Never has the industry of hospitality changed the way it does right now. Ever since Covid came along almost three years ago, the world hasn’t been the same, and hospitality brands must adapt to survive. We’re currently seeing an influx of exciting new trends and tendencies dominating how we’ll travel, stay and perceive the world of service moving forward. For a hotelier, it can be daunting, but there’s meaning in the madness. Keep reading to get my take on the most prominent trends to look out for in 2023.
“Unique, tailor-made and thought-trough experiences will become the norm”
As the world grows more conscious about sustainability, so will hospitality businesses.
The industry is already embracing sustainability to some extend, however, it will be on a much different scale moving forward. Hotels and restaurants will start paying more attention to their energy consumption, e.g., through smart solutions such as LED lighting, LEED certifications and implementation of solar panels.
The India-based hotel chain, Chalet Hotels, has committed to using 100% renewable energy by 2031 and many, both larger and smaller hotels, are planning to follow troop. An investment in decarbonization is crucial if a hospitality business wish to survive in the next decade; in many ways, it’s a brand new beginning determined by one word; responsibility.
Guests will be inspired to return to local, homegrown amenities. They wish to not only enjoy nature but also help protect it when travelling, and they strive to do so by choosing eco-friendly hotels and local products.
Social spaces and a sense of belonging
The interesting thing about the shift we’re currently seeing in travel, is the way we travel. Gone are the days where hotels and restaurants would simply deliver a room or a table to satisfy our needs; we want authenticity and community. We want to connect and belong. Based on this, interior design in hospitality is becoming more inclusive and experiential. The traditional hotel lobby and reception area as we know it, will especially change and become hubs for social activities – not only for guests but for locals, too. Some properties will choose to have their reception areas outside, and nature is generally having a larger impact on design and amenities in the years to come.
The hospitality industry has always been a people’s industry. In its very core lies a deep, heartfelt wish to serve and entertain people, and although a traditional hotel may have struggled with creating a sense of community for its guests in the past, this is now one of the biggest opportunities. Cross-cultural community building is here to stay. Many properties strive to make their guests feel relaxed and at home even when they’re in line to check in. The way we perceive public spaces are changing, and it should be easy to connect and mingle with individuals around us.
Virtual reality / smart technology
“The robots are coming!”, you might think and fear that hospitality will never be the same again. But robots don’t necessarily constitute a big part of a hospitality business’ tech scene moving forward – and if they do, it should be to heighten the level of service and comfort for the guests.
Our collective consumer mindset has changed rapidly in the past decade, and when consumers change, so must hotels and restaurants. The rise of technology (smart phones etc.) has formed an entire generation to choose, think and travel differently. But this also creates new, exciting opportunities for hospitality brands.
From the way we check in at hotels and order room service, to the way we choose our food in restaurants and tip the waiters; smart technology is here to make the guests experiencemore seamless and convenient.
Technology can be a blessing but also a curse – at least for people who are not comfortable using it, let alone depend on it when traveling. In my opinion, hotels and restaurants must make sure that all tech solutions, e.g., smartphone check-in’s and in-room iPad’s, work for the benefit of the guests. Let’s call it “stress-free technology”, cause that’s essentially what it should be about.
Chatbots (such as Asksuite), are another example of technology that’s here to stay. Helping both hotels and restaurants, chatbots are able to provide 24/7 customer service – a great relief for busy front desk or service staff members!
Digital expectations and implementations are shaping the way hospitality businesses are designed, operated and marketed in the future.
The rise of wellness in the tourism and hospitality industry is based on people’s need to unwind, connect with nature and find balance in a fast-paced world. Outdoor experiences are gaining momentum, perhaps as a response to all the tech savviness going on. In the wake of the Covid Pandemic, travellers are truly embracing self-care on both a mental and physical level. Apart from the classic spa experience, many hotels will start offering yoga and meditation classes as well as guided outdoor excursions, hiking, sailing, and whatever their areas allow. But green, tranquil spaces are being implemented indoors as well in lobbies, rooftops etc.
For a restaurant, the wellness trend is embraced by serving healthy, locally sourced food, and perhaps even offering unique tasting experiences. The sky’s the limit, but one thing’s for sure; the wellness trend will only grow bigger in 2023.
According to data scientists at Ladders, remote work is here to stay. What was kickstarted during the Pandemic is now exploding; the CEO of Ladders refers to it as “the largest societal change in America since World War II”.
Pandemic-related stress factors and, perhaps, a new way of viewing life, has made millions of people all over the world take the plunge into remote work, but our perception of remote work is also changing. You don’t necessarily have to sell your house and live in a beach in Thailand to become a digital nomad or remote worker. Working from home and thereby avoiding the daily commute is enough for many.
Hospitality businesses can meet these demands by creating work-friendly stations, free and fast WiFi, and perhaps even co-working spaces for guests.
Other hospitality trends:
- Local life
- Multi-generational travel/hotels
- Quiet/relaxation zones in hotels
- Unique, tailormade breakfast offers