Top 6 Luxury Hospitality Trends we’ll see in 2017

As we look forward to the evolution of hospitality in 2017, we analyse the top 6 luxury hospitality trends.

Experiences are beyond the hotel itself:

In the past years, we have seen a trend where wealthy guests expect the unexpectable. A luxurious stay in a 5 – star hotel is often linked to a great experiential offering. The question is, how can these hotels stand out from the rest?

Man feeling freedom on open sea

“There is strong interest in exploring new things including sampling local culture in unconventional destinations, well-being both of mind and body and an increasing awareness of the environmental footprint and ethical issues associated with travel. All this is set in the context of people’s adoption of technology and their expectations of how it will enhance the overall travel experience.

Tim Jackson, Writer and contributor for Positive Luxury’s Luxury Travel Industry Report

We can see a tendency into “lean luxury”, which is about the new offering, doing away with the excess of what we used to think luxury used to be. Lean luxury means offering travellers a more authentic, genuine luxury experience that detaches the concept to conspicuous wealth.

Embracing technology:

From smartphone digital keys to introducing “Alexa” in your hotel room, any luxury hotel needs to be at the forefront of new tech for hospitality. One of the primary reasons for this fast involvement with tech is the arrival of the Millennial generation in luxury hospitality. Millennials are disruptive and continue to drive the digital force while influencing the way businesses operate. They value authenticity, collaboration and participation, and this ‘always connected’ generation like to share their experiences and contribute to a community. As such, brands have to connect with and facilitate them in a different way. One key focus is on building relationships and building trust through making emotional connections. Millennials look for experiences that lead into self-discovery and that allow them to create a sense of their own identity.

Mobile first

Developments in technology and their adoption by consumers have transformed the ways in which people are informed and make decisions about travel locations and opportunities. Sort of related to the point above, this type of guests are known as “mobile-first” travel consumers. These travellers they not only use their mobile devices to research and book hotels, they also employ them to solve any problems they encounter when travelling. This includes communicating with hotels, transfers, change travel plans, submit feedback and share their experiences (hopefully positively) on social media with their network.   

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As the travel report ‘What’s shaking up the travel industry’ from Positive Luxury states, the smartphone has become the traveller’s best friend hosting an array of travel Apps, together with functional capabilities including GPS maps and language translation. Working in the principle that when something is shared it becomes great, the instinctive desire of most people to share memories of their experiences adds to the richness of the modern travel narrative.

Local Wellness

Vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, superfood, low-cal, yoga, meditation, pilates – these trends are the proof that hospitality customers are becoming more and more conscious about their health.

Some hospitality businesses are seeing this trend as an opportunity to reshape their offering and attract this clientele. In addition, guests often value that this ‘healthy initiatives’ are driven by local businesses. Luxury hospitality guests tend to appreciate that the experience they are receiving is unique to the place where they are. Tasting menus with food sourced from the local market, yoga in India with a local teacher, or staying in a local house for dinner with a Japanese family could be some of the examples.

To give travellers the local experience they crave, hotel spas are using their surroundings as inspiration. For example, the St. Regis Bali blends indigenous cultures and local ingredients like coconuts and seaweed into spa services. Other Starwood properties offer similar spa treatments, as well as local products Tahiti or Fiji.

Become part of the community

When we look at targeting the higher part of the society to our hotels or restaurants, the product or service may not be enough to make them choose your brand before someone else’s. Something that the human being has always had is the need to be part of a community. Thus, hotels are including membership options that make their clientele feel they belong to that specific “world”. One of our favourite programmes is Soho house. At the same time, it is essential not to fall into the obsolete concept of loyalty programmes, which often become overwhelming and boring.

Back to hospitality’s roots

It can be easy to forget that, at the heart of it all, the hospitality industry is about people. The basics of hospitality are often compromised to make room for innovation and newest technology. However, that innovation can be useless when the service delivered is not according to the standards. Employees need to be empowered and understand the level of commitment that your brand wants to deliver to their luxury customers.

By Verb Brands

Verb is a digital performance agency for luxury, fashion and hospitality brands. We create digital experiences that drive meaningful engagements: verbbrands.com

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