The future of luxury accommodationRight now, BMIHMS Researcher Anita Manfreda is witnessing a big shift in the luxury accommodation industry.
Consumer ideas and demographics in the hospitality industry are changing, alongside developments in the technological, environmental and cultural landscape.
“The future of luxury will be transformative experiences,” she explained.“The concept of ‘luxury’ has moved away from material possession and has become experiential. This means that in the future luxury accommodation will not only be required to provide excellent facilities and exceptional service, but truly unique, authentic and transformative experiences,” Anita added.
This shifts the focus of luxury away from the ostentatious or expensive, but onto experiences that are meaningful for each individual.
“Learning, deep human connection, exclusive access to untouched places and diverse destinations will be more valuable for guests than crystal chandeliers, marble, and silver trays,” said Anita.
“I also believe the changed nature of luxury, particularly in non-traditional and small accommodation, has the ability to become a catalyst for regenerative travel, which aims to be not only sustainable but also provide a positive impact on destinations and local communities. This ‘giving back’ philosophy can really make a difference, particularly for regional tourism destinations and sensitive environments and communities.”
Aside from authenticity and sustainability in luxury guest experiences, one of the topics that Anita explores in her research is diversity in accommodation.
This field is increasingly important, she explains why; “Twenty-five years ago a standardised and consistent hotel offering was desirable. Now, guests want their individuality to be recognised. The hotel product therefore needs to provide value that matches individual preferences. This is even more important in luxury accommodation, where personal recognition and ‘feeling special’ are such important parts of the guest experience.”
The move towards diverse offerings allows hotel brands reach untapped pockets of the market.
“This is a trend you see already happening in the industry, where traditional hotel chains are now diversifying their brands and creating a multitude of ‘soft brands’ or ‘collections’ capable of appealing to a more ‘niche’ guest market.”
As someone who has a foot in both industry and academia, Anita sees it as her role to understand, analyse and then collaborate with industry about what these changes mean for them.
She’s researching and writing about these trends in order to support hospitality businesses to adapt, evolve and ultimately provide better service with a more positive impact.
“My previous experience and the fact that I am still highly involved with the industry puts me in an advantageous position. I can deeply understand and empathise with the problems, challenges and trends occurring in the industry. Particularly after COVID-19, guests are more than ever realising the important role that tourism, travel and hospitality plays in their lives.”
The industry will need to quickly readjust the way they do things to respond to this amplified desire for more authentic experiences.
“I hope that particularly post-COVID, the research I am currently doing can lead to a set of best practices and tools the industry can use to design, manage and create experiences that are more meaningful for guests,” she explained.
What does Anita see in store for the future of the industry, and what about that future does she find particularly exciting?“What excites me about the future of hospitality management is really the opportunity that people working in it have to positively change people’s lives. It might sound like a small thing but having the ability to make someone feel better and, in some cases, transform their lives is a very powerful tool,” she concluded.
“With this in mind now more than ever, after having experienced two very disruptive years, the possibilities of reinventing the industry in a more sustainable way are endless.”
Click here for more insight from Anita on authenticity and luxury accommodation, and here for more information on the Master of International Hotel Management at BMIHMS.