In a society that is always looking for “the next cool thing”, the world of hospitality is no exception.
Tourists are always on the hunt for the next best experience to behold, the most raved-about city or the most favourably reviewed hotel. The local public is forever in search of the best new restaurant or, they might opt for the reliable ‘Friday night hang’ because it never disappoints. Providers of such experiences, like hotels, restaurants, bars and getaway hubs, need to be on the look-out for the newest trends of their industry, and more importantly, be ready to adapt when change arrives.
We chatted to some of our experienced industry staff who weighed-in on some of the Top 6 Trends for 2019 in the hospitality and tourism industry.
1. Millennials have got it right!
Millennials get a bad rap for their demanding nature and overall restlessness. However, their ability to live in the present coupled with their inclination to choose valuable experiences over the material “things” is now having an impact on the tourism industries.
Millennials that travel for work are opting to stay a little longer either side of the trip to experience the cities at their leisure – not just through the window of a hotel room between meetings. As such, millennials are allegedly opting for careers or study where travel is more likely. People want more out of their careers; their work needs to provide more than an income. Those studying degrees or diplomas hospitality management, event management and tourism management are headed toward careers that provide limitless options for travel to all corners of the world.
2. Spotlight on sustainability
Look, this one is a no-brainer. Many industries are finding new ways to create sustainable and environmentally friendly ways to conduct their business. Guests and patrons are now expecting to see these changes. From the removal of plastic straws in restaurants & bars to room lighting that switches off automatically when leaving – sustainability is without a doubt the hottest trend in 2019.
The newest shift in sustainability is the seamless and reliable technology creating paperless check-in experiences. Kirsten Brown (Program Director, Hospitality, Tourism and Culinary Management) has noted the promotion of these systems within industry network websites, commenting on the benefit of such technology from an environmental perspective, and also the improvement of processes for staff. This wonderful new technology integrates with third-party booking systems and creates a whole new level of software and environment sophistication. This switch from paper to smart check-in and booking systems is an area our William Blue experts believe we will start to see a lot of in 2019.
3. Create private experiences
Whether it is an international holiday with friends or a romantic getaway, people all over the world a looking to create intimate, exclusive and private experiences. In an attempt to get away from the buzz of the big cities, travellers are looking to enjoy the peace and quiet of peaceful accommodation options, longer stays, private dining, exclusive use of pools or garden areas and private guided tours. Thus, in order for hotels and other hospitality providers to supply a balance of local atmosphere with private experiences, there has been an increase in separate spaces or services available to hire or book. This offers the benefits of shared amenities to provide a social atmosphere, but also the ability to have a private and personal experience.
4. Focus on wellbeing
Our experts explained that with so much emphasis on creating private experiences, it is paramount that properties will need to invest in the wellbeing of guests. From in-room massages to detox retreats, the wellness tourism industry has become a billion dollar industry. Hotels, resorts, cruise ships and even corporate businesses are investing in projects to expand their ability to provide health and wellbeing experiences. Guests are looking to get away from their busy lives and hectic schedules, and in turn, seek additional experiences and luxury relaxation facilities to feel pampered and restored. People are looking beyond standard amenities like a ‘pool’, ‘bar’ and ‘turndown service’ and scanning the list to see items such as ‘private saunas’, ‘personal chef’, ‘fitness centres’ and ‘air purification’…And why not? That sounds amazing!
5. Provide interesting local food & beverage
The good news is that we are turning to simple, wholesome and local food services. The better news is, 2019 will see patrons seeking local experiences keep the “little guy” in business. Celebrity chefs and the buzz around them seems to have plateaued as travellers and want to experience genuine, local & fresh dishes, with an added focus on supporting small and independent businesses. While a fine dining experience will never really go out of style, we seem to crave authenticity in our travelling and dining experience, and supporting local community is so “in” right now.
6. Be adaptable
It is up to the current hospitality leaders and their staff to apply and adapt to change.
While some elements like ‘onsite guided meditation with a private vegan detox breakfast’ might be a passing fad, Grace Chompuchan (Manager of Industry Connections, Faculty of Business & Hospitality) shared, “It is always difficult to say if it will work or not, but the idea is to try, or even, create new trends and then make an assessment of their success.”
In order to understand and predict trends, the students, staff and leaders of the hospitality industry must always aim to be on the forefront of the industry. Grace Chompuchan expressed that attending expos and industry-specific conferences can be a great way to share knowledge within the hospitality community. It is extremely important that middle management is well qualified and connected to the industry. Those who have the skills and knowledge are the ones who can spot and prepare for these trends; or rather, be the ones to create the trends that can transform the industry year on year.