Across Europe, hoteliers are starting to look forward to a year of full business once more, after two years of stop-start restrictions.
In early February 2022, governments in Scandinavia and the UK announced plans to remove all travel restrictions they had imposed to manage the coronavirus pandemic.
Other European governments are likely to follow the lead by easing international travel restrictions. Some countries, such as Spain, have an economy that relies heavily on inbound tourism, while Germany benefits substantially from the international business of trade fairs. With everyone now optimistic that the covid pandemic is moving into the rear-view mirror, we can all get back to travelling again – and that, finally, spells good news for those in the hotel sector.
Here are 5 key hospitality trends to bear in mind whilst planning for the year ahead:
- Business + Leisure (Bleisure) travel becomes more popular: With the opportunity to work remotely occurring alongside leisure travel opening up as countries loosen restrictions, many people will be looking to combine their holidays with work. This provides an opportunity for hotels to update their offering to promote fast and reliable wifi, coworking spaces, ample plug sockets and delicious coffee.
- Tech-enhanced guest experiences are here to stay: Businesses adapted during the pandemic, digitalizing the guest experience with contactless payments and mobile check-in to provide an extra layer of health and safety. The digital experience is increasingly important to guests and not only includes contactless capabilities but also mobile-enhanced booking platforms, smart room tech, facial recognition and more.
- Improved sustainable options: Sustainability is still at the top of mind for consumers and has shifted from a “feel-good” consideration to a priority for travellers. The degree to which guests expect eco-friendly products and services has increased, and according to Booking’s Sustainability Report 2021, 73% of travelers would be more likely to choose an accommodation if it has implemented sustainability practices. Solar power, water conservation, reducing plastic use, motion sensors, waste disposal options and meat alternatives are a few key areas to consider. Some businesses have even created brands that specifically focus on being “green” such as Marriott’s Element brand and the luxe 1 Hotels.
- Unique experiential travel: Travellers will be looking for experiential travel this year, with a growing preference for experiences over things. This could look like partnering with local businesses to provide unique experiences such as yoga retreats, food tasting sessions, kayaking opportunities or surf camps.
- Staycations continue in 2022: While some travellers may choose to return to destinations abroad, many have become accustomed to the pleasant and easy experiences they had on domestic holidays. Skipping the hassle of the airport, shorter travel times and limiting environmental impact are some key reasons staycations will remain popular this year.