Luxury Travel Trends Forecast for 2017

By Lorraine Abelow Founder & President, Abelow PR | November 27, 2016

The travel industry is on the rise and expected to reach $375 billion next year, which will undoubtedly affect the hotel market. This growth is due to an increasing number of Millennials and Baby Boomers choosing to travel and booming economies in China, Russia and Korea. These developments are impacting the hospitality industry, in a significant way, particularly in North America. Hotels in the U.S. need to respond to this healthy upturn by targeting luxury travelers through public relations. Here you’ll find travel trends expected to flourish in 2017, which is crucial to know when acclimating to this new climate.

  1. Hotel Spas - Messaging Comfort and Local Mystery Into One

    More and more people are choosing hotels that have spas. The more diverse
    the spa offering, the better. The Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans has an
    especially intriguing spa option that takes advantage of the city’s highly
    recognizable, mesmerizing culture: Voo Doo Ritual

    A smart marketing technique, the name alone evokes the spiritual folkways
    that New Orleans is known for. The message is a locally crafted herbal
    poultice ritual that incorporates various ingredients found in the French
    Quarter—moss, cypress, vetiver, incense and absinthe — “casting a spell” of
    utter relaxation on the tourist.

  2. "Bling and Go" Discovery - On the Rise as “Bling-Bling” Experience Wanes

    "Bling-bling" luxury was a highly popular trend that pampered travelers by
    offering experiences revolving solely around comfort. While it was hot for
    quite some time, “bling-bling” has seen a significant decline in recent
    years. But, we’re seeing a chance emerging, and project it will continue
    into 2017.

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Coming up in April 2018...

Guest Service: Empowering People

Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.