Tourism Trends Affecting Hotels

By Susan Tinnish Advisory Group Chair, Vistage | June 14, 2015

The way people travel is changing. This article examines some of the travel and tourism trends and discusses the impact on hotels. It provides some fodder to hotels to adapt and understand the mindset of the consumer and reconsider ways to satisfy their needs.

These changes will add to the hotel industry current efforts to respond to new customer demands, increasing reliance on technology (by customers, in hotel marketing, and within hotel operations).

The article examines five trends: the proliferation of leisure tourism categories, customization, local experiences, new ways of connecting with consumers, and consumer expectations around immersive marketing experiences and choices.

Leisure Tourism Categories Proliferate

Millennial travelers, especially those aged 18 to 34 years, have a stronger desire to travel than their older counterparts, according to a Hotwire.com survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults. And 70 percent of these younger adults are more likely to have budgeted money for annual travel than those ages 45 and over (Satchell, 2015). A common way to classify travelers is in categories of leisure and business traveler. Yet the needs and interests of the leisure traveler have proliferated – especially in different generations. Consider these newer categories in tourism:

Culinary Tourism

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.