7 Hospitality Trends Coming to a Hotel Near You

Predicting trends in the hotel industry these days bears an uncomfortable resemblance to taking a glass ball to the stock market. While some innovations seem here to stay—if not inevitable—others could be relegated to the dustbin of hospitality fads within the next news cycle, thanks in part to the ambitious/exotic initiatives of America’s first hotelier president.

Undeterred, the brave tarot readers at Skift recently pulled together their list of the year’s most likely trends in hospitality for the benefit of meeting professionals, event planners and a new generation of travelers seeking a hotel experience that best suits their lifestyle.

Here are seven hotel trend highlights:

Prepare to share: The modern co-living lifestyle of multitasking millennials will continue (in some cases literally) to break down the walls between guest rooms and communal areas. Among this year’s chief indicators: AccorHotel’s new Jo&Joe brand embraces co-living with a hostel vibe while Hilton Worldwide’s upcoming “urban Microtel” should turn more than a few heads. What better way to combat the competition from Airbnb and HomeAway than with the one thing they can’t provide: copious, gregarious communal place for co-everything?

Hotel? Meet local: A century ago, hotels did far more than simply house out-of-towners; they also served as the cultural meeting place of their community. Skift predicts hotels will become locals again as they begin to realize the growing desire and need for their services from residents and businesses in their own ZIP code.

Makeovers go mainstream: While travelers went gaga over the come-hither design features of boutique hotels the past few decades, the major hoteliers were taking careful notes and scribbling sketches of Eames chairs in the margins. Not only have such major hoteliers as Hilton, Hyatt and Marriott shed their outdated look in favor of the modern/retro aesthetics of the boutiques, but they’ve made design an essential element in defining their new brands.

New brands abound: Speaking of new brands, expect to see more in the months ahead as the once-supreme singulars embrace the exciting (read: lucrative) potential of multiple personalities. While Marriott may not be inclined to add to its already-bulging portfolio of 30, Skift predicts new personalities may yet emerge from Hilton and others, as well as from non-traditional hotel brands, echoing the 2016 debuts from Karl Lagerfeld and West Elm.

The lobby as launchpad: Forward-thinking hoteliers who took note of Airbnb’s recent launch of its Trips tours and activities service are likely crafting their own version, the better to share their community’s highpoints with their guests. Suffice to say, a welcome turn of events for meeting planners.

Luxury gets personal: While there will always be a place for 1,000 thread count bedsheets and caviar on demand, today’s progressive hotels are embracing “lean luxury” by emphasizing caring, personalized service, grounded in local culture, that reinforces the story of the brand. Without that story, it may become increasingly difficult to pass the luxury test on thread count alone.

Smart rooms prosper: Perhaps the safest prediction among hotel trends today is that our guest rooms, lobbies and rooftop bars will continue their migration toward smart technologies and services on demand. Will every guest room be equipped by year’s end with its own Amazon Echo smart speaker “attendant,” as they are in the Wynn Las Vegas? Doubtful. But don’t be surprised if your mini-fridge digitally restocks itself.

Photo credits: Cover image courtesy of Radisson Blu Frankfurt; atrium aquarium (AquaDom)image courtesy of Radisson Blu. Berlin.


Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald

Jay MacDonald is an award-winning journalist, author and blogger who incorporates humor and human interest into a broad range of topics. Follow him on Twitter @omnisaurus

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