Happy New Year and welcome to our first blog post of 2018! We’re crystal ball gazing again, but this time it’s not about what hotels will be concerning themselves with this year (we gave our thoughts on that last week), but what will be on their customers' minds.
Luckily there is a multitude of trend forecasters out there willing to weigh on what they expect to be big in the next 12 months. Some of their suggestions you’ll have heard before — wellness travel, longer breaks (particularly for Baby Boomers) and sustainable travel will remain popular — but a few others caught our attention, especially because there’s potential for many hotels to capitalise on them. Here’s our pick:
It’s January, the time of year everyone typically makes grand plans to get fit and healthy. While I tend to find myself back on the sofa by February, more and more people are committing for longer and even building travel plans around various physical and mental challenges.
OTAs have spotted the opportunity — in New York in November our data showed a spike in their pricing activity around the weekend of the marathon — so make sure you get in on the action too.
Is there a package deal you can create around the local marathon or other event? Perhaps you could even become a race’s official accommodation provider in a partnership deal? Or with the help of experts in the field, can you dream up your own hike, race or other test that might appeal to challenge-seeking travellers?
Hands on luxe
This one we’ve borrowed from Small Luxury Hotels of the World. As the shift away from possessions and towards experiences remains in full swing, SLH expects hotels that can offer something radically different from the norm to prosper.
Guests won’t be afraid to get their hands dirty and ‘work’ on their vacations, whether that means catching their own dinner or making a fragrance to scent their suite (as they do in the Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano), the group says.
So ensure you are making the most of the heritage of your hotel and its location. The Hotel Magna Pars Suites Milano, for example, is based in an old perfume factory. What unique (and ideally very Instagram-able!) characteristics can you play up? Food and drink tends to work well — foraging is also having it’s time in the sun — so find your self a talented chef who might enjoy mixing with the guests to create a one-off dining experience.
The big switch off
The word “remote” is popping up more and more in travel these days. Airbnb for instance says bookings of nature lodges are up 700% and Booking.com reports that 25% of travellers want to visit a remote or challenging location next year.
Of course, it’s pretty tricky for many existing hotels to suddenly make themselves more remote! But it’s still possible to cater to this trend in some, even small, way. Are there parts of your hotels you can designate as “quiet zones”, where guests looking to be undisturbed by the buzz of mobile phones can find sanctuary? Otherwise, investigate your surroundings and what excursions you could offer to those looking for even just a temporary escape from modern life.
We’ll be keeping an eye on how these trends develop over the next year and bringing you the latest. If you spot anything interesting emerging, we’d love to hear from you. You can find us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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