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what are the latest trends in the hospitality industry?
Tourism and hospitality management go hand in hand. Gone are the days when people wanted a rich vacationing experience. The millennial traveller prefers a budget-friendly, unique, and diverse holiday.
The shift in market trends, changing global economy and buying preferences also contribute to this transformation. The hospitality sector is all-encompassing, comprising of bars, restaurants, hotels, resorts and more. The industry is hugely competitive, looking for ways to tap into current customer trends.
Here are some of the latest trends in the hospitality sector that travellers must consider.
Local is vocal
The modern traveller prefers a localized experience as opposed to a luxurious stay. This might seem ironic to some people as global travel is ever on the rise. When I say “local experience” I don’t refer to the localized destination.
Local here symbolizes authenticity. Every city or country around the world has a unique attraction. Some places have great food, and other areas are culturally rich. People want a taste of that niche which a city offers.
Homestays and hostels are becoming increasingly popular among travellers. Homestays are a great way for international students to save money and have an authentic experience. Tourists prefer staying with the locals and trying out the local culture and cuisine. It is a very educational and entertaining experience, contributing to public revenue as well.
Over the years, people have become more aware of the environment. The recent news of forest fires, floods and other natural disasters only add to the panic. And with travellers being more eco-friendly, the hospitality sector has no choice but to catch up.
Most resorts or eateries use renewable energy sources. Others might cut down on the use of plastic. Then some serve vegan food or cruelty-free products. Businesses and travel brands are fast joining the bandwagon, launching “green” campaigns and strategies.
Sustainability and health are two significant factors that influence travel trends of the day. The modern traveller wants accommodation options that positively impact nature. It is a small but significant step in the right direction.
The human element
Travelling is a very human experience. A place might evoke different reactions in different people, depending on their personal preferences. Therefore, it would be unfair to expect the hospitality sector to have a standardized approach.
With the world getting a lot closer, thanks to technology, it is more challenging to keep the human element intact. People love the special treatment and extra perks. Hence why you must also notice the sudden rise in travel discounts and seasonal offers.
Some travel agencies try to build a niche customer base. You might find websites pandering to the needs of young millennials. In fact, it is pretty difficult to balance university schedules and still have fun. However, the human element of hospitality management understands these trends and offers viable solutions.
Travel and storytelling
The travel industry has become more user-friendly, customized, and comprehensive. And with the advent of social media, people now have a platform to share their experiences online. Customer reviews and ratings are a big part of the hospitality industry.
There are numerous review sites where travellers can compare hotel prices, read through reviews, and check ratings. This influences their buying power and decisions. Customer review and social media posts form a huge chunk of any hotel’s branding strategy.
Blogging, vlogging and live streams further enhance the business reputation. The more your brand is featured on people’s social media, the better for your business. It also gives you a platform to respond to feedback and customer complaints.
Social media presence
Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram enjoys enormous traction. A viral post on either of these social media platforms can work wonders for the hotel business. Also, most millennials prefer a personalized account where travellers share their vacation titbits.
This is why there is a sudden rise in social media influencers and travel-blogs on the internet. Some hotel websites also put up these personal testimonials to impress visitors. Instagram hashtags, retweets and Facebook ads are the need of the hour.
These posts inform, raise interest, and influence the industry trends to a large extent. Plus, the hospitality sector also uses AI chatbots and live communication channels to connect better with users.
Tech-savvy and convenience
Technology has usurped almost every aspect of our lives. It has changed the way we commute and communicate. The hospitality sector benefits from the tech-savvy advanced platforms to generate more traffic. AI is a significant aspect of hotel/resort websites, collecting valuable insights for in-depth market research.
Twitter posts, Pinterest boards, Instagram stories and Facebook ads are part and parcel of this tech expansion. There is also an increase in online travel booking, travel agencies and hotel reservations. This saves on time and trouble for both the brand and the customer.
What’s more, the modern traveller prefers this tech-savvy intuitive interface over paperwork transactions. Tech-friendly platforms are also accessible and simplify customer support and service.
Quality over quantity
For the modern-day millennial traveller, the quality of services holds more importance than its traditional appeal. In stark contrast with the yesteryears, today people prefer minimalism and simplicity over extravagance.
The hospitality sector is also a lot more self-reliant than before. People can check-in or book rooms without any external help. You also get the provision of choosing or customizing your room for a better vacationing experience.
Future of travelling
Tourism and hospitality show enormous scope for growth in the upcoming years. Earlier, people wanted family trips to shrines and pilgrimages. Today, we have travel packages leading to every corner of the globe.
Scenic towns, urban cities, lush forests, seaside cliffs and majestic mountains- you’ll find resorts and hotels pretty much everywhere. The recent Covid-19 pandemic brought the hospitality industry to a standstill. However, I see this as a temporary pause. I’d recommend you place your travel plans on hold for now and resume them next year when the situation gets better.
The bottom line
Back in the day, travelling or taking vacations was the domain of the elite. Beachside resorts, mountain cottages, and expensive cruises were very much in vogue. However, all that changed with the advent of the millennial traveller.
The modern-day travellers prefer minimalism over opulence. They want a practical, affordable, yet unique vacation, a far cry from the generic destinations of the yore.