As feelings of travel guilt increase among consumers, travel and hospitality brands face a great opportunity to rethink their offers. One of the trends defining travel and hospitality in 2020 and beyond, is the new luxury consumer requiring a shift from wasteful extras.
Increasing guests’ digital experiences from the comfort of their mobile devices will become a more featured experience in 2020. From mobile check-ins with key access on phones, the internet of things (IoT) is set to get more high-tech. Changing thermostat temperatures, ordering room service and booking treatments from an app rather than calling reception are all on the agenda for 2020. Hyper-personalised rooms with ‘changing’ interiors where guests can choose what’s inside it, will be increased, too according to IHG research. IoT will be used with staff as well, and F&B equipment will become more high-tech.
“The percentage of travellers who tell us they've made a purchase decision in the past 12 months based at least in part on their perceptions of a travel service provider's environmental policies, increased from eight percent last year to 13 percent this year,” said Chris Davidson, of MMGY Global, who produced the Portrait of American Travelers. Yet fewer than half of the hotels with sustainability policies post this information on their website, according to The Green Lodging.
Cutting single-use plastic will be high on the environmental radar for hotels from drinks bottles to toiletries. Bars of shampoo alongside soap will make more appearances to cut plastic bottles out of hotel bathrooms altogether. Other initiatives for 2020 are digital hotel compendiums rather than paper ones, a small recycling bin in hotel rooms along with regular bins, hotel sheets with a mix of recycled plastic and cotton, water-saving initiatives and sustainable F&B equipment. Chains such as Accor have embraced their own Planet 21 scheme which promises to ‘plant for the planet’ and use ‘eco designs’ in its hotels.
According to the 2019 Portrait of American Travelers, more travellers are in search of street food and food vans using portable F&B equipment rather than Michelin-starred restaurants. They want to be immersed in the local culture and, as cited by Skift in its Affluent Traveler Survey, 67 percent of high-income travellers are looking for experiences rather than in-room luxuries.
Hotels can enhance that guest experience and make extra revenue with live demo cooking stations featuring renowned chefs. Using Deson’s Live Cooking Stations, in-house cooking classes can also be added to the menu, focusing on local cuisine using sustainable F&B equipment with Deson’s Foldable Line 3 cooking station. All this can be done outside, on a terrace or even in a banqueting room with some forward planning.
Digital workers and business people should expect to see more co-working spaces in 2020. Gone are the days when a hotel room or lobby were sufficient for workers. With digital nomads and the gig economy making up 25 percent of the US workforce, hotels catering to them will be on the rise. Accor has launched its own coworking brand, Wojo, which aims to have 50 coworking sites across Europe by 2022.
With more than one tenth of the world’s population on Instagram (one billion-plus users), creating space for photo-snapping moments has never been more vital. Hoteliers are embracing photo-dedicated areas such as ‘false gardens’ with artificial flowers, benches and flower-strewn arches or vintage lobbies with shabby-chic furniture for guests to post their photos on social media. Marketing-savvy hotels will be creating outdoor photogenic areas to woo passers-by to post pictures online with the hotel logo clearly in shot.
Quick social media breakdown, according to Hootsuite:
Instagram (global users)
It’s not enough to just be a luxury hotel anymore, not with grand Airbnb accommodation on the rise. Guests want to feel connected, inspired or enlightened by their hotel choice.
In 2020 expect hotels to be telling engaging stories about inspirational local figures, weird and wonderful tales from times gone by or the quirky history of the building. Stories online or placed in hotel rooms or on menus link guests to the hotel and if written well, become a well-told story, to retell others.
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