Key Takeaways from The Lodging Conference 2023: Challenges and Opportunities for the Hotel Industry
Onyx CenterSource had the privilege of participating in and attending The Lodging Conference 2023, a premier event in the hospitality industry. This year’s event brought together leaders, innovators, and experts from across the hospitality gamut, offering invaluable insights, networking opportunities, and a glimpse into the future.
The Lodging Conference provided a comprehensive overview of the current state of the hotel industry, with a look into the challenges and opportunities that hoteliers are facing in today’s post-pandemic world. From financial hurdles to workforce issues, the conference fostered conversations that shed light on critical aspects of the industry.
Uneven Economic Recovery in Hotel Industry
The recovery of the hotel industry has been anything but uniform. Individualized approaches have become necessary to adapt to varying levels of demand and COVID-19 restrictions. Large hotel brands have had to tailor their strategies to individual regions, recognizing that the economic rebound has not been consistent globally.
Group Bookings vs. Corporate Travel
According to a panel session, group bookings have shown resilience and are on track to resemble pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2024. However, corporate travel is lagging. This divergence highlights the need for hotels to focus on diversifying their revenue streams and not solely rely on one segment of the market.
As an exhibitor and attendee, Onyx showcased our commitment to advancing the hospitality industry by providing demos of GroupPay, an industry-first payments solution for the meeting and event industry that can help hotels scale with new M&E business as they diversify their portfolios.
GroupPay by Onyx CenterSource automates the workflow of managing commissions, ensuring faster reconciliation and more accurate final commission calculations. When you align this workflow with consolidated payments, compliant invoicing, proactive processing & collection, and performance tracking, the result is faster and more accurate commission payments from hotels to agencies, creating stronger business relationships and enabling all parties to focus on more strategic, revenue-generating activities.
Slow Hotel Industry Adaptation
One recurring theme throughout the conference was the slow adaptation of the hotel industry. Despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, hotels missed an opportunity to reimagine their business models. Instead of embracing change, many returned to business as usual. This inertia could have been overcome by revisiting booking and cancellation policies to better position hotels for financial success in a rapidly evolving landscape.
Workforce Challenges and Burnout
The hotel industry is grappling with workforce challenges, including a declining population and early retirements. To address these issues, hotels are looking to increase the productivity of their existing associates. However, pushing employees to the limit without automation can lead to burnout. According to The Lodging Conference’s general session, on average, hotel staffing levels are at 85-90% of what they should be, putting additional strain on workers.
Onyx spoke with several industry professionals at the conference, and they shared insights into making hotel-level jobs more manageable to retain employees and promote their well-being. Onyx recently released an eBook on this topic, Burnout, Boredom, Quiet Quitting: How Workplace Inefficiency Impacts Your Team’s Mental Health, that delves into mental health in the workplace and offers practical solutions to enhance employees’ mental well-being.
The 2023 Lodging Conference shed light on the complex landscape of the hotel industry, highlighting its challenges and opportunities. Hotel owners and operators are urged to address financial uncertainties, adapt to the uneven recovery, diversify revenue sources, and consider innovative solutions to workforce issues. Change may not always happen quickly, but proactive measures can pave the way for a brighter and more resilient future for hotels in this post-pandemic era.