In varying parts of the world, spring is in the air, and it seems everyone is ready to shed the winter blues, especially after a tough Omicron surge that kept most people homebound.
What’s (hopefully) not in the air?
While we’re certainly not rid of the virus, case levels are at their lowest since summer 2021. As a result, many destinations have dropped their COVID-related restrictions.
Travelers are itching to get somewhere, and hotels and hospitality brands are in for a big rebound. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), which represents the global travel and tourism industry, projects that travel and tourism in the United States will reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022.
We have an opportunity to appeal to travelers by creating offerings that support their desired experiences. Folks are ready to travel in a way that better fits their evolving lifestyle.
Even as people are choosing their next adventure, hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals should be planning marketing strategies that support guests’ travel goals. If done right, this could be guest personalization at its finest.
Here are the top 7 trends to track this spring. We want you to transform your hospitality business into the best it has ever been.
Top 7 Trends To Track
Bleisure and Family Travel
People don’t travel with a singular focus or purpose anymore. They choose instead to combine business and leisure – bringing “bleisure” travel into focus. With more people working remotely, the door to more family travel opens wider since there’s less conflict between work and school schedules.
What do people working remotely need when they travel and look to combine work and vacation? A strong WiFi connection. It’s not uncommon for travelers to decide on places to stay based on the Internet speed available.
To stay competitive, hotels must invest in tech, at least their WiFi speed, to attract the bleisure and digital nomad markets. And it goes without saying that in 2022, no one should have to pay extra for high-speed, unlimited internet (chain hotels, take note).
It isn’t just the adults who need fast and reliable connectivity. With families traveling together, children and their gaming needs can eat up a huge chunk of bandwidth.
People are stepping out of their ordinary routines, spurred by a sense of adventure that’s been building up since the early quarantine days.
While the concept of alternative travel is a deeply personal one, the desire to step out of comfort zones is proving to be a strong one. One person’s norm is another person’s alternative.
For some travelers, it means trading their annual holiday in European cities with a national parks trip in the US. Or discovering other beach destinations rather than returning to Miami every spring break.
What does this mean for hotels? Properties should be prepared to receive guests outside their usual demographic. Tracking, understanding and properly catering to the newer demographic of travelers is key to adapting to this trend.
Hotels that understand guests’ motivations (did they travel for an event? Outdoor adventures?) can build customized promotional offers and discounts.
[Want an easy-to-use marketing solution to build promotional and discount offers? Or want to automate targeted email marketing campaigns that inspire post-stay and back again? Ask for a demo of Revinate Marketing.]
While previously travelers considered a package price to mean lower quality, the paradigm shifted during the pandemic. Travelers sought trips that required less moving around, planning, and interactions with different people. They wanted everything they needed in one place. Luxury brands embraced this model of “hassle-free consumption,” as Condé Nast Traveler called it.
Remote luxury properties – safari lodges and private island resorts – have always had all-inclusive models because of their remote locations. However, corporate brands like the Four Seasons are jumping on the bandwagon as they see more demand for all-inclusive luxury. If there’s one way to take away the stress built up from the last two years, it’s to offer a rate the guest only has to think about once so they can properly enjoy their much-needed vacation.
Eco-travel or green mapping is another classic trend that’s seeing a rebirth. Travelers are increasingly placing a higher value on sustainability, energy-efficient stays, and on creating minimal environmental impacts.
Without a doubt, this trend is influenced by news of rampant wildfires in Australia and the Pacific Northwest, heatwaves in Siberia and Antarctica, and the impact of fewer tourists on destinations like Venice with dolphins being seen in its canals again, and the skyline being visible in smog-heavy Delhi. People saw the environmental impact of tourism and hence opted for green mapping as a way to address it.
Hotels and resorts that don’t already have green initiatives and carbon footprint reduction plans should work towards them. Besides a focus on the environment, there is also an emphasis on respecting the local community. Offering authentic ways to engage with locals draws in the same type of traveler who values responsible travel.
Extended stays are directly related to ‘bleisure’ travel. Untethered to a physical office, travelers are booking longer stays.
Destinations are taking note, and many in the Caribbean and Mexico are offering digital nomad visas for long-term stays. Hotels and resorts can also benefit from this trend by offering discounted long-term rates and additional amenities suited to long-staying guests such as free laundry services or a kitchenette setup. Even as return-to-office policies loom, there’s a whole new crop of travelers sold on the concept of living and working in different places through extended stays.
[Brands can market their multiple properties by sending promotional campaigns at the brand level through Revinate Multi-Hotel. With this platform, guest information is collected by one hotel to reinforce guest communication across multiple properties – in turn, building brand loyalty. Ask for a demo today.]
“Go Big or Go Home”
Travelers are eager to hit the road after two years of not being able to do so. Pent up energy, savings, deep realizations about life being short, celebrations about travel restrictions being lifted – whatever the reasons, travelers are out and spending more on their vacations.
The “revenge travel” or “bucket list travel,” trend is gaining ground. Some aren’t even content to be earthbound – more people are aspiring to blast into space with Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson.
Hotels and resorts can tap into this trend to capitalize on the greater financial leniency guests have. For hotels, now is the time to upsell rooms, amenities, and exclusive offerings.
As pandemic-related travel restrictions are lifted, spending time with friends is gaining in popularity. Booking platform Amadeus flagged “friendcations” as one of the top travel trends of 2022. Travelers are making up for lost time – birthdays, reunions, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and all manner of celebrations– bookings with 5+ people in the party are on the rise.
Hotels and resorts have a real opportunity to capitalize on this trend by offering discounts and promotions for “friends” or “friends and family” or a “plus one.” Digital marketing campaigns should be personalized to guests by utilizing data profiles, which will help deliver better experiences and communications, as well as tailor upsell opportunities.
[Revinate’s Hotel CRM integrates data from multiple sources into a hotel CRM for a holistic view of your guests in one place. Track booking behaviors shaped by these new trends to further develop guest profiles.]
Trends that Last
Trends usually shift with time but this pandemic has left a lasting impact on all of us.
We are taking our time, spending more and better quality time with loved ones, enjoying nature in a way that preserves it for future generations, or seizing the day and taking that dream trip. We’re taking on board conscientious travel as these trends indicate. These may be 7 spring trends, but we’re hoping they’re here to stay.