Tourism Trends Affecting Hotels

By Susan Tinnish Business Strategist, Independent Consultant | 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 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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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.