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After achieving record performance metrics in 2016, the lodging industry has begun to show signs of deceleration. According to experts, however, anticipated pro-business policies from the current presidential administration will be positive for the hotel sector. Read more about 2017 numbers and metrics here.

Upgrading to EMV credit card readers has been slow going for many hotels, due to a combination of limited reader supply and other factors. However, several hotel chains in particular are catching up with the conversion and training to implement the technology across properties. Read more about the progress here.

For more than a year, Amazon’s voice-activated Echo device has enabled users to search for hotels by speaking out loud. Echo’s functionality has just taken a step further by allowing users to link to online travel agency, Kayak, and complete a third-party booking simply by talking. Read more about this development here.

New brands entering the midscale hotel market are bringing greater access to technology and less traditional amenities. Hilton and InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) are two of the latest companies to rollout midscale brands. IHG’s not-yet-named midscale brand, slated to debut in 2019, will offer stylish and connected spaces and amenities like complimentary breakfast and a grab-and-go market. Tru by Hilton—the first of which just opened in Oklahoma City—offers keyless room entry, large flat-screen TVs for guestrooms, and modern, open-layout lobbies. Read more about how these new midscale brands may impact the segment here.

In general, hoteliers have turned their training focus toward the technological upgrades that keep their properties on the cutting edge. However, soft skills are just as important as technology, perhaps even more so, when creating a warm, hospitable environment for guests. That’s why many hotels have started to implement training programs that specifically target soft skills, including how to interact with repeat guests, connect with local businesses, and become well-versed in nearby tourist attractions and restaurants. Read more about the hotels taking on this kind of training to improve their guest relations here.

New supply in U.S. markets has, thus far, had little impact on RevPAR, thanks to steady demand in those markets. However, an analysis of recent occupancy rates in key markets shows that supply growth may finally be outpacing demand, causing shifts in RevPAR and occupancy. Read the report and view the data here.

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