The Future of The Hotel
The hospitality and travel industries have been changed significantly due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it is a matter of when, not if, we will start travelling again and when we do, things may look a lot different than they did only a year ago
Dr Achim Schmitt, Dean of the Graduate School at leading hospitality establishment École hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) states that ‘the hospitality industry must adapt to survive in the post-COVID world. These changes will ensure the industry stays relevant and the future of the hotel must appeal to guests’ interests, demands and needs after COVID-19.’ EHL shares insights into the future of the travel and hospitality industry, highlighting five key trends:
COVID-19 quickly accelerated the technological era, with many brands and companies developing digital and contactless services for hygiene reasons. The traditional customer-facing services have been replaced with technology-assisted resources including mobile check in, QR and other contactless payment options and voice control. Importantly, the consumer is now getting more and more used to this, making contactless interaction more ‘normal’. This high level of convenience and ease will be translated into hospitality in order to maintain relevance and satisfy guests’ health and wellness concerns, as well as give high-quality service.
Staying Closer To Home
With Singapore and Hong Kong’s borders closed and global travel restrictions still ongoing, consumers have been spending more time close to home. Staycations have risen and experts believe that it is here to stay, with consumers becoming more eco-conscious and also for budgeting reasons. ‘Daycations’ are tipped to be a new trend of the hospitality experience in 2021, with many hotels in Singapore curating luxurious offerings for guests to enjoy for the day.
The rise of Health & Wellness
Travellers are expected to go on holiday in search of a complete state – mentally, physically and emotionally - of wellbeing. Dr Achim Schmitt adds that ‘hotels must embrace the rise in popularity of health and wellness by adapting their offerings to match the increasing demand from consumers. Hotels must match guests’ health-conscious lifestyles, offering a range of wellness offerings including spa treatments, exercise programmes as well as wholesome, healthy menus – with vegan and vegetarian options - and even digital detoxes for travellers to fully escape the stresses of daily life.’
Getting back to nature and embracing the great outdoors is expected to be another trend on the rise, with travellers visiting destinations where they can re-connect with nature, as well as themselves and others in a post-pandemic world. Destinations that offer a variety of outdoor activities are expected to be popular. The charming Alpine town of Andermatt Swiss Alps, set amongst the snowy peaks, is the ideal location for a post-pandemic holiday. Offering a myriad of active adventures, guests can enjoy the outdoors all year round with skiing and sledging in the winter and golf, hiking and mountain biking in the summer. It is also located at the source of four of Europe’s most famous rivers: The Rhine, the Reuss, the Ticino, and the Rhone.
It is expected that travellers will be looking at booking a holiday with loved ones when restrictions are lifted, and borders are open once again. Multi-generational travel has always been a priority for Asian holidaymakers however in a post-pandemic world this is due to rise within Asia and across the world, allowing family members and friends to strengthen relationships, create lifelong memories and re-connect after months of separation. In order to allow guests to spend quality time together, hotels must also prepare for an increase interest in both single-use villas and private apartments for groups to enjoy a vacation together, away from the crowds.
Individuals are also considering ideal remote working solutions which are set to continue in a post-pandemic world. Andermatt Swiss Alps offers guests the opportunity to enjoy ‘working-from-the-slopes’ with a reliable and fast Wi-Fi connection as well as dedicated office space within the town’s hotel rooms and residences.
A hospitality trend that is both current and a hallmark of recent years: “sustainability”. With establishments continuing to avoid disposable plastics, eliminate unnecessary paper consumption and reduce food waste, the hospitality industry is becoming more and more environmentally conscious. There has been an ongoing rise in the demand for offering both vegetarian and vegan options and hospitality establishments are even starting to grow some ingredients on site if they are able to. 2021 is expected to see an increase in holidays with a purpose, with travellers looking to give back to the local community through charity initiatives organised by the hotel or their partners.
Decisions about aspects as simple as which towel rails to install during renovations have disproportionate repercussions when implemented at scale and simple eco-friendly switches include replacing miniature toiletries with larger, locally sourced dispensers, choosing ethically produced bedsheets made from organic materials and reducing energy consumption with smart bulbs. For instance, in Andermatt Swiss Alps the town’s electricity and heating are generated by renewable sources to ensure a CO2-neutral energy supply for all properties, restaurants and hotels. This model includes hydroelectricity and wind energy by turbines that are located in the surrounding mountains. Andermatt Swiss Alps also uses the fresh mountain spring water throughout the town and each of the hotel rooms include glass water bottles for guests, rather than their single-use plastic counterparts.
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