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Hoteliers insights on the industry’s future

The hotel industry is going through a period of dynamic change, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the recent Hunter Hotel Conference.

According to panelists at the “Looking forward… The hotel of the future” session, a shift in consumer behavior makes it difficult to predict exactly what the industry will be like in a matter of decades.

“I’m excited that we don’t know what the industry will look like in 35 years,” said Jonathan Wilson, VP of product innovation and brand services for Hilton. Hilton is “about to be 100 years (old), and we constantly look back and talk about innovations. But those happened over a very long period of time. But compare that with how much the industry has changed just in the last three years.”

Heather Balsley, SVP of global marketing mainstream brands for InterContinental Hotels Group, agreed that the shift in the landscape has been remarkably fast.

“What’s happened over the last three to five years, and what we expect over the next two or three, are unlike what we’ve seen in this industry before,” she said.

But Stephen Jennings, U.S. leader for hospitality at Deloitte, said this should be taken as a good change, because most innovation is helpful for the hotel industry and travel in general “unless we envision ‘Star Trek’ technology like teleporters.’