What will travel look like in the months to come? Will the Great American Road Trip be the preferred mode of travel? Will the cruise industry ever regain its momentum? Will hotels cater to the “bleisure” travel market?
According to G Adventures, pioneers of community tourism, some of the top travel tends include:
* Community tourism equals responsible travel.
* Travelers care more about supporting local people.
* Workations increasing in popularity.
* Hostels set to make a big comeback.
* Desire to disconnect from devices.
* Having a bit more cash to splash.
From a rise in remote workers utilizing leisure travel to ready-to-drink beverages along with an uptick in global travel, the following hospitality experts opine on the changing face of travel.
Tom Santora, Managing Director of Hotel Vin
- WFH (Work From Hotel) – With many companies opting to work remotely indefinitely, Santora believes that many will take advantage of this perk and use the opportunity to travel. His prediction is that hotels will continue offering packages including free wi-fi and conference room usage to meet of the need of business travelers. Santora also believes that families and couples will take business travel opportunities and turn them into vacations everyone can enjoy.
- Destination: Hotel – In previous years, many viewed hotels as simply a place to sleep at night during a vacation. Going forward travelers will flock to trendy hotels rather than focusing on the geographical destination. With this trend, he predicts that many properties will offer experiential packages that were previously only available at resorts. Hotel Vin currently offers glass tastings at Bacchus Kitchen + Bar, the hotel’s on-site restaurant, as well as exclusive classes and events with wineries and distilleries in the area.
- Clean It Like You Mean It – Santora predicts that hotels will remain as vigilant as ever with their cleaning practices. Everything from hand sanitizing stations, rooms being sealed after cleanings and amenities like remotes being wrapped in plastic will likely be here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Philip Bates, CEO and Co-Founder of TMC Hospitality
- Increased Demand for Localized Experiences – The pandemic has taught us to better appreciate the small things, which will lead people to seek out ways to get to know and experience the cities to which they are traveling. Any locals-only type of offering will have appeal. For example, at our new Drift San José del Cabo, we are offering a mezcal bar developed in partnership with Mezcal Exiliado and a local taco truck accompanied by live music in the courtyard.
- Uptick In Social Group Travel – People are eager to travel with others. Whether it’s friends, family or colleagues, we are all valuing time with those in our lives more and this will drive social group travel to hotels like ours as well as to products like Airbnb and other alternative lodging options.
- Increase in “Bleisure” Travel – People are looking forward to getting out more and will increasingly mix work trips with leisure trips. Taking extra time to see friends and family, explore cities and work remotely will all play a big role in “bleisure” demand. Hotels that offer extended stay rates, spaces and co-working areas will benefit from this trend.
Dana Pellicano, Vice President, Food + Beverage, Global Operations at Marriott International
- Reinvented In-Room Dining: The pandemic provided an opportunity for a room service redo. Over the course of the last year, room service revenue far exceeded budgets and overtook restaurants and lounges as the top revenue generating outlet. At Marriott International, we started reinventing room service five years ago. The pandemic accelerated this adoption, and dozens more hotels migrated to this new room service format last year, offering food that boxes and travels well at prices more commensurate with today’s customer expectations.
- Mobile Dining is Here to Stay: Within food and beverage it’s mobile dining that really enjoyed a pandemic boom, as restaurant customers across the country were forced to master the use of QR code technology and mobile. For those that worry that mobile ordering will usher in lower check averages due to the inability to up-sell, take note: mobile dining checks are traditionally 20% higher than traditional checks. Turns out the allure of a side of fries or a scoop of ice cream remains irresistible in any format.
- Continued Rise of RTD Beverages: Driven largely by the same trend that saw consumers comforted by eating in their room, Ready-To-Drink (RTD) beverages offer a hermetically sealed solution to the crafted cocktail, often by a familiar endorsed brand. Equally compelling: many use high quality ingredients to reasonably replicate a great bar experience, minus the garnish and fresh ice.
Lior Sekler, VP of Revenue Management at HRI Hospitality
- Social Content Matters: The increase of disposable spend within the younger generation is impacting search and interest in travel, as they’re looking for unique experiences, interesting new destinations and “Instagrammable” content to share on social. Research shows a more than 20% increase in bookings by those influenced by social media content.
- Higher Spending: In 2021, the US experienced the strongest consumer spending growth in 70 years, totaling 8% growth. This expenditure purge is expected to continue into 2022, as consumer wealth is at record levels and they are eager and ready to spend money.
- International vs. Domestic: Americans who vacationed within the US over the last couple of years will return to exploring international destinations once restrictions are lifted, and in return, the US will hopefully see a significant increase in international travelers within the states. Gateway cities like NYC, LA, Chicago will see the first significant signs but other unique destination like southern tours will also begin.