As 2015 comes to a close, let’s take a look at what was hip and happening in the world of hospitality this year. From mobile bookings to roaming millennials, pooches on the go and adventures in Cuba, it was certainly an eventful year for travelers.
Easily the hottest hospitality trend in 2015 was mobile booking. 1 in 3 travelers use smartphones when they travel versus when they’re at home and 80 percent of all mobile travel bookings are for hotel stays. Hotels with mobile apps have an advantage in getting booked over their competition, with a rise in last minute bookings and immediate travel needs such as an intra day stays or mobile check-in. After all, when last-minute mobile bookings can be made right at the airport prior to departure with little more than a few taps, people will take advantage. High tech amenities are also emerging, including smartphone room keys, concierge chat, booking spa appointments and room upgrades.
Millennials are expected to bypass Baby Boomers as the largest group of consumers by 2017. And they value experiences over possessions, with travel being a particular area of interest. So while marketers are scrambling to figure out how to attract them, the hospitality industry is already catering to their needs by providing hassle-free automated services and designing spaces that eliminate traditional lobbies in favor of open, communal spaces.
“The millennials don’t mind sitting down at a table with people they don’t know, whether it be eating or sitting down at a computer,” said Sam Cicero, founder of the Cicero’s Development Corporation, a hospitality construction company.
Pet friendly Hotels
Many travelers take their furry family members with them wherever they go, and are willing to seek out and spend more on hotels that welcome their pets, mainly intra day stays during layovers and overnight trips. Going beyond dogs, Kimpton Hotels welcome “furry, feathery or scaly family members — no matter their size, weight, or breed, all at no extra charge.” At select locations the boutique chain has pet relations directors and canine ambassadors on hand to greet animal guests small and large. Pet amenities include loaner beds, food, water bowls and mats. A pet concierge is even on hand to recommend nearby parks, grooming services and pet friendly restaurants and hangouts.
Health and Wellness
Health conscious travel has been long desired, and under delivered. 2015 saw an upswing in catering to guests seeking health and wellness options on the go. Healthy, fresh and locally sourced food is in demand and increased food service and vending options have met this demand. More is also being invested in state-of-the-art fitness equipment and group classes.
Travel to Cuba
Perhaps one of the biggest hospitality stories of 2015 involved the diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba, which resulted in the lifting of a decade-long ban on travel between the two countries. Now, tourism and development are expanding rapidly to meet the demand of Americans looking for an authentic Cuban experience. Favorite activities include strolls along the Malecon, feasting on delectable street food, soaking in Havana’s vibrant live music or hitting up the resort town of Varadero to lounge on the beach. Cuba became America’s hottest vacation destination this year.
2015 was a great year in hospitality and 2016 projects to be even better. Check back often for more insights on the hospitality industry and don’t forget to save money when you don’t need to stay the night by booking day stay rooms with HotelsByDay.