Earlier this month, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) and Smith Travel Research (STR) released the "2016 Lodging Survey." The goal of this biennial survey is to provide a current and comprehensive understanding of hotel operations.

Drawing from the findings, hoteliers with a futuristic mindset may also be able to identify the critical travel trends heading into 2017.

The survey covers a wide range of areas in hotel operations. AHLA and STR analyzed the data from more than 8,000 valid questionnaires to provide the following key findings:


  • Almost all hotels across various chain scales (from luxury to economy hotels) adopt central reservation systems (94-100 percent), but the number for independent hotels is only 53 percent.
  • More hotels are using mobile apps for customer service.
  • More hotels allow guests to check in with a mobile app.
  • 98 percent of hotels offer high-speed in-room internet service with wireless access.
  • Fewer hotels are charging for internet service, changing from 11 percent in 2014 to 9 percent in 2016.
  • Fewer hotels are using social networking sites for marketing purposes, dropping from 93 percent in 2014 to 87 percent in 2016.

Additional discussions for consideration:


  • A sharp upward trend was observed in the use of high-efficiency/LED lighting.
  • 94 percent of hotels offer a towel/linen reuse program.
  • 47 percent of hotels participate in an amenity-recycling program, such as shampoo and soap, but luxury hotels are leading the effort.
  • A record number is set by the hotels using energy management sensors in room.

Additional discussions for consideration:

In-room amenities

  • 88 percent of hotels have high definition and/or flat-screen TVs in rooms.
  • 90 percent of hotels use branded amenities products.
  • A downward trend shows fewer hotels are offering shower-only rooms.
  • Only 10 percent use shower shampoo/conditioner dispensers.

Guest services

  • 85 percent of hotels that are located at an airport location provide complimentary airport shuttle service.
  • 62 percent of hotels offer complimentary breakfast — 80 percent among upper-midscale hotels, 96 percent among midscale hotels and 81 percent among economy hotels.
  • 97 percent of hotels offer nonsmoking rooms, highest percentage ever.
  • The percentage of hotels that provide room service dropped to 22 percent, but at the same, 21 percent offer alternatives to traditional room service.
  • 34 percent of hotels charge a fee for checking out one or more days early.

Additional discussions for consideration:

Property offering

  • 55 percent of luxury hotels and 25 percent of independent hotels have music/entertainment/nightclubs, much higher than other categories.
  • Large meeting space (over 10,000 square feet) is usually found in luxury, upper-upscale and independent hotels.
  • Luxury hotels and resorts operate an average of three food outlets.
  • Percentage of hotels that have indoor and outdoor swimming pools dropped slightly to 36 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
  • More hotels are offering free parking service, increasing from 72 percent in the previous survey to 85 percent this year.

Additional discussions for consideration:

Safety and security

  • 86 percent of hotels installed surveillance cameras in the lobby, highest number ever.
  • 20 percent of hotels offer a safe in rooms, a record low number since 2004.

Additional discussions for consideration:

My report here only summarizes the most critical findings from the 2016 Lodging Survey, which has 228 pages. Will you be able to see the 2017 hotel trends from this report? Please share your thoughts with us, as I share mine under "additional discussions for consideration."