The Cornell Center for Hospitality Research recently identified quite a few global trends that are reshaping international travel and directly impacting the hospitality industry. They include:
The newest and fastest customer base is demanding more for their money. Millennials are tech savvy and looking for a more emotional connection and interaction with the hospitality and tourism services they patronize. Since technology is a part of their DNA, they are active on social media sites. Be prepared for both praises and complaints! Other sets of consumer groups include culture buffs, LGBT and multi-generational travelers who are also seeking unique and novel experiences.
Travel in the age of political strife
Terrorism has made a lot of people nervous about traveling globally for business or pleasure. Citizens are now openly challenging their governments, leading to political unrests, and even war in some countries. And this threat does not seem to be dissipating in Europe or the States. Simply put, the inherent danger can’t be ignored. Whether it’s ethnic or religious or socio-economic tensions, all this is hampering tourism and the hospitality industry from doing what they do best—show vacationers and travelers a good time.
Income inequality in inflated times
Unsurprisingly, we note the rise in 1% of rich Americans, while the rest of the working middle class in America still continue to struggle. Asia continues to get further and further behind, while people still struggle with their debt. So when there’s no money, how can can one afford to even go on a small vacation? That’s why inequality ranks high as a must-watch trend to affect the hospitality industry.
Being in charge of personal health
Technology is now an integral part of one’s health. Wellness apps and telehealth (remote consultation) are making it easier for consumers to feel more empowered, enabling them to take greater control of their health.
Technology and the traveler
In this digital age, connectivity is key. Tech savvy travelers are dependent on their mobile devices and geo-location software for planning their vacation or travel. From booking eTickets and hotels to mobile check-ins to free WiFi connectivity, innovative technologies have brought to life digital concierge services. Technology and smartphones have made it essential for the hospitality industry to pay close attention to user experience and whole guest satisfaction.
Customers love to patronize services that embrace eco-friendly practices. There is a rise in hotels adopting a “green policy” as travelers expect hotels to have some type of environmental program in place. So guests don’t mind paying extra for eco-features. There is more awareness these days about shortages of natural resources like water, oil and power, which in turn lead to price increases, volatility and even shortages.
Changing economy in the digital world
Smarter business models including peer-to-peer networks life Airbnb, Uber, and Lyft, multi-sided platforms such as Google and eBay, or free business models such as Skype and Flickr are greatly influencing the way business is done. As this get more popular, they are sure to challenge and directly compete with traditional travel services.
The global traveler
The global market for skilled and trained employees is growing. American and European passport holders have a lot of travel accessibility to other countries, while others don’t. In this age when the globe is shrinking thanks to technology, making travel more legal accessible via easy availability of visas is key to growth in international tourism
Less staff requirements
Technology is taking the place of human beings when it comes to providing services to travelers. One can book airline tickets and hotel stay without a travel agent. Check-in via mobile devices. The hospitality industry is closely studying this trend on how guests prefer their mobile devices to communicating with an actual staff member. For instance, a ‘help yourself’ model will focus on technology to drive service.
New travel markets
Economy the world over is taking its own sweet time to recover and this is directly impacting the hospitality industry. Even China has slowed down. For now, it looks like the American economy is the only one to be doing considerable well. When it comes to new and emerging travel markets, South and East Asia as well as Africa seems to be a strong bet. (image via Shutterstock)