Five Major Trends from AHLA’s 2018 Industry-Wide Lodging Study

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) this week released the results of its 2018 Lodging Survey, which is funded by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AHLEF) and provides a detailed assessment of advancements in amenities, guest services, sustainability, and technology, in addition to other industry trends. Conducted by AHLA partner STR every two years, the survey takes into account responses from thousands of hoteliers across the country.

In the 2018 survey, convenience and communal experiences emerged as leading trends that impact both hotel design and guest enhancements, demonstrating an industry-wide commitment to elevating the consumer’s overall travel experience.

“The hotel and lodging industry is paving the way in innovation as evidenced by STR’s latest trend survey,” said Chip Rogers, president and CEO of AHLA. “We continue to be laser-focused on meeting the dynamic and diverse desires of consumers, focusing on service and guest experience, as well as developing and enhancing our properties and workforce.”

“We are proud to be a part of this survey. Data like this helps the industry continue to move forward and create new opportunities for its guests, employees, and surrounding communities,” said Amanda Hite, president and CEO of STR.

Below are five trends highlighted in this year’s survey results.

1F&B Alternatives

While the number of F&B outlets per property is unchanged since 2012, the number of hotels offering food alternatives like grab-and-go markets and pantries have grown in two years from 21 percent in 2016 to 31 percent in 2018.

2Keyless Entry and Mobile Apps

Hotel mobile apps continue to grow in popularity—40 percent of properties now offer apps that connect guests to hotel services (up from 35 percent in 2016). Hotels have seen an even greater increase in the use of mobile devices as room keys—from 6 percent in 2016 to 17 percent two years later. Mobile device check-in remains on-trend with participation from more than 80 percent of all mid-price and higher segment properties.

3Hospitality With Heart

About a quarter of hotels across chain scales offer guests a chance to donate to or support charitable causes during their stay. This opportunity is even more prevalent among luxury and upper-upscale hotels, where 38 percent and 35 percent, respectively, offer this option to guests.

4Sustainability

Between 94 and 99 percent of branded hotels across chain scales are offering linen and towel reuse programs as a sustainability initiative, and even a majority of independent properties (83 percent) are implementing these programs. In addition, Green Certification is up to 25 percent from 16 percent in 2016. In addition, about two-thirds of hotels within all chain scales report some type of water savings program.

5Shared Spaces 

In an effort to meet the needs of influential millennial travelers, hotels are continuing to innovate, focusing on community and convenience. Fostering community amongst travelers is increasingly important and hotels are recognizing the desire to create functional shared spaces. While the portion of properties that offer communal rooms with shared living spaces sits at 7 percent, that share is significantly higher among luxury and upscale chain hotels (both 17 percent).

The 2018 Lodging Survey was commissioned by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation and conducted by STR, Inc. Every two years, all United States’ hotels (with 10 or more rooms) are invited to participate in the survey and are asked a variety of questions about their guest services and amenities.

Read the full report here