A new year has begun, which means it’s time to look into the trends and tendencies for the hospitality industry. What will travellers see more of this year? What new concepts are hotels going to roll out? And what will shape our travel experiences in particular? A shift in society (due to Covid-19) means new tendencies in almost all areas of life, and the hospitality industry is of course no exception. Here’s what you can expect in 2022.
1. The rise of bleisure travel (and “hotel offices”)
Ever heard the word ‘bleisure’ before? It’s the elegant merging of business and leisure, and it basically refers to professionals venturing out into the world to work remotely while enjoying a good old holiday. Smart, right? Bleisure travel is on the rise in the wake of the Pandemic, and with good reason; there are more self-employed and remote workers than ever, so why not explore the globe while earning a living?
The venues used as remote offices are in particular hotels who can provide stable WiFi, good coffee and comfortable surroundings, but you won’t only find bleisure travellers here; locals pop by as well. Many hotels around the world are already capitalizing on the trend, offering day-to-day offices and special packages for ‘remote workers’.
2. Digitalized guest experiences
We won’t get around digitalization in the hospitality industry, and moving forward, apps will become an increasingly important factor in the way hotels provide their service offers. In fact, digital tools are already controlling many aspects of the guest experience journey; from self-check-in and check-out to digital roomservice, contactless payments and online concierge services. The hospitality industry will always need real people, but digitalization is providing each guest more freedom to choose. For hotels, all this naturally come with a cost, but it’s probably worth looking into as an increasing number of travellers are expecting digital solutions – especially after the Pandemic.
3. Holistic hospitality
If there’s one word that’s on everyone’s lips these days, it’s well-being. We want to feel good again and we want to pamper ourselves. What better place to do that than in a hotel?
Hotels with a spa are already ahead of the curve her, but a holistic approach to hospitality doesn’t only involve physical enjoyment. It’s also about our mental well-being. From online breathing classes to in-house yoga and meditation sessions; the sky is the limit if a hotel wishes to tap into this trend. Stress management, emotional health and sleep improvement are hot topics this year, and they’ll stick around for the years to come.
For restaurants, the holistic approach could involve serving healthy food made of local ingredients only, ayurvedic meals, Vegan specialities or simply clean and minimalistic food.
4. A personal approach
What makes a hotel truly great? One of the things are definitely a high level of service, which obviously includes the greeting and treatment of its guests. Many travellers today have grown to expect a certain level of recognization when they check in to a hotel; they want to be treated as individuals. And many hotels are already going the extra mile to accommodate this wish – not only in real life, but also through their newsletters, website chatbots and integrated messaging. Using the right technological tools, it’s possible to get a lot of information about each guest, which can then be used for tailormade personalization both before and after check-in.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone these days, but sustainability is a hot topic in the hospitality industry as well. As travellers are becoming increasingly aware of the current climate (crisis), their demands when traveling also shift. To put it short; we want to do good, not only at home, but also when we venture out into the world. And since traveling per default isn’s sustainable, what initiatives could be made to support a healthier and more sustainable development? Checking in to an eco-certified hotel, for example. Or supporting small local businesses and restaurants. Or staying closer to home.
On a more practical level, traveling sustainably also means eliminating unnecessary paper and plastic consumption and reducing food waste and energy. If you’re staying in a hotel, you can pick one that supports these things. It also comes down to what beauty and skincare products are being used, how often towels are being washed, and how the local environment in taken into consideration (does the hotel hire and train local people, is the food coming from local farms, are there any Vegetarian food options in order to reduce meat consumption? etc). Nobody’s perfect, but we have to start somewhere – and so does hospitality businesses. Support the ones making a difference, even if it’s just a smaller one.
6. Traveling less (and the rise of staycations).
Yes, traveling less is also an option. In fact, staying closer to home – or embarking on a so-called ‘staycation’ – may very well be one of the strongest travel trends this year. The massive amount of travel restrictions in the past years have facilitated this trend, which in all honesty is also better for the environment. Many travellers think it’s not “worth the hazzle” going abroad for a weekend or a short trip (taking vaccinations, tests, documents etc. into consideration). On the bright side, “closer to home” can also be an enchanting experience, especially if you live in a country, region or place famous for its nature, climate or experiences.
Many hotels are picking up on the staycation trend, which means you’ll most likely be able to find a good deal in a hotel near you. Check in for the weekend and play tourist in your own region. I’m sure you’ll be surprised of how much you’re actually able to discover. Perhaps you’ll even fall in love with your own backyard, who knows.