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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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.