Top 5 hotel trends for 2021

How does the hotel new trend look like?

The demographic change, and growing environmental awareness is the new global trends. However, innovation in digital reservation channels, contactless service, and smart control are becoming more popular in recent years. This article would introduce the hotel trends in the following years.

1. Target Market

The majority of outbound tourists from China in 2017 – 2018 is from 26 to 35 years old, which is the generation Y. And the second group is the people between 19 to 25 years old. Young generation takes over 50% of outbound tourists from China in 2017 – 2018.

According to the research, these generations are generally marked by elevated usage of and familiarity with the Internet, mobile devices, and social media, which is why they are sometimes termed digital natives. However, these people contained the half outbound Chinese tourists. Then it can assume that the Generation Y and Generation Z are becoming the main consumers, also for hotels.

Age distribution of outbound tourists from China in 2017 and 2018

2. Distribution Channel

Online travel agents (OTAs) and home website becomes the most important distribution channels in the hospitality industry. There is the market share of online hotel booking platforms based on booking numbers in China in 2nd half 2019. Meituan and Ctrip are the main platforms which have the majority customers in China. According to the research, Meituan and Ctrip increased the commission to 22% and 25% for special hotels. However, due to the high commissions, more and more hotels design the own systems to support online booking system, which provides the lower price and member benefits (likes member points, redeem) to attract customers.

The online travel agents (OTAs) platforms used in China
Hotel own website can complete the reservation online

3. Smart Control

The number of voice-controlled and streaming services that have proliferated the hotels in recent years. Digital controls for temperature, light, and power. Voice activation could be used in lights, doors, and curtains. It also integrates with in-room entertainment, eliminating the pain point of touching a germy remote control. It is a fun and scalable way to delivery the control.

Digital room keys are providing in some hotels, like app control room key. Digital check-in and digital check-out are becoming popular in recent years. Customers can simply update the personal information, and check in and check out by themselves.

And the guest room tablets provide convenience in a single and straight way to improve the level of guest satisfaction. Tablets can provide multiple entertainments to guests. For example: booking spa appointment, taking advantage of F&B offers, and exploring local tours.

Technology preferences for check-in/out

  • 62% of respondents said they would prefer to check-in and out through a hotel app
  • 30% said they would prefer to check-in and out through a webpage
  • 8% said they would prefer to check-in and out at a public kiosk
Smart hotel controlled by your own device.

4. Contactless Service

Especially in the pandemic period, contactless service become a new trend in the hospitality industry. Chatbots is an electronic method to offer personalized support. It could include normally questions replied, order check and order change. Service robots are becoming popular in hotel, which present an integral part of hotel life. Robots not only can deliver things contactless, but also offer a part of novelty experiences in hotel. In addition, hotels also could make the robots become more valuable as a selling point in the market.

The Service Robot is delivering in the guest room floor
The Service Robot is standing in the hotel lobby
The ‘Hotel of the future’ opened by Alibaba in Hangzhou China.

5. Sustainability

Sustainability equates with not just being profitable, but also as good business sense. Research suggests that more and more customers are willing to reward businesses seen as sustainable by buying products and services from them. For customers, a recent study reported 64% of people base their loyalty on shared values with the brand. However, there is also evidence that employees take greater pride in their work and are therefore more engaged and productive.

At the beginning, hotels need to invest money to support the sustainability, because they need to install and maintain new systems. However, there are some government (like the EU) offer tax rewards and other monetary incentives in order to promote this cause.

There are strategies for hotel to become sustainable:

  • Reducing water pressure
  • Asking guests to reuse items
  • Installing leak detecting water systems
  • Dual-flush bathrooms
  • Grey water systems
  • Water bead laundry systems

See also:

Welcome to the future: how will the hotels of the future look like? – Digital Marketing Les Roches 上海中国 (

Share your comments:

What do you think about these innovation?

Have you experienced the digital hotel before? Which one you prefer?



  1. Great article with detailed explanation of the new trends for hotels. I’m surprised to see that Meituan is also a big online booking app, because in my view it’s just an app to buy food and tickets, rather than Ctrip which mainly focuses on tourism related booking. Moreover, you talked about contactless service, which is an innovative idea and has some benefits such as saving labor cost and increasing efficiency. However, to a large extent I can’t accept that hotels use too many robots to offer service, since warm smile of people cannot be replaced by high technology, especially in five-star hotels that have excellent service from well-trained staff. But I know it depends on types of hotels and it is really a new trend. We can expect how this will develop in the future!


    • Hi Fern, thank you for your feedback.
      I am also surprised at the distribution of OTAs in China. Maybe the younger generation are tend to use Ctrip more than Meituan. However, the digital trend in hotel is interesting. As you can see, warm smile and attentive service are not possible be replaced by robots. And the digital experience becomes popular. Let us see what will be happened in the future.


  2. Very interesting article. the hotel trends for 2021 are covered target market, distribution channel, smart control, contact less services, sustainability. it covers so many details. and used a very good example which is The ‘Hotel of the future’ opened by Alibaba in Hangzhou China. a very interesting video sharing also let readers to have a basic ideas about the future hotel trends. however, is it the AI can really replace the human service in this future of industry? we will see.


    • Hi Lee, thank you for your feedback. I agree with you, AI is an important innovation in hotel, which can not totally replace the human service. However, maybe hotel can use AI technology to improve the guests’ satisfaction.


  3. From this article, we can see the digital trend of the hotel industry in the future. Intelligent check-in also brings a lot of convenience to guests, but whether robots can replace artificial warm and warm services is still worth exploring. Hotel brand sustainability and environmental sustainability are also deserved more consideration. Very good article! Thanks for sharing!


    • Hi Vickey, thank you for your feedback.
      Digital experience is popular in recent years. And sustainability is another trend in hotel, which encouraged by government like EU.


  4. Very interesting article. After I reading this article, I learned the future development trend of hotels is related to technology. Now some big cities have chosen to use technology instead of people. I think this is very welcome way after the covid-19. I can’t judge which one is better. Maybe I’ll try like hotels are full of robots in the future. I think it’s great and fun!


    • Hi Sukie, thank you for your feedback.
      I agree with you, it hard to judge digital or human service is better. I will encourage you to try the Alibaba hotel in Hangzhou, which is the famous and most innovative digital hotel in China.


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