Novel Trends in Hotels: Shaping a New Guest Experience

By Philia Tounta General Manager, Apokoros Club Hotel & Villas | August 12, 2018

What's the major trend in hospitality industry you're seeing these days? Well, when it comes to the hospitality industry, trends can be both temporary and eternal. With the ever increasing amount of tourists worldwide the state of tourism has developed. Main tourist attraction areas include cities bordering on the coastlines and islands of course. In order to accommodate all the arrivals there are widely known hotels available but as of late it has expanded to include the developing trend of different types of hotels.

Boutique Hotels

To simply state a boutique hotel is a small hotel with a smaller amount of rooms than usual but with a more personalized service.  Nearly 40 years after the birth of the boutique hotels movement in the U.S., this trend transformed the way of travel. Nowadays, nearly 40 years after Bill Kimpton opened his first hotel and Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell opened theirs just three years later, boutique hotels remain an instrumental, and often crucial, influence on the way we experience hotels, and the way we travel. What started with scattered hotels on the two coasts of the United States is now a major and still growing sector of the hospitality industry. At the moment, every big hotel company has its own version of a "boutique" brand, and there are plenty more boutique hotels being added every year, and not just in major cities anymore.

The traveler need; that is driving this gigantic demand and growth in boutique hotels is the increased pursuit for authenticity, experiences and wellness. A known OTA lists "mind, body and soul" in its eight big travel predictions. It says, "in a hectic world people are increasingly seeing travel as a way to bring balance back into their lives. Almost half (48%) see going on holiday as a moment to reflect and make better lifestyle choices." Hotels that offer a product or elements of a product that caters to this need are experiencing demand.

Improving and enhancing hotel products to address this audience taps into this requirement. Attentive design is no more something exclusive to boutique hotels. Marriott, Hyatt, and Hilton are altering their outdated design bequests. Whether a hotel is ultra-luxury or just budget, guests expect it to look good, and feel good. Hotels don't really need deep pockets for a good design. After all design is personal taste and has always played a significant role in hospitality; especially defining hotel's brand and character.

There are "boutique hotels" with extra-ordinary deco & design such as the Emerson Spice in Zanzibar, the Hotel Henriette and the Hotel Original in Paris, the Hotel Zoku in Amsterdam and the list is unlimited. Surroundings have a profound effect on guest's mental state. If they are going to spend some time relaxing in a hotel, for instance, the details are important to them. In such cases, it's not just about having a clean room; it's about the superior feeling guests get in an atmosphere that is aesthetically pleasurable and well-decorated.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.