2020 has been a year like no other for the hospitality industry, with multiple lockdowns, ever-changing restrictions, and increased health and safety awareness amongst consumers. Each year there are predictions for key trends for the coming year, however, this year we expect the market to be significantly different in many ways, whilst reassuringly familiar in others. The significant growth in the domestic leisure market during the interim period between lockdowns and the level of bookings for staycations when restrictions ease gives a reason for hope. However, wider-ranging changes in travel trends need to be factored into your strategy to support a return to growth in 2021 and beyond. Flexible Bookings, Safe and Socially distant travel, sustainability, health and wellness, a stronger connection to nature and more personalised travel are all travel trends to consider for the coming year.
Insights outlined in an article in Stockhouse.com, Smarter, Kinder, Safer sums up some of these key trends in travel that will impact the industry in the coming year. As expected health and safety will be key requirements and the use of tech to support traveller confidence. “Familiarists” rather than tourists with local travel and exploring the world on your doorstep still being seen as safer and more sustainable. Changing work practices will also see more of a blur between work and leisure travel, with new flexibility in combining work and pleasure and further growth in both long and short-stay “Workcations”. For many, the pandemic has further increased their awareness of the impact of travel on climate change, and will look for more eco-conscious travel options. Mass tourism, with over-crowded attractions and short peak travel seasons, will no longer be at the fore, with many looking to reduce the environmental impact of their holidays and the industry will need to adapt to ensure they attract a fast-evolving traveller.
Safety, sustainability, spontaneity…an increased interest in outdoor activities, escapism and exploring their local market, the flexibility that workcations bring, combined with a need for good value, present opportunities and challenges as we move towards a “New Normal”.
The hospitality industry is resilient and quick to adapt to changes in the marketplace, but “if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”, fully evaluate trends and changes in consumer habits that will impact on your property and build them in to your long-term strategy for growth.