Travel TrendsOne thing's for sure: cookie-cutter companies will struggle to connect and survive in the future.

These are the new developments shaping the hospitality world

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While automation, digitalisation, enhance interactions at a more personalised level, hotels will always be about people.
While automation, digitalisation, enhance interactions at a more personalised level, hotels will always be about people. Photo Credit: Getty Images/macniak

Covid-19 has changed how and why we travel, accelerated previously stagnant ideas forward, and created some never-before-seen hospitality trends.

Suddenly, hotel companies had to innovate in design, technology and customer preferences, turning 2021 into the year of pent-up travel demand — and how the hospitality sector adapted.

One thing's for sure: cookie-cutter companies will struggle to connect with customers and survive in the future. Personality will now radiate through the property, staff, and online footprint.

AI and automation will continue its adoption globally, as the industry seeks to reduce operational costs without skimping on service. Think virtual assistants, chatBots, robots, streaming platforms, keyless entries. Big data and technology have also been more integral than ever to leverage on customer data, so as to create customised offerings for guests.

Experiences have gone on an overdrive, with many hotels seeking to differentiate their brand by offering something unique in design, layout or service, also diving deep into a locale's DNA, and catering to societal trends. Think lifestyle properties by major hotel chains, such as from Moxy to 25 Hours, Canopy to Cosi, Voco to Vib.

Bleisure travel is also a keyword, since remote working is now commonplace in many organisations and looks to be more than a passing trend. According to a December 2021 MICE study by Great Hotels of the World, groups will look to hotels who can provide exciting team-building, entertainment and outdoor itineraries to reconnect, recharge. Hotels are also doubling as offices for bleisure travellers, or locals seeking a change in environment.

With a generation of travellers who are more aware of how transportation and over-tourism are harming the destinations they love, sustainability will continue to be baked into hotel's business models, with social consciousness at the core of their brand propositions.

On a similar thread, health and wellbeing will continue to take precedence in a post-pandemic environment, say hospitality management university Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne. Alongside stringent health measures to protect individuals from the virus, the wellness sector will continue to see high demand to heal the mind, body and soul through holistic hospitality.

Hotels will always be about people. And while automation and digitalisation enhance interactions at a more personalised level, nailing that balance will be the difference between a hotel that waits by the sidelines — or the hotel that is out there dunking in the goals.

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