Next-level personalization; catering to multi-generational groups: 2015 hotel trends report

SAN FRANCISCO—Sophisticated, next-level personalization is one of the key 2015 hotel trends identified in a report issued on Nov. 5 by Andrew Freeman & Co.

Technology will play a bigger role in guests' travel-planning process.

Technology will play a bigger role in guests' travel-planning process.

SAN FRANCISCO—Sophisticated, next-level personalization; extreme ‘green’ practices; and addressing the needs of lucrative multi-generational groups are some of the key 2015 hotel trends identified in a report issued on Nov. 5 by Andrew Freeman & Co. (AF & Co.).

In its report, the San Francisco-based hospitality consultancy identified the following trends to watch next year:

Feedback loop

User feedback goes to the next level in the new era of personalization. Interactive campaigns encourage engagement with the tangible benefits of customized rooms, personalized experiences and unique features that integrate fun at every opportunity.

Example: Marriott’s “Travel Brilliantly” campaign aims to make millennial business travelers feel like their room was designed for them by gathering their feedback across multiple multimedia platforms. The result? Plugs in all the right places, moveable tables and spa-like bathrooms.

Extreme green

Guests value sustainability and hotels are willing to take their eco-friendly practices to a new level.

Example: New hotel concept EVEN puts the emphasis on wellness and uses all natural materials, including eucalyptus-fibre bedding, in its rooms.

Socially relevant marketing

Cause-related marketing lets guests feel good about their purchasing decisions.

Example: Joie De Vivre’s ‘You Can Make a Difference’ program encourages guests to engage with their existing charitable partners by giving them the option to add an additional $1 to their bill for each night of their stay.

Modern catering – going up

Taking a cue from high-concept modern chefs, caterers are pushing past traditional boundaries. Examples include:

• Adding edible dirt to beautiful collections of farm-fresh vegetables creates a stunning display that is almost too perfect to eat.

• San Francisco-based State Bird Provisions has spawned a dim sum-style cart service frenzy in restaurants all over the country. Caterers are picking up the trend—expect to see meticulously plated dishes move around venues on custom-made carts.

• The days of caterers saying ‘yes’ to whatever a client wants are gone—instead, companies are developing and marketing specific styles for which they can become known.

Get glampy with it

Camping doesn’t have to mean roughing it—enter glamping (glamorous camping). Mountain resorts and remote destinations have begun to add ‘camps’ to their properties—luxurious tents decked out with electricity, top-of-the-line bedding, gas stoves and full bathrooms. Guests can enjoy nature, but with all the creature comforts of a four-star resort.

Example: The tents at Fireside Resort in Jackson Hole, WY, come with glamping butlers to help tend campfires, fetch marshmallows or scare away bears.

Breakfast replacement therapy

Travelers are seeking out faster breakfast options, which, in many cases, means skipping the hotel breakfast. How will hotels keep guests spending on-property? AF & Co. is seeing higher-end hotels and resorts begin to adopt on-the-go marketplace concepts and casual coffee shops to offer in-house alternatives.

The boomers are still booming

Baby boomers are responsible for more than half of all vacation dollars spent in the U.S. As these folks age, they aren’t traveling alone—they’re bringing their grandchildren along with them. Hotels and tourism companies are catering to these multigenerational family units.

Example: The Nickelodeon Suites Resort in Orlando, FL, offers special grandparent packages designed to help make memories.

Advice from the cloud

Hotels are making it easier than ever to plan vacation itineraries with virtual concierge technology.

Example: Brannan Cottage Inn, in Calistoga, CA, is the first property in Napa Valley to use the HotelCloud app as an e-concierge platform. The app generates curated itineraries based on guests’ travel motivations—girl’s weekend, harvest and more—with access to the hotel’s insider info and favorite spots.

BYOE (Bring your own entertainment)

Ninety-nine per cent of guests travel with at least one mobile device. Of those, 45 per cent travel with two devices and 40 per cent travel with three or more. These devices aren’t just for communicating—they store entertainment as well. Offering syncing services that attach devices to in-room televisions is just one more way hotels can make their guests feel pampered.

Example: MyMedia by Shodogg offers hardware-free technology that enables any mobile device to connect securely to digital content and cast that content to any ‘smart’ TV screen.