The hospitality industry is continuously evolving. These top trends can keep you in the loop and thinking outside the box.
1. Co-living spaces – the new hotel?
We all know Airbnb, the alternative to hotels. Now some hotel chains are offering their own version of alternative through shared co-living spaces where visitors can choose the level of privacy or community they want to experience.
AccorHotels’ new brand Jo&Joe for instance has created a new ‘open house’ category of accommodation for neighbours and travellers alike.
This includes collaborative kitchens, a bar for locals and guests, a ‘happy house’ area creating a ‘home-like’ experience and even dormitory-style bedrooms if desired. The brand is also offering out-of-the-ordinary (known as OOO!) accommodation types like mud huts and beach shacks.
Time will tell whether this approach takes off, but it does cater to a market of travellers who want a different experience to the hotel stay.
2. Not just accommodation
Travellers typically chose two basic options when taking a trip overseas – a group tour or independent travel. Today the pre-packaged tour concept is on its way out and hoteliers are arranging custom tour options to attract more travellers instead.
Airbnb is heading in this direction. Last year they launched ‘Trips’ (tours and activities) and ‘Places’ (meetups and event suggestions), and have hinted at soon introducing new services like restaurant bookings and grocery deliveries through the app. Trips does unusual experiences off the beaten track.
Hotel services are also evolving. The AccorHotels brand Onefinestay.com for instance has partnered with Context Travel to offer local experiences. Others include the Peninsular Hotel’s red-carpet photo shoots and Four Seasons Hotels where guests can experience helicopter rides and private jet experiences.
3. Greater flexibility around accommodation pricing
Competition is fierce and travellers can compare prices at the click of a button. Hotels that can adjust to the market quickly and adjust their prices at the drop of a hat are staying ahead of the curve.
4. Smart hotel technology
Features like streamed in-room entertainment and smartphone apps controlling electricals are taking technology to a new level. Location-based technology lets hoteliers track guests and offer personalised service. Geolocation technology points guests to venues they might like most while they’re out and about.
Smart technology shouldn’t cancel out human interaction. AccorHotels’ Jo&Joe is developing mobile apps that enable customers to connect and interact.
5. Fast ‘fine’ food
Most people like fast food, but Maccas and fish-n-chips aren’t the only choices. The latest fast-food trends include gourmet pizzas, ultra-fresh sushi, pre-made delivered dinners, chef-endorsed meals and options catering to special diets like paleo and gluten free.
Examples of fast fine-dining include Saké Jr in Sydney and Melbourne where you can ‘build your own bowl’, ‘Grab & Go’ Japanese food menus, and Fonda Mexican in Melbourne where you can find quick and healthy street-food all made from scratch.
6. More healthy food options
Vegetarian and vegan menus aren’t as niche as they were and clean eating espousing less processed foods is a buzz word in the industry. The most successful restaurants are catering to this market on their menus.
7. Big data
Collecting data is the thing to do, but translating it into solutions is what counts. Access to relevant data can enable hospitality brands to package personalised experiences based on guest preferences and behaviours.
Event planners use data to create stand-out events and experiences through software like Bizzabo and Cvent which provide real-time data as it comes in. This allows them to make decisions off the latest information and create service tailored to the customer.
It’s a universal truth that everything is constantly shifting. Hospitality is no exception and apps and smart technology are just two things transforming the way hospitality works in the 21st century.
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