We can all bear witness to the significant impact that the pandemic and resulting safety measures have had on the hospitality industry. We live with the results every day and can expect to feel the effects this year and beyond. Meanwhile, increased consumer awareness of all things wellness and spa-related has new benchmarks. Here are six hospitality business trends that are shaping the future and that you need to be aware of:
#1 – Staycations
Travel restrictions in 2020 facilitated the rise of the staycation. With air travel still not as popular as before, 2021 vacationers may still be choosing to stay closer to home for environmental or budgeting reasons. Facilities that create unique and exciting ideas to generate business and ensure that their staff can provide an elevated experience will gain the lion’s share of local business.
#2 – Digitalized Guest Experiences & Contactless Technology
Apps are increasingly important and can now control many aspects of the guest experience.
The trend towards digital and contactless services has gained new momentum in 2021. Traditionally, customer-facing services are being given an overhaul, thanks to the more widespread use of technology-assisted options, such as mobile check-in, contactless payments, voice control, and biometrics.
Unfortunately, these upgrades may be costly to install and maintain. However, if you want to stay ahead of the curve, we recommend you dig deep and make the investment as more customers are demanding these perks.
#3 – Experience Economy & Essentialism
Customers request extreme personalization and unique experiences.
Travelers are pivoting away from flashy displays of wealth, preferring instead to spend wisely, purposefully, and make a positive impact on the world. Unique experiences that give back to local communities in meaningful ways are in demand, as are more interactions with local entertainment and eateries, niche properties, adventurous holidays, and relaxation retreats.
#4 – Generations X and Y
These new generations have different requirements and needs compared to older generations. The thought is that “Older generations think about hotels and car rentals. Younger generations think about Airbnb and Uber.” The tendency to show less loyalty to brands that don’t deliver should be a wake-up call. The hospitality industry needs to re-evaluate its offerings to ensure a level of products and service that appeal to these up-and-coming markets.
#5 – Virtual & Augmented Reality
Recognizing the need for visually appealing content, competitive players in hospitality are capitalizing on features such as virtual tours, conjuring up a digital environment for consumers to picture themselves in. Videos providing 360-degree views of restaurant ambiance, spa retail stores, sweet little café terraces enveloped in greenery, or hotel beachfront locations, are just the ticket to make an establishment stand out this year.
#6 – Sustainability
People are becoming increasingly sensitive to environmental and social issues.
Avoiding disposable plastics, eliminating unnecessary paper consumption, and reducing food waste, are considerations that are shaping decisions made at the C-suite management level. The wrong choices can be catastrophic to your business growth.
Business changes are moving rapidly. It may be time to rethink your strategy for 2021 and beyond. To think that hospitality business trends that are shaping the future will not impact you, could be a major oversight on your part.
Linda Harding-Bond is a Global Spa Retail Trainer & Consultant.
Based on an article by EHL Insights
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