe online transactions. 

Growing cybersecurity risks are also a major threat to US hospitality, which has also been the 2nd most breached industry in the last decade in the world. Hotels and resorts will be required to have compliant and secure technology services to ensure guest data privacy. 

Big Data will be the leading asset for hoteliers are they develop more digital contactless solutions. Guest information, behaviors, and payment information will all be on the line as they use contactless services through their personal devices. Hospitality providers must therefore carry fortified work networks, WIFI infrastructures, and technology systems to assure robust cybersecurity. 

The AHT Inc. Experience.  

At AHT Inc. we assist hotel owners to develop future-proofed digital service management systems, synergized for delightful guests experience. Our vast footprint in the US allows us to learn and adapt to changing circumstances and create highly secure guest experiences through real-time technology planning, management, and support.   

Assisted by an experienced team of hospitality technology managers, PCIP consultants, and engineers AHT Inc. offers real-time technology gap assessments that secure hotel technology and maximize performance. Our specialized hospitality technology management suite includes propitious solutions including: 

  • Hospitality Technology Planning & Budgeting 
  • Technology Vendor Management 
  • PCI Compliance and Staff Training
  • Technology Gap Assessments 
  • Technology Installation & Configuration
  • BLE Mobile Room Key Solutions – by Dormakaba SAFLOK 
  • White-Glove Technology Compliance, Security, and Management 
  • Exclusive Business Center Solutions 
  • Support & Technical Assistance


Wishing everyone a prosperous new year, with hopes of fast recovery for the US hospitality industry. For more trends, insights, professional interviews, and news visit us again. To keep connected join our Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn feeds.