With 2023 already consigned to history as the year of tourism recovery, the hospitality industry, starting in 2024, now finds itself facing a scenario where actors who began making waves a few years ago are now consolidating their positions. This year, we will witness a significant transformation in how the sector connects with its guests and the rest of the world, characterised by a strong presence of technology as the driver of innovation. Here are five key things to keep tabs on.

1.     Technology as the core

Customer expectations and priorities have shifted, with a preference for fully personalised, sustainable experiences closely tied to the local context. Simultaneously, these new demands in the hotel industry are being propelled by technology, which serves as the primary driver. 


From service automation through chatbots and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to hotels employing Business Management Systems (BMS) for efficient resource management, including robots facilitating manual tasks like cleaning or luggage transportation. 

Advancements not only steer us towards a more digital society but pave the way for delivering personalised customer experiences and operational efficiency for companies and their employees. Technology is, ultimately, the only path to survive and stand out in the tourism sector. 

2.     Prioritising sustainability

In Booking.com’s latest report, travellers already reflected their concern for making the world greener: 79% stated they want to travel more sustainably in the next 12 months, with 75% looking for companies offering more sustainable options. 

Today’s tourists are much more aware of the environmental impact generated by tourism-related activities in recent years. Hotels are adopting renewable energies, centralised software, and BMS to optimise operational efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint. Implementing these intelligent systems contributes to energy efficiency through climate control, smart lighting, or electric vehicle charging points. 

However, sustainability is not only about the optimal use of environmental resources but also considering the economic and sociocultural aspects surrounding the environment. This includes respect for the host community or the creation of activities that contribute to the benefit of all tourism stakeholders and poverty reduction through the promotion of local employment or the purchase of local products. Thus, hotels align with the sustainable development principles of the World Tourism Organization.

3.     Hyper-personalisation for differentiation

In recent years, the sector has made a push to further personalise service for a more premium clientele. This hyper-personalisation, demanded by 71% of customers, is achieved through the use of digital tools like AI, machine learning, and extensive data analysis. 

Adopting these concepts allows hotels to anticipate and proactively meet guests’ needs, offering highly tailored experiences based on their preferences and habits. Key factors include adapting dynamic pricing strategies, tailor-made loyalty programs, gastronomic recommendations based on consumption patterns, and bespoke services based on guest history. The implementation of multichannel services, such as mobile device usage and e-invoicing, along with social media monitoring, expands options for developing seamless communication. This customer-centric digital revolution redefines actions, providing efficiency in commercial strategies and preparing hospitality to offer unique experiences globally. 

Moreover, there is a surge in collaborations between companies seeking innovative approaches. Examples include Hotel Puente Romano and Nobu restaurant, which partnered to enhance the value and prestige of their service in Marbella; or Hotel Don Pepe and Moët & Chandon, which segmented suites to cater to different tastes.

4.     Experiential travel based on health and wellness

The trend towards a holistic approach is consolidating, with travellers seeking authentic local experiences, with a strong preference for activities related to wellness, active tourism, immersion in nature, and gastronomy. These plans now surpass interest in activities conventionally linked to tourism, such as art and culture. 

The importance of adapting to these emerging trends is becoming an imperative and mandatory requirement for hospitality agents, as overreliance on specific tourism products can be inefficient, affecting destination sustainability. In this quest for new experiences, other types of tourism more linked to health, such as sports tourism, are gaining ground. In Spain, this finds its peak in golf, with our country and, more specifically, the Costa del Sol being global references in this activity. Les Roches recently bet on this expanding sector, which directly impacts the Spanish economy with over €5.4 billion annually, through its new Postgraduate Diploma in Golf Course Management, offering students the opportunity to train in golf business management, club operations, tournament organisation, and design, installation, and maintenance of courses. 

Additionally, these experiential trips must be guaranteed from the moment of booking: according to a Forbes study, tourists under 34 are 130% more likely to book a hotel if they can take a virtual tour through its website. Such virtual visits, tailored to new demands and prior to travel, generate confidence in the destination establishment and an increase in the length of stay.

5.     Impact and influence of social media

Social media remains and strengthens as an essential tool for the hospitality and tourism industry, influencing travel decisions and transforming customer interaction. Strategies focus on inspiring through platforms like Instagram or TikTok, influencing booking decisions, and building credibility through authentic reviews following travellers’ positive experiences. 

The impact of social media is evident in tourists’ behaviour change, who consider direct brand relations crucial. Tourism companies actively use social media to promote destinations, advertising campaigns, and enhance customer service, demonstrating their continued importance in the hotel industry. 

Additionally, they cannot overlook the received ratings and comments, and often must determine whether those reviews correspond to real experiences and give them the appropriate treatment to attract the most guests.