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What Does the Future Look Like for Hospitality? 4 Key Trends


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This article was taken from a live presentation at BDNY 2022.
Featured image from Disney Tourist Blog.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had such a profound impact on the hospitality industry that it’s become a marker of time: We speak about before the pandemic, and after it.

Not only that: For better or worse, it has also changed the industry’s future. We’re seeing a lot of new behaviors come out of the pandemic in terms of how people work, live, and travel that affect travelers’ expectations and how hoteliers cater to them.

Here are 4 hospitality trends we’ve learned about at Boutique Design New York (BDNY) 2022, and questions that hotel owners, designers, and developers must consider to stay competitive.

1 - Newfound Freedom 

Travelers have a more fluid lifestyle, greater flexibility, and the freedom to roam. More and more people are moving away from being anchored in one place.

We’re seeing a lot of the digital nomads, workers who combine leisure and professional travel. There’s a rise in the number of people uprooting themselves from a once-permanent to moving from space to space. There’s a new freedom to live and work anywhere for large chunks of time, because the pandemic has forced many businesses to adapt to virtual working.

How is that affecting the industry? Well, you have to start thinking about design in terms of people in their rooms and how they’re using those spaces. Besides kicking back and relaxing, they’re also going to be working. Many brands that had begun removing desks from a room now have to start rethinking that.

Another manifestation of this trend is the airline subscription service. Starflyer, an airline based in Japan, now enabled travelers to travel unlimited between Tokyo and another coastal city. And this is happening because a lot of people left Tokyo during the pandemic to find more space.

Taking this a step further: In 10-15 years’ time, will we actually stop buying homes or signing 12-month leases, and instead subscribe to a way of living that allows us to be anywhere in the world?

The hospitality industry has been heavily focused on business travel. How will it pivot to meet the needs of tomorrow’s travelers?

2 - The Dawn of a New Reality

Experiences are enhanced through technology.

Personalization as a trend has been around for a really long time and technology has only helped speed this along. 

There are also analog manifestations of this trend. A hotel brand in Amsterdam, for example, that has an art swap in their lobby. It’s an extended stay property that enables you to customize your own space with a whole range of different pieces of artwork to make the space your own.

But what if we dial that up a notch?

We get something like Delta’s parallel reality screens in Detroit airports. These are screens that, depending on where you are standing, shows you something different. This technology allows up to a hundred different people to see custom information using facial recognition.

It really helps to ease some of the burden that travelers usually face in an airport and answers questions like, where’s my baggage? Where’s my next flight arriving from? Where’s the lobby?

What Does the Future Look Like for Hospitality? 4 Key Trends| Fohlio | hospitality brand standards | hospitality brand matrix | parallel reality
Image: Delta

This could be used in hotels for loyal customers, for example. What if this screen was the entrance and immediately greeted people with their name, necessary information, and maybe even their room number so they could go straight up to their space?

What impact will new levels of personalization have on brand recognition and preference?

3 - Experience Reigns

A great bed and a bath is no longer enough to compete.

Instead of drinking alcohol, more and more people are turning to other means of entertainment. With the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, guests are given passenger cabins with a view out into space, instead of just a regular room. At the lounge bar, you can mingle with various different alien creatures.

What Does the Future Look Like for Hospitality? 4 Key Trends| Fohlio | hospitality brand standards | hospitality brand matrix | Gaya

Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

How can our industry evolve to incorporate more engaging experiences, knowing they need to be constantly refreshed to be current?

4 - Principled Hospitality

This is about bringing purpose to travel.

Principled hospitality is really about putting a little bit of heart back into our industry. Beyond sustainability, it’s really about becoming purposeful, mindful, and conscious with our travel. 

An example of this is a spirits company that has banned booking short-term travel. Travel that isn’t pre-planned, and day trips, are no longer allowed. They need to really think about whether the travel is necessary and justify the reasons for it. The reason is not just that short-term travel is expensive, but also because this new policy protects people’s mental health and wellbeing, and really ensuring that there is meaning behind their trips.

Another example is France, which has banned air travel if it can be replaced by rail or bus in under two and a half hours. That’s a bold step to take, all in the name of meeting their CO2 emission targets by 2030. 

How is your hospitality brand catering to these new needs and values?

Featured image from Disney Tourist Blog.

Read the full transcript of this presentation below:

Speaker 1 (00:00):

Now that really requires a, a, a shift of focus to really focus back on the leisure traveler as well as this sort of leisure combination, the, the combination of both personal and business travel. So we're seeing a real shift in that. The other shift that we're seeing is a focus on luxury travel. We're seeing a real shift to, um, a focus on the products, on the brands, I'm sure Megan is, which is why Megan's v i p at the moment at Marriott, um, where we're seeing a real focus on those higher ends, high net worth individuals because they are less likely to be impacted by the cost of living, by the, uh, implications of, of the, uh, environment that we're in. So I wanted to start us out with that. What I'm gonna take you through in the next few slides though, is really about looking beyond those key steps in our journey.

Speaker 1 (00:58):

This is where I like to get my crystal ball out and think a little bit more about the future. And I have four trends that I'd like to share with you all today. The first one is really called you found freedom. This is about how, um, that pleasure travel, that kind of combination of the leisure of, uh, professional travel is, is coming together. We've heard talkers locations and I think what we're seeing a lot of is digital nomad. We're seeing a real rise of people, um, uprooting and not necessarily planting deep roots, but actually moving from space as a space. We, as a, a business at Butterfly, and I look to my colleague that's in the audience, um, are living proof of that. We have a freedom to live and work anywhere in the country for, uh, large chunks of time. And I think you guys have similar rules and abilities.

Speaker 2 (01:54):

Yes, we are in a hybrid model, um, in headquarters, which has allowed people to relocate. They been able to, you know, make your day work for you based on your schedule. So let's really change the way that

Speaker 1 (02:07):

We're working and I think that's inevitably going to impact our industry, right? We, um, need to be thinking a little bit more about the design of people, uh, in their rooms and how they're using those spaces because they are going to be there, you know, kicking back and relaxing. Cause they're probably also gonna be working in those spaces. And a lot of the brands that certainly we've worked on in, in the last few years have actually moved away from putting desks and, and functional things into, into the room. So I think there is a, a need to revisit a lot of those key challenges. What the pandemic, I think has ultimately enabled though, is that organizations have appreciated and that there is no longer a need for people to be locked into an office Monday to Friday, nine to five, and instead are actually providing people with that new foundry.

Speaker 1 (02:58):

And there's a couple of really interesting manifestations of this trend that are happening right now. This is a campaign from, uh, home country, uh, British Airways that, uh, I think we've all been there and we've ticked the box that the reason for our travel is business or leisure, but British Airways has introduced this new campaign that it really celebrates the real reasons for why we travel. Um, lots of quirky, fun different lines here that you can see because the weather sucks. I would say that applies to New York today as well, given the breath temperature, olives the size of my actual fist because I spent five hours taking that passport photo. All great reasons to actually get out and travel.

Speaker 1 (03:39):

Another fascinating example is Star Fire. Anyone heard of Star Fire as an airline? I see a little bit of nodding Star. Fire is an airline that's based in Japan and they announced a recent subscription service, um, just a couple of weeks ago that enables travelers to travel unlimited between Tokyo and another coastal city. As part of that subscription, you can travel as much or as little as you like, but what's really fascinating is it's not just about the travel, it's also about accommodation. So as part of your subscription, you can get access to wherever you are not based a cabinet piece of accommodation at a very reasonable cost of $2,500 a month in order for you to be able to move between those two cities. The reason I think this is really interesting is because a lot of people left Tokyo a capital because during the pandemic, much like in New York, there is a shortage of space.

Speaker 1 (04:47):

People live in small apartments, there's very little to do during the pandemic, and I think we've all grown accustomed to the desire for more space and the need for more space and more comfort. So there's a real kind of opening up of mental health abilities here that you can have what you want and have the kind of the best of both worlds to be able to shift between locations. So if this is what's happening now, we're seeing airlines move into the space with say, interesting shifts in behavior. What if we dial up the launch in terms of what the future might hold? Let's imagine that in 10, 15 years time we actually stop buying posts. We no longer buy apartments. We no longer take out 12 month leases, but actually we subscribe to a way of living a lifestyle subscription that enables us to be anywhere in the world and enables us to really engage in all sorts of new ways of co-creating, collaborating with our customers, our clients, our teams, our colleagues.

Speaker 1 (05:52):

What this might mean, isn't it just about the way that we design living spaces, but imagine companies are likely to have, uh, more satellite offices around the country or around the world to enable their teams to get together. I think we've all learned that yes, there is value in FaceTime, but maybe that FaceTime doesn't need to happen at headquarters. Not everyone wants to go to Bethesda, unfortunately. Um, but there might be other places that people congregate. Maybe people will stop living in one place throughout the year. Maybe people will choose to follow the sun. Maybe people will choose to follow their hobbies and passions and move somewhere colder in order to be able to go skiing in the winter. So lots of really interesting drivers of change. Pass on to another trend. This one is called a New Reality Doors. What this one is really about is, you know, we all consider that personalization is a trend I think we all agree has been around for a pretty long time, but technology is a daunt thing.

Speaker 1 (06:56):

Web three, the Metaverse, um, I promise that's the only time I'm gonna say that word because it's a little bit overused. Um, but it really has opened new doors to the future of travel really. I think as we, um, look at our industry, there's sort of both analog and digital manifestations of how this trend comes to life. This is the hotel brand that was born in Amsterdam called Soukup. They have I think three or four locations across Europe, but great, uh, product really interesting for a number of different reasons. But the reason I've actually flashed it up in front of, uh, you here today is because they have a a, a great way of personalizing, they actually have an art swap in their lobby. So this is an extended stay property that enables you to customize your own space, um, through an art swap. So you go down to the front desk and you can choose, uh, from a whole range of different pieces of artwork to make the space your own, which we all know is so important to create that sense of homeliness, that sense of reality.

Speaker 1 (08:02):

And we all know that that has such a huge impact on our moods, health of our wellbeing. It can really make a big difference in terms of new realities. But what happens if we dial that up a notch? I'm sure some of you have seen this piece of technology that was launched by Delta a couple of months ago. Cats, uh, I believe it's Detroit Airports. Delta has launched what they call their parallel reality screens. Parallel reality is a technology that, um, I won't go too techy, um, but it's effectively different perspectives on a pixel. Um, we've all heard of pixels in in TV screens. Um, what they allow is depending on where you are standing, you actually see something different. And what Delta have done is they've created these screens that allow up to a hundred different people that are registered on their system using facial recognition to display different types of information, really helping to ease some of the burden that I think we've all faced when we've gone into an airport.

Speaker 1 (09:03):

We're panicking because we're running late or because our flight's been delayed and we need to get to our connection. What this does is it allows us to see customized directional information. Where's my baggage playing? Where's my next flight flying from? Where's the lobby if I have a six hour layover wheel that I need to get to?


Really interesting technology that I think could do an awful lot in our industry as well. If we think about loyalty, we think about how, um, that's one of the biggest challenges recognizing those loyal customers. What if this frame was at the entrance and immediately greeted people with their name, with clear information, maybe even had their room numbers so they could go straight up to their space?


Let's start that up a notch. Let's think about this in 15, 20 years in the future. What if you could design the completely customized experience in your room? Think of this's a little bit as if your room was a green wall that became entirely customized based on your preferences. Say we're in New York and I'm here for work, but what I really want to be is be by the beach. Guess what? That window could be a television screen that shows me a view of the beach you could pipe in the noises of waves crashing on the ocean. What if you could customize it based on your own personal preferences in linen? And we are really talking about personalization at optimal U level.

Speaker 1 (10:38):

What if in the lobby, as you enter the sensors pick up that there's a new guest arriving? I can tell from your headphones that now have heart rate sensors that you have a really stressful arrival. What if there was a device in the lobby that emitted fragrance like laven that helped to calm your nerves, that you immediately get that sense of risk money. What if you have a little bit of an argument for the team cause you're maybe not happy with your room? What if the technology kind of immediately picks up on that and is able to play slightly calm music to help wind down the situation? There's so much potential with web three that I'm really excited about the space and what our industry number three experience range. This one I think is really about experience, right? We've all, um, I think love travel because of the new experiences that it offers, but actually what experience is, is so much more than talent.

Speaker 1 (11:48):

It's we, we experience new things every day, even for those of you who are New York base, coming here and seeing a wonderful beauty of why is an experience in its own right. And this has really been enabled by that new freedom to travel. That first trip I shared with you all, we recently did a project working with a major spirits business on the future of socializing. And one of the key trends that we identified was how people are drinking less, less alcohol. And so what they're turning to instead, other ways of entertainment, other primary things that are drawing people in. Sure. You guys recognize a few of these different experiences that are, um, bringing now the foundation, particularly for younger generations, generations, v millennials that are appealing to, uh, young people because they offer a a certain novelty, a certain level of exclusions that they gravitate towards.

Speaker 1 (12:49):

And to some degree, that's hospital happening in hospitality as well, right? With the, um, galactic star crews or at Disney Hotel that has, you know, doesn't have room but passenger cabins with a view out onto space. And you can mingle at the lounge bar with, you know, various different alien creatures. Um, little bit back further back, the, the launch of the TWA hotel at at jfk. You know, these are initial experiences. If we dial that up a notch and look a little bit more to the future, how can we see how some of that web three technology, how do we see how some of those experiences can come to life in our world a little bit more overtly? I think one of the biggest challenges that we'll face is actually keeping that fresh, right? It takes a lot of investment to make sure that we're, we're staying relevant and current in, in our world.

Speaker 1 (13:43):

But imagine in the future that companies like Marriott will have partnerships with the likes of Amazon Prime or Netflix, where you can buy into complete packages that enable you to experience a whole new world. It might go all the way down to the f and b that is available on the property that you can customize and enjoy. It might be that you have different throat cushions that play back that particular experience. It might be that that window suddenly takes a whole new perspective and you might be underground or in the ocean or looking at space. I think again, lots of really interesting stuff that's happening here. Mart playing a little bit here with, with uh, moments. Um, and we'll come on to talk about that in a little bit.


I have one final trend for you and that's principal. Principal Hospitality really is about putting a little bit of heart back into our industry.

Speaker 1 (14:43):

We think about the last few years we have eroded away a lot of stuff that um, I think we were on a really great journey and a really great track in terms of sustainability. But actually this is about so much more than that. It's really about becoming purposeful, mindful, conscious about all sorts of things to make sure that we are traveling with more purpose. I'll give you one example. Um, one of the, the clients that we work with is ggk, uh, global Spirits Business that has recently implemented a new travel policy that actually prevents them from cooking short term travel. So they can't book travel, um, if it isn't pre-planned. They're also not allowed to do day trips. They need to really think about why they are traveling and outline and justify the reason for that, and that's for a number of reasons. One is we know short-term travel is expensive, but actually it's also about protecting people's mental health and wellbeing and really ensuring that there is meaning behind their trips.

Speaker 1 (15:52):

In many ways, this space is a reflection of that more purposeful track. We have this beautiful greenery around us that really does help, um, release those endorphins, makes us more comfortable. But let me talk to you guys about a couple of other examples. The government of France in April of this year ban all air travel. If it can be replaced by rail or bus in under two and a half hours, that's a pretty bold step to take all in the name of meeting their CO2 emission targets by 2030, bringing them back down to the levels from 1990. This is a pretty exciting step and pretty exciting opportunity that no doubt will impact the role of train travel or will impact the role of, uh, other forms of, of travel. And as a result will impact our own industry too. People are traveling for potentially a little bit longer.

Speaker 1 (16:53):

That's what they might spend more nights of hotels take it. But as I said, this is about more than sustainability. This is booking.com who recently launched their travel Proud program that really helps LGBTQ travelers to identify destinations that are safe, that are fully catered to that environment and that crowd and really helps them identify the right places to go beyond just the hotel, but actually pulls together curated programs for them to really get to experience new cities and new environments in fresh ways. But it's not just about the guest yet, it's also about the industry itself and providing that necessary training to help those of us on the ground to engage with this audience in the right way.

Speaker 1 (17:42):

Time to dial it forward. Again, what if in the future we're creating more symbiotic relationship between guests, hotel, and our communities that we're serving? What if we're engaging more with, uh, grassroots organizations that are in our community? What if we're really thinking about the ingredients in our f b offering, leveraging more of that local ingredient conversation in everything we be doing, transparently sharing CO2 emissions that are, uh, being put out by your nightly stay. What if you could see that from moment of booking that here's what you're gonna spend in terms of CO2 emissions on your travel. Here's what it's gonna be in terms of your stay, here's what it might be in terms of the number of Ubers you're gonna be taking. And maybe here are some suggestions in terms of how you can bring that down without necessarily just offsetting, which we all know is kind of paying lip service. How do we take that to

Speaker 3 (18:42):

The next level?

Speaker 1 (18:44):

So let me summarize four key trends. You found freedom really about more fluid lifestyles, moving away from being anchored

Speaker 3 (18:54):

In one place,

Speaker 1 (18:56):

A new reality goals, fancy experiences through technology

Speaker 3 (19:02):

Experience, rains, range, experience reigns, uh, being about how actually just a good old dead and bath. Maybe bring in a little bit more excitement into experiences. I'm principled hospitality, which is about bringing purpose to attract. I wanna bring in Megan at this stage to the conversation and ask you first of all, which of these are you most excited about? So it's a little hard to

Speaker 4 (19:32):

Cheat cause I would say that right now it's a very exciting time to be in the hospitality industry. But if I had to pick one, I would say inbound freedom. Um, as you mentioned earlier, we've seen the rise of leisure, things like that. And I think the flexibility that many people now have in terms of how they live their day to day lives presents a really great opportunity for travel and hospitality. Um, you know, I've taken advantage of leisure travel. I'm actually doing that this week. I'm here for this conference, but plan to stay next day. Um, if you could just nice opportunity for us to see more consumers wanting to, um, integrate some personal time into their business trips and therefore can travel a bit more. Um, and I think we've really be big on this trend as well. Um, some of you may have seen the announcement that came out last week. We were introducing a new brand apartments by Maria Bonvoy, which is a new extended stay brand that will be in the US and Canada. These are apartment style accommodations, so that gives the additional space that many travelers are looking for when they aren't blending personal and work in single space. So we're very excited about that. Um, and I think that that's a trend that's really going to change the way the hospitality industry was moving forward.

Speaker 3 (20:48):

What do you think would be the biggest barrier for our industry to, I guess, meet the needs of that leisure traveler?

Speaker 4 (20:55):

It's getting it right. It's, I think it's a little bit of the personalization as well, right? So your trip needs are going to vary pretty significantly depending upon what the purpose of that trip is. And so can that property, um, whether it's a hotel, whether it's left to apartment sale or shortterm rental, can it accommodate your needs? And how well do you understand what that guest is going to need on a given trip? Um, because it's going to change whether it, you know, you're traveling for a family vacation or if you are going on a work trip or bringing some of your family members along with you. Like your needs will be very different across those different trips. And so we need to understand how that varies, right? Make sure that we have the right offering for, for our guests.

Speaker 3 (21:38):

Let's, let's talk about some of those needs where in a room full of design centered individuals, um, what are some of the things that are showing up in, in your data in terms of key needs of this type topic?

Speaker 4 (21:51):

Sure. Um, so I would say flexibility of space is a big one, right? So you can have the workspace in the room, but is there a way to move the desk out of the way if you don't need it? Um, maybe you're working one day and not the other once some additional space in the room. So how flexible is the room space? Um, is it set up so that you can work comfortably, sleep comfortably and feel like you've got those zones kind of in the room? Right? Um, I think that that's important. And um, just also being able to relax. Like you don't want the room to feel like, okay, I spent all day working here. I might have found out and enjoyed some things in the local area and then I'm coming back and I want to unwind and relax and so how do we meet those needs as well?

Speaker 3 (22:35):

Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. I think one of the, the brands I flashed up was Zuku and what they do, they're also, as I mentioned, an extended staple team. I think, um, so many of our rooms are centered around the bed. What they do is they send to the experience around the central kitchen table, which I think is such a unique approach. Yes. Um, the band is actually lofted and, and kind of hidden away in in their space. Do you see other kind of key shifts in, in how the, the layout of the room needs to evolve?

Speaker 4 (23:04):

Yeah, I mean I think that's a great one. It's kind of like not making the bed the central area. Cause I think you're also spending a bit more time in the room too. So like where's the gathering space? Like do you have a little bit or a corner where you can kinda sit comfort and enjoy watching a TV show, reading a book, having a cup of coffee. And so I think the zoning of the rooms is really what we'll see moving into the future too, and making sure that you've got the spaces within a stay over room that kind of serve their own purpose and give the guests the opportunity to kind of fit into the zone that meet their needs at that time.

Speaker 3 (23:38):

Love that. That's great. Let's talk a little bit about experience rates and how that is potentially shifting, um, in, in our industry. We saw some, some examples up on the screen. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, tell me what, what are you most excited about in, in this space and what, what speaks to you?

Speaker 4 (23:57):

I think that coming out of the pandemic there is this renewed importance in the experienced collectors and we're seeing that across all demographics, but particularly among younger travelers. Um, and their spending power is increasing, so it's really important for them to get out there, try new things and collect these new experiences. When you think back to when we were in the period of lockdown and you were totally restricted from being able to get out of your home and try new things coming out of that, I think there's just this new grounding of how important it's to get out and do things, experience new things, go travel to new places, um, try new restaurants and things like that. And so I think that that will certainly fuel a lot of increased travel moving forward, and I think that's a trend that we can expect to see stick as well. Um, one of our offerings is supporting this trend as well. It's, um, moments by Mary Bonk, which gives our members access to, uh, exclusive and curated events. So they can either redeem their points for, or they can actually auction their points and it has everything from sporting events, um, like feet and greet, supporting events, culinary events, um, concerts, things like that. And so that's a way that we're providing that benefit for our members as well so that they can get out there and try new things.

Speaker 3 (25:15):

Love that. I think that's a really interesting additional service offering. How much do the properties pay for delivering on those moments experie?

Speaker 4 (25:27):

Um, very critical because when you arrive at a hook home, you might be in a place where a new for, for the first time and you're not sure exactly where to go. You might do some research ahead of time and kind of have an idea, but I, I personally am always craving like, the entire knowledge. Like where, where do you like to go? Like, I looked at things online, but where would you recommend? And so having our own property and teams, um, you know, be that voice to, to give them recommendations on where to go, when to try, um, we try to arm them with some resources as well so that they can make those recommendations.

Speaker 3 (25:58):

Love that. One of the, the challenges that I mentioned during the presentation was, um, how do we make sure that we stay currently stay relevant for these experiences? Any thoughts on that?

Speaker 4 (26:10):

Um, I think that that local knowledge, right? So knowing like, hey, this new coffee shop just popped up, it's a great place to try and just, you know, being the, keeping a pulse happening character, um, and that we're able to get recommendations that are pretty relevant, exciting things that people want to try and experience.

Speaker 3 (26:30):

Thank you so much Megan. Um, we have maybe a chance for one or two questions from the audience if anyone would like to, to ask us two questions. Let me get a mic. So considering web three, um, how do you, you know, pretend since.


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Published Jan 22, 2023