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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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.